Comparing business energy suppliers can seem quite daunting. With more complications than switching domestically, finding the best deal and then to switch business energy can seem like a large task.
However, it can be as simple if you know what to look out for. Learn all you need to know to confidently switch business energy.
Why Should You Switch Business Energy?
There are lots of reasons why you should switch business energy, these include:
- You have never switched business energy before and you could be getting a better deal
- You have reached the end of your fixed term tariff and will be put on a standard tariff with higher rates
- You are on a standard or deemed tariff (this is the tariff you are put on when you first move into a property)
- You are receiving poor customer service
- Your business energy tariff rates are high, or you would prefer a different tariff structure
- You want a smart meter and your supplier is not currently offering them
- You are moving premises or acquiring additional premises and you could benefit from seeing if there are any better or more suitable tariffs available
- Your business may be growing and you now require a multi-meter or half hourly meter.
Switching business energy suppliers can seem like a lot of hassle but the financial benefits can outweigh any inconvenience. It’s now quick and easy to compare business energy deals and you can even start the switching process within minutes.
How Do You Find a Better Business Gas and Electricity Deal?
When you are looking for a new business energy supplier one of the easiest ways to find the best-priced energy deals is to use a price comparison site. There are several business price comparison sites and Power Compare has one that is powered by Love Energy Savings.
This allows you to compare business energy tariffs from a wide range of suppliers.
Larger businesses who want more bespoke energy plans or want to have more flexible purchasing options will need to contact the suppliers direct to get a tailored quote.
As a business user, you will be expected to know what your energy consumption is, so you will need to get these figures to use the price comparison tool. Using actual usage figures will give you the most accurate results. In some cases, you may need to know your meter reference numbers (MPAN or MPRN).
It is also worth knowing that you will probably be offered better deals if you pay for your energy by direct debit and you manage your account online as this reduces the overheads for the supplier as well as making regular payments which makes you a more desirable customer. This may also make managing your energy simpler.
Once you have the results of your price comparison you should do some research to see what others have to say about the energy supplier and find out a bit more about them. Remember when switching your electricity and gas, you will be locked into business energy contracts. Taking your time and understanding how your company uses energy will help you when you’re looking for business energy quotes.
At Power Compare we have done the legwork for you and have compiled all the information about the UK energy suppliers who offer business energy including their background, customer reviews, complaint data, who their tariffs are most suited to, and what they offer.
What Should You Look for When Switching to a New Supplier?
When you are looking for a new energy supplier you should look for the following:
- Tariff rates, tariff type (fixed, variable, market tracker, etc), and contract length
- Payment type – monthly direct debit, variable direct debit, or payment on receipt of a bill
- Account management – online management and how sophisticated the system is for your needs
- Exit fees
- Discounts for dual fuel, online account management, paperless billing, direct debit payment
- Dedicated account manager
- Meters that they support such as half-hourly consumption and AMR (Advanced Meter Reading) meters
- Ability to manage multiple sites if needed
- Ability to manage larger businesses if needed
- Whether they are installing smart meters
- Electricity fuel mix and whether they offer renewable energy as standard as part of their tariffs or charge extra
- Their background and experience
- Customer reviews
- Other services that they offer that might interest you
- Any news stories about them
This may seem like a lot of research, but Power Compare has pulled all this information together for each of the UK energy suppliers. Finding great business energy prices has never been easier. Also, exploring our reviews will give you confidence that you are selecting the right supplier.
The Tariff Types Available
There are a range of different tariff types available, especially for larger businesses:
- Fixed rate tariffs which will stay the same throughout the contract period
- Variable rate tariffs which fluctuate with the energy market prices
- Deemed tariff which is the tariff businesses are put on when they first move into a property, these rates tend to be very high
- Market tracker rates which clearly tracks against the energy wholesale prices
- Flexible buying tariffs that allow you to purchase energy how you want to with a range of buying options, multi/bulk purchase or market trigger options to purchase when market conditions suit you
- Deals that allow you to access the wholesale energy market. Some suppliers offer a low risk and minimal involvement through to options that allow you greater control but require more expertise to manage it yourself
Smaller businesses will normally only be offered the first three tariff types above, the rest are tariffs that are more bespoke for larger businesses and may require more involvement of the business and expertise to purchase its energy.
Smaller businesses should consider if they want to have the security of a fixed price tariff that stays the same for the length of the contract and whether the contract length suits you.
Standard or variable tariffs tend to have much higher rates, but they offer more flexibility if you want to switch again soon or are planning on moving premises. Ready to switch? Compare business energy prices here.
What Does Switching Suppliers Involve?
Once you have found a great business energy deal, you can choose to switch both your gas and electricity or just one. If you use a price comparison site, you can switch business energy suppliers by selecting the tariff and completing the additional details.
Switching your business gas at the same time as your electricity is much more efficient as you will have the same renewal date.
Larger businesses may need to contact the suppliers to get a bespoke quote and you will need to contact the sales team for the chosen supplier to complete the switch for you.
After completing all your details with the new business energy provider, they will complete the switch for you including contacting your existing supplier and finalising your supply with them. The transition between the two energy suppliers should be seamless and you should not even notice the switchover. The only thing you will need to do during the switch is to provide the meter readings a few days before the switch takes place.
Once the switch is completed you will need to pay your final bill from your previous supplier which they will send to you based on the meter readings you gave your new supplier.
It usually takes around 21 days to switch business energy suppliers. However, it averages at 17 days.
Can I Get a Better Deal and Not Switch My Business Energy?
If you are happy with your supplier or you really do not want to go through the switching process, then you can challenge them. Your current business energy provider will be able to look at what your energy usage is and may be able to offer you a better deal.
Some deals offer better rates if you manage your account online and pay by direct debit, so it is worth considering these options if you can. You can compare business energy contracts here.
Can I Switch Suppliers If I have an energy contract?
You can secure a new deal unto 12 months before your business gas and electricity contract ends. This is the same for both gas and electricity. However, you will need to stay with your current business energy provider for the whole contract. Once your secure your new deal, it will automatically change over. Business energy contracts have different renewal windows, so it is important to make note of this information.
Can I Switch Business Energy If I am In Debt?
If you are in debt with your energy supplier, you will need to repay the debt before you are able to switch suppliers. Finding cheaper business energy prices and paying off your debt may actually work out much cheaper over the energy contract period.
Can I Switch If I Have a Smart Meter?
Yes, you can switch if you have have a smart meter installed. However, your new energy supplier may not be able to receive messages digitally from your meter and they would operate it as a standard meter until their systems are ready and compatible with your meter. In these circumstances, you would need to provide regular meter readings.
Your choice of suppliers may depend on the model of your smart meter (that is, a first or second generation model) and whether or not your smart meter is compatible with other energy suppliers’ systems.
Most energy suppliers have configured their systems to communicate with the second-generation smart meters so if you have a first-generation meter then it will need to be exchanged in the future. This should not prevent you from switching suppliers, but it may be operated as a standard meter.
The government has tasked the energy suppliers to replace all meters with smart meters by 2020. All energy suppliers are gearing up to switching to smart meters but not all of them are installing meters yet either because they do not have the systems ready to communicate with the smart meters, or they do not have the infrastructure in place to install the smart meters in their customers’ properties.
Can You Change Your Mind Once the Switch Has Started?
Once you agree to a business energy contract, it can be costly to get out of. However, there’s usually a cooling off period if you change your mind.