With energy prices rising, we have put together a guide on how to find the best energy supplier for your small business.
The energy market is incredibly uncertain and small businesses are not exempt from these turbulent times.
Post-lockdown, there has been a steep demand for gas, which has led to an increase in wholesale gas prices.
Over half of small businesses in the UK are spending over £3,000 each year on energy. In fact, many SMEs spend one-fifth of their annual budget on energy consumption.
Small businesses, who are already faced with rising National Insurance costs, will now also need to cope with energy price rises.
Therefore, we want to help you find the best energy supplier for your small business.
1. Check Your Existing Contract
Before you begin your search, take a look at your contract and see if there are any exit fees. Check when the contract ends and if you would need to give notice. A ‘default’ or ‘deemed' contract could mean you can swap. This is the plan you will be on if you have moved to a new property and haven’t chosen a tariff or moved your previous one over. If you are on a variable tariff, you won’t be tied down, but may be vulnerable to price hikes.
Research how much energy you use and the cost per unit, as this is essential information to take to providers.
If you aren’t able to swap, then contact your supplier and they may be able to move you on to a cheaper tariff. They have to tell you if there is a cheaper option. Alternatively, you could look for ways to reduce your current plan, such as fitting a smart meter.
2. Switch Directly Through an Energy Supplier
If you find a deal, then it’s best to contact the supplier directly. This would be perfect for a phone conversation, so you can talk through the terms and conditions and learn about better deals. Tell them if you have found a better deal with another company, as they may be able to match the offer.
Agreements over the phone are legally binding, so be careful. Take time to think about your decision and ask for a contract in writing, before agreeing to anything.
3. Use Price Comparison Sites
Price comparison sites will give you a better idea of what’s on offer and what average prices are.
Some deals may be exclusive to certain comparison services, whilst some may only be available directly through your energy supplier. And unlike insurance, all energy providers are on there.
There is a choice of business energy comparison sites out there. They give you the choice to search by:
- Types of energy contract
- Business size
- Green energy
- Perks and bonuses
Don’t forget to watch out for extra fees, like maintenance costs. Business deals tend to be bespoke, dependent on your business and how much energy it uses. Therefore, you will most likely need to provide your details and they will call you back. If the deal is bespoke, they probably won’t offer a 2-week decision period, if you change your mind.
4. Try an Energy Broker
An energy broker’s job is to find and negotiate details with an energy supplier, on your behalf. They can save you time, sort any errors, and offer additional services. They will let you know when your contract is set to end and will point out any auto-renew traps. They will know the whole market, but be careful, as they have relationships with certain suppliers, and may be inclined to suggest their offers.
Find out how much they will charge you, before you set up with them. Payment may be in the form of a lump sum or an additional payment on the energy contract you choose. Make sure your broker is reliable, by checking reviews online. Finally, if you do get messed around, you have the right to cancel and get your money back.
5. How About Switching Services?
For anyone who doesn’t have enough time to look at energy rates, there are services that are available to help make the switch.
You could try Switchcraft and Switchd.
These services will deal with providers on your behalf, but may take a commission or charge a monthly fee.
Before using a switching service, sort out your priorities. For example, they might avoid picking a provider with bad customer service, but you may then miss out on the cheapest energy supplier. Similarly, paid-for services give you a wider range of options, but how does that balance out with paying a fee?
6. Research the Best Energy Supplier
So, as a recap, we could recommend taking notice of the following:
- Customer service ratings
- Fixed vs variable
- How long the contract is
- What type of energy is used
- Rates and fees
- Protections (such as price cap if you run your business from home and have a domestic energy tariff)
Find out how long it takes to switch to a new supplier, as it could take up to 21 days.
If you need any further help, remember to ask the Citizens Advice Bureau for help (England and Wales). If you live in Scotland, then chock out Energyadvice.scot.
So, there you have it! We hope our guide will prove useful, when you’re looking for a new energy supplier and will help you save some money on your utility bills.
Please make sure to check out the other articles on our Knowledge Hub for all the best tips and tricks in the world of business.
Are you a small business owner? Do you know how much your business is worth? Find out today with a FREE and instant business valuation.
Why not get a free, instant valuation of your business via the tool below?
Get quick and easy insight into the real value of your business, without any obligations.
At Intelligent, all of our experts use a specific formula that will give you a free and highly accurate baseline valuation so that you've got a figure to work with that most realistically resembles the value of your business.