Compare Business Gas and Electricity
How to Choose the Best Deals
No matter what size your business, energy is likely to be one of your biggest expenses. But comparing business gas and electricity could cut commercial energy bills and help boost margins. Find out how to get the best deal for your business and switch today.
Why should I switch business energy suppliers?
Comparing and switching enables you to find the most competitive business energy prices. So, if you haven’t switched your business energy supplier in the last few years (or can’t remember ever switching), then chances are you’re paying too much for your gas and electricity.
Plus, if you’re not happy with the customer service you currently receive, switching is a chance to find a supplier that can meet your business expectations. Not only that, if your business is trying to lower its carbon footprint, comparing green energy deals can ensure you do your bit for the planet.
How much could I save by switching commercial energy?
Business energy deals are bespoke so no two plans are the same. Instead, suppliers will assess your specific business needs and base energy rates on a combination of factors, including:
- The size of your business including floorspace and the number of staff you employ
- Where your business is located as prices can vary by region
- The amount of energy your business consumes
- Wholesale cost of gas and electricity
- The length of contract you agree to
With all this in mind, the amount you could save varies considerably. The only way to really see how much you could save, is to compare quotes from a range of energy suppliers.
How much does business energy cost?
This really depends on the nature of your business and how much gas and electricity you consume. You can check whether your business is using more energy than it needs by benchmarking it against industry averages. To help you do this, the Carbon Trust has an energy benchmark tool aimed at small and medium sized businesses.
How do I compare business energy suppliers?
When you compare business electricity and gas suppliers, you’ll need to look at two key costs:
- Cost of energy — gas and electricity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) and you’ll be charged for every unit you use.
- Standing charge — this is the amount it costs to supply your business with gas and electricity. It’s a flat fee charged daily.
These make up the price you pay for your business gas and electricity. Bear in mind that some plans with a low cost per kWh may have a high standing charge and vice versa, so always look at both figures, as well as the overall cost.
If customer service is an important factor, you can also compare business energy suppliers according to their performance. Every quarter, Citizens Advice, ranks non-domestic energy suppliers based on service, complaints and cases referred to the energy ombudsman.
What do I need to know about switching business energy contracts?
Comparing business gas and electricity isn’t the same as comparing domestic energy and there are some significant differences, such as:
- Contract length — business energy contracts are usually longer, often five years instead of 12 months for domestic energy.
- No cooling off period — when you switch gas and electricity at home, you have a 14-day cooling off period. In most cases, this doesn’t apply to business energy so you won’t usually be able to change your mind (although there’s nothing to stop you asking).
- No need to sign — business energy contracts don’t need to be signed, they can be verbally agreed instead so ask to see terms and conditions before agreeing to anything.
- No dual fuel — you can only buy business gas and electricity separately and there are no dual fuel business plans.
What are the different business energy tariff options?
The type of tariff you’re on has a big impact on your business’ energy rates so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them. Although tariff names will vary by supplier, they’ll fall into one of these main types of business energy tariffs:
Fixed rate tariff
The unit cost of your gas and electricity is fixed per kWh for the length of your contract. The benefit is that the cost of your business energy remains the same even if wholesale costs change. If you monitor your usage and it’s consistent, a fixed rate tariff can help you budget as your energy bills will be fairly predictable.
The disadvantage is that if wholesale energy prices fall, you won’t benefit from lower unit costs.
Variable rate tariff
The opposite of a fixed rate tariff so the unit cost of gas and electricity will fluctuate according to the market. It means you’ll benefit from lower gas and electricity prices if wholesale costs fall but you’ll also have to pay more if they rise.
Variable rate tariffs are also sometimes known as flexible rate tariffs.
Deemed rate (out-of-contract) tariff
This is an energy supplier’s default tariff and typically the most expensive. Deemed rate tariffs are usually in place if you haven’t previously had an energy contract, or if you’ve moved into a new business premises and haven’t yet agreed one.
A rollover contract is when your fixed rate contract automatically renews because you haven’t agreed to a new energy plan.
Even if your deal was competitive when you agreed to it, don’t assume it still will be by the time it rolls over. Energy prices change on a regular basis so a business tariff agreed several years ago is highly unlikely to represent current value for money.
How to get accurate business energy quotes
To get the most accurate quotes, you’ll need to know the energy consumption of your business. It’s also handy to know who your existing energy supplier is and the names of the gas and electricity tariffs you’re currently on. You can find all of this information on a recent bill.
Who is the cheapest business electricity and gas supplier?
Business energy contracts are tailored to your needs so it’s almost impossible to compare suppliers by cost.
To find the cheapest energy supplier for your business, you’ll need to carry out a business energy comparison and check the cost per kWh and standing charge.
Which commercial energy company is best?
This comes down to what your expectations are and what you want from your business energy supplier, for example price. The biggest energy suppliers in the UK are collectively known as the ‘big six’ and include:
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
But size isn’t everything and you may prefer to switch to a smaller energy provider, particularly if your focus is on customer service or renewable energy. For instance, if you’ve taken the business decision to cut down on carbon emissions, switching to a green business energy supplier can help you achieve this.
How long does it take to switch business energy suppliers?
The switching process has been designed to be as straightforward as possible. Most switches are completed in just 17 days but it can take up to 21 days.
Remember — business energy contracts don’t come with a cooling off period so once you’ve agreed to a switch, it’s not usually possible to change your mind.
Will my business supply be disrupted?
In short, no. There won’t be any disruption to your energy supply so you’ll be able to carry on with business as usual.
When you agree to switch, your new supplier will manage the handover on your behalf. They’ll let you know what day the switch will take place but you shouldn’t notice anything different on the day itself.
When is the best time to switch business energy provider?
If you have a fixed term contract, the best time to switch is during your switching window. During this time, you’ll be able to change business energy supplier without facing exit fees.
Switching windows vary in length. Some start 30 days before the end of your contract while others can be as much as four months — your existing contract should set this out.
What are half hourly meters and how do they work?
Half hourly meters (also known as HH or 00 meters) are limited to businesses that use significant amounts of energy — for example, manufacturing and production plants that use at least 100kW in any half hour period.
HH meters monitor your energy use and updates your provider with a meter reading every 30 minutes.
If you’re not sure if your business uses an HH meter, check a recent energy bill. If you do, you’ll see the figures 00 next to the S number.
What happens if I move to a new business premises?
If you’re moving to a new business premises, you can take your existing business energy tariff with you. If you decide to do this, let them know the date of the move and the address of your new location. You should take meter readings in your old premises when you leave and your new premises when you arrive. This ensures you only pay for the gas and electricity you use.
If you decide to cancel your business energy contract when you move, you’ll need to let your current supplier know as soon as possible. They’ll ask you for a final meter reading when you leave which will help them work out any final bills or rebates.
What is the Climate Change Levy?
The CCL is a type of environmental tax that is paid by most businesses. It’s aimed at making firms in the UK more environmentally aware.
The levy is included in the price you pay for your energy and should be specified on your bills. There are exclusions — for instance, domestic energy and small businesses that don’t use much gas or electricity. For more information and a list of exemptions, head to GOV.UK.
Can I get business energy for charities or not-for-profits ?
If you’re a charity or not-for-profit, you’re eligible for a discount on the VAT you pay for energy. The level of discount depends on the nature of your charity work but it could be up to 15% in some cases. You can find out what type of activities are eligible at GOV.UK.
Charities are also exempt from the Climate Change Levy.
How do I reduce the cost of gas and electricity for my business?
Small and large businesses can cut energy usage by making just a few simple changes around the workplace, for example:
- Switching off laptops and computers instead of leaving them on standby
- Turning the temperature down by 1°c
- Installing energy efficient LED light bulbs
- Draught proof windows and doors
- Reminding staff to switch off all lights
Compare commercial gas and business electricity prices
To find the best business gas and electricity prices on the energy market, you just need a recent bill. Using the information there can help you search for quotes and accurately compare energy deals which could cut bills and save your business money.