There are many reasons business owners may choose to change their energy contracts. Often companies have moved to new premises and don’t want to be on the deemed (or default) rates. Or their existing contract is coming to an end and they want to ensure they are getting the best deal for their business. Whatever the reason, shopping around for a new energy contract can help protect your business’ bottom line. There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for a new energy contract, though. Before you sign with a new provider, take these tips into consideration.
Things to Keep in Mind Before You Switch
The best time to switch your energy contract is before the end of your current deal. If you miss the deadline, you’ll roll onto a variable rate contract which is likely to cost your business more money.
Does your business qualify as a micro-business? It may if you have fewer than 10 employees and use less than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year. If you qualify, there are special rules that can make it easier for you to switch your energy provider. Check out this useful fact sheet from OFGEM.
What to Consider When Changing Your Contract
Are you sure you can switch?
Before you go through the process of finding a new provider, make sure that you will be able to switch. If you are in debt to your current supplier, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to change your contract. You may also be in a fixed-term contract, so be sure to check your terms and conditions.
When do you need to give your notice?
You should receive a letter in the post letting you know that you are coming to the end of your current energy contract. Don’t rely on this notification, though. Look up the end date on your current contract and make a note in your diary about the deadline.
What’s your average consumption?
Knowing your average consumption will make it easier to get rate quotes from suppliers and compare costs. If you have a smart meter or have been sending regular meter readings to your supplier you should be able to get this information quite easily.
How do the standing charges compare?
Standing charges are fees you pay over and above your energy usage charges. It’s important to check the standing charges. They may be high enough that a low usage rate isn’t actually a better deal.
Have you read the terms and conditions?
Most business contracts won’t include a “cooling off” period which would allow you to withdraw from the contract without penalty. That’s why it’s important that you take the time to read the terms and conditions of your new energy contract before you sign it.
How will you contact your new supplier?
Know how to contact them and keep the information on-hand. It’s good to find a supplier that offers a variety of methods, including web chat and online account management services. Some suppliers only communicate with customers via the web. This can be difficult for businesses that would rather communicate over the phone.
Special Considerations for TPIs
If you choose to use a broker or Third Party Intermediary (TPI), you’ll want to consider a few additional items. First, find out if the broker provides information for the entire market or if they only provide info on specific suppliers. You might be missing out on a better deal. Secondly, ask for clarification about how they charge for their services. Will there be a commission included in the contract price? This can have a big effect on your final bill.
You can find more information on using TPIs from OFGEM.
Looking for a New Energy Contract for Your Business?
Contact British Gas business today to learn more about our business services and how we can help your company save money on your monthly energy bills. We’ll help you find a plan that’s right for you and your business.