The number of businesses switching energy suppliers in the UK has reached its highest level in five years. Instead of remaining with the ‘Big Six’ suppliers, consumers are seeking out competitive rates at smaller companies.
More than 630,000 consumers switched their energy supplier in 2018, the highest number ever since 2013, according to statistics released by Energy UK, the industry body.
Business Energy consumers have been switching in masses towards smaller suppliers following attempts in the past few years by Ofgem, the government’s energy regulator in Great Britain, to increase competition in the market and shake the dominance of the Big Six Energy Providers.
“It’s encouraging that increasing numbers of consumers continue to shift,” says Akash Makwana, Founder of UK Business Energy. “It’s more important than ever that consumers communicate with their provider to ensure they’re on the best energy deal.”
As a conscientious and savvy consumer, you want to know a bit more about the process of switching business energy suppliers before making any rash decisions. Read on to find out everything you wanted to know about the switching process:
Before You Switch Business Energy Providers
The first place to start when considering a switch between energy providers is to gain a thorough understanding of the way you use energy in your Business. You can do this by getting an electricity monitor or by assessing previous bills.
Second, keep in mind that unlike domestic energy, there is usually no cooling-off period with business energy contracts. This means once you get into a new contract you can’t then go and change your mind.
So if you think you may want to try and negotiate with your current provider before changing suppliers, you need to do so before getting into any other contracts.
Lastly, you won’t be charged by your new supplier to switch to them, though if you’re moving business premises, you might be charged a connection fee.
Step-by-Step Guide to Switching Business Energy Suppliers
Read on for a step-by-step guide to switching providers – by the end; you’ll want to start switching straight away.
Step #1: Exit Plan
Please note that you must have a new contract in place to start on the day after your existing contract ends. Otherwise, the outgoing provider will charge you higher rates until the new provider takes over the supply.
Breaking your business energy contract by issuing a termination notice ensures that the contract ends on the last day. You cannot cancel a contract halfway through, unless you’ve a valid reason like moving business premises.
Step #2: Check Your Usage and Rate
The second step is to get your previous energy bill and find out how much you’re paying. Your business energy bill consists of a tariff and different charges, which is the pricing structure used to calculate your rate.
Step #3: Compare the Whole Plan
The cheapest plan is different for every business. It depends on your circumstances, including available suppliers in your area, the distributor, your power consumption, size, and your location.
With that in mind, getting a great deal on business energy and a plan that works for your business isn’t just a case of finding discounted rates. Be sure to look at the bigger picture, including:
- Fees and charges
- Discounts and benefits
- Billing cycles and options
- Length of the contract
As always, be sure to check the terms and conditions cautiously before getting into any contract.
Step #4: Make the Switch
When you’ve compared all the offers and found the one that best suits your Business’s budget and needs, the rest is incredibly easy – simply contact the supplier in question, and they’ll organize everything for you.
The switching process usually doesn’t take long, but it can vary across suppliers, so it’s a good idea to check.
Switching Energy Providers FAQ
If you’ve never switched your providers before, you’ve probably got some questions you’ll want answered:
How Much Could I Possibly Save if I Switch Business Energy Providers?
Your business could save up to £302 on energy bills by changing suppliers. However, the amount saved is dependent on certain variables. For instance, if you were to shift from a variable rate tariff with a Big Six Energy Supplier to a small supplier’s fixed rate tariff, then you could save a lot more.
When’s the Ideal Time to Switch Business Energy Suppliers?
Deciding the right time to switch suppliers can be a bit tricky. You may not consider it until you’ve been paying more than is expected for years, or you’re advised you could be paying a lot less.
The switching process is a bit different when it’s a business energy provider being switched as opposed to a domestic energy supplier being switched. It ‘s a slightly more complicated process, as there’re a few key factors that affect when you can switch, these are:
- Size of business
- Energy consumption
- Contract length and type
How Seamless is the Switching Process?
Shifting to a new provider shouldn’t be risky. Most providers are reliable companies, and all of them are closely monitored to make sure standards of service are met.
You won’t need any new meters, cables, or pipes if you switch providers. There will also be no interruption to your business energy supply.
How Long Will it Take?
Normally the average switching process takes about 4-6 weeks but can take up to 8 weeks if you’ve got more complex needs.
If your contract with your current business energy provider ends before the transfer can take place, you might end up on deemed rates, though this should not be for long.
While comparing alternative business energy suppliers can be a daunting and time-consuming task, it’ll pay off financially in both the long and short term.
Offers in the UK’s Business energy market are continually changing; it pays to remain on top of what’s offered and to switch suppliers if there’re better deals out there.
Small monthly savings will add up after a while and make a huge difference. And that’s it. You’d be mad not to do it.