How to switch and compare business energy tariffs

Is your business energy tariff coming to an end? Do you know how to switch? We’ve got all the info right here to help you save.

Disclaimer: The information on this page was last updated on 23/12/2022, 10:59:52

If you’re coming to the end of your business energy tariff, you might be considering switching tariffs or providers. If you’re not then you should! Find out more about switching business energy tariffs in our helpful guide. As always, we’ve got you covered!

Why your business should switch

While you don’t have much control over how much energy you use, you do have more control over how much you’re paying for that energy. Every business wants to keep costs as low as possible, and switching your gas and electricity providers or tariffs is one way to do that.

When your tariff comes to an end, if you don’t switch, you’ll likely be placed on a much more expensive tariff automatically. By switching regularly, you can keep an eye on your usage and spending and avoid overpaying for your energy.

Bear in mind that you can usually only switch mid-contract if your business goes bankrupt, moves address, or are on a deemed or out-of-contract tariff.

What you need to know before you switch business energy tariffs

Before you start thinking about switching your tariff or provider, there are a few things you should find out about your energy supply first.

  • The type of tariff you’re on – Which tariff you’re on could determine which you switch to. For example, if you find a variable tariff doesn’t suit you, you could go for a fixed tariff when you switch. Visit our guide to understanding your tariff for help.
  • Your current contract length – This may be different from other tariffs you’ve had so make sure that you’re coming to the end of your contract before you try and switch. Unless you’re a microbusiness, you won’t be reminded about the end of your contract, so keep a note of it to avoid increased costs.
  • Your notice period – You’ll have to give notice before you switch providers so find out how long your notice period is before you try and switch. It’s normally around 2-4 months, but if you don’t give enough notice, you might be put on a default, expensive tariff by your provider.
  • Your energy usage – Business energy quotes depend on a number of things, including your usage. You should be able to find your exact usage on your bill, or you can visit our guide to work it out.
  • Your current unit costs – Your unit costs are how much you pay per unit (kWh) for your gas and electricity. Depending on your tariff type, this can vary, but it’s important to note when you’re comparing business energy suppliers.
  • Your meter type – There is a variety of different meter types for businesses. Which meter you have may impact which tariff type you can sign up for.
  • Your meter numbers – Your new provider will ask for these to make sure they’re taking over the right supply. Your electricity provider will ask for your Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) and your gas provider will ask for your Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). You should be able to find these on your bills.

How to compare business energy suppliers

Comparing energy providers and tariffs for your business is different from comparing tariffs for your home – your business quotes are completely tailored to your individual needs.

While it may be time-consuming, the best way to compare is to call up different energy providers and ask for quotes. Because they’re tailored to your business, it can be hard to find exact quotes online and you’ll probably end up having to talk to someone over the phone for the final quote anyway.

When you’re looking for quotes, you should compare:

  • Unit costs
  • Standing charges
  • Contract length
  • Maximum demand and supply capacity
  • Renewal window
  • Discounts
  • Reviews
  • Environmental impact

Should you switch your tariff or your supplier?

There’s no definitive answer to this – it all depends on you, your business, and your energy.

Depending on what you’re looking for in an energy provider, you might be with the right one already and just want to switch to a new tariff. Some providers will match quotes you find from other companies when your current tariff runs out. Alternatively, they might offer added discounts if you stay with them.

However, you can often find better deals you weren’t aware of by switching suppliers instead, especially if your current provider isn’t going to price match. Some businesses could save up to 45% per year, just by switching suppliers. While it may be more time-consuming comparing different suppliers, it could be worth your while.

What tariffs are available for businesses?

Just like there are multiple tariff types for your home energy, there are also a number of different business energy tariffs. Different tariff types suit different businesses, so you should consider which is best for you when you decide to switch.

Tariff type Information
Fixed-term contract The price per unit (kWh) is fixed from the beginning to the end of your contract. Your bills might still vary every month as you use different amounts of energy, but the cost per unit will stay the same
Variable-rate contract The price of variable-rate contracts can change throughout your contract depending on the wholesale price of energy. Even if you use exactly the same amount of energy each month, your bills may not all be the same.
Deemed contract This is a rolling contract for customers who don’t have a formally agreed contract set up. This tariff tends to be more expensive than others so you should make sure your tariffs are set up properly to avoid these premium rates.
28-day contract A 28-day contract is for businesses who haven’t switched since the energy market was deregulated. Just like a variable-rate contract, your prices can change regularly.
Rollover contract If you haven’t arranged a new deal when your contract comes to an end, you’ll be placed on a rollover contract. You’ll automatically be signed up for another year and your prices will increase massively. To avoid this, make sure you switch providers or tariffs regularly.

How to switch business energy tariffs

If you’re switching tariffs but sticking with your current provider, all you need to do is talk to them about your tariff options and find one you like.

Bear in mind that if you agree to a tariff over the phone, this will count as a binding contract, even if you haven’t used your signature. You should always make sure that you’re sent the terms of the tariff before you agree to anything so that you’re not signing up for anything you shouldn’t be.

Unlike residential tariffs, business energy tariffs don’t often have cooling-off periods where you can change your mind. Once you’ve agreed or signed up for your new tariff, you’re stuck with it until the end.

How to switch business energy suppliers

If you’re switching suppliers, you’ll have to let both your current and new business energy suppliers that you want to switch.

You’ll have to send your current supplier a termination letter including:

  • Your business’ letterheaded paper
  • Your business’ name and address
  • Notice that you want to end your contract
  • Your contract number and date it’s due for renewal
  • Your MPAN and/or MPRN
  • Supply address
  • A signature by the business’ owner or representative

Your new and current supplier will then start the switching process, which normally takes around 4-6 weeks, depending on the complexity of your needs. If your current contract ends during this time, you might end up on a deemed tariff (which will likely be more expensive) until the final switch date.

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