Frequently asked questions about business energy bills
How much do prices differ for businesses?
The prices that suppliers charge for business
electricity, business gas and other
utilities can vary massively. It's not unusual for one business to
be paying three times the rate on their gas and electricity bills
as the building next door. Over the past couple of years the
highest unit rate for business electricity we have seen, for
example, is 32 pence per kilowatt hour and the cheapest electricity
is less than seven.
What rates are available to me?
Most energy suppliers require your business to have a minimum
credit rating - so the better score you have, the more you can
compare energy prices and the cheaper your energy bills will be.
Other variables that determine which cheap business electricity
prices each business is eligible for include: postcode, business
type (sole trader, Ltd etc), sector (retail, manufacturing etc),
annual consumption (average for an SME is 25,000 kWh/year), meter
profile (the first two digits in a meter reference number range
from 00-08 which is a classification related to consumption - most
small businesses are 03/04 profile) and payment terms (direct debit
How do I get a quote?
We ask customers to grab recent copies of their energy bills and
we can usually quote immediately over the phone based on a search
of cheapest energy suppliers in the market. Our system is updated
daily with new prices from across the whole market - including all
of the 'Big 6' energy suppliers. The quote will detail the savings
you can expect from the rates we have offered. If you like the
quote, we will arrange the contract between you and the supplier
and work to make sure that the transfer happens smoothly. Our
opening hours are 9.00am-5.30pm Monday- Friday. Call us free on
0800 970 0077 or fill in an online form for a call back inside our
Who are the 'Big Six'?
The large energy suppliers that are often referred to as the
'big six' are:
How do I know that your prices are the best deal for me?
We are 100% independent and work with all energy companies, at
least 10 of the telephone companies and each of the mobile
networks. In some cases the rates we have from suppliers have been
negotiated and are exclusive to our company. We're committed to
offering you the lowest price and will always present the best
available deals for you, no matter what commission we are being
offered by suppliers.
How much does your service cost?
We provide a free service and only receive commission from
suppliers once we have successfully set up your new contract with
them. Price transparency is key to earning the trust of our
customers and, whilst we are unable to publish all our commission
rates here, we're happy to let you know on a case-by-case basis.
Simply email your customer ID to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do you need to see a copy of my bill?
Your business electricity or gas bill shows us a unique meter
reference number (10 digit 'MPR' for business gas or a 21 digit
'MPAN' for business electricity) which we need to confirm your
consumption. It also tells us what kind of meter you have, which
supply area you are in and what kind of electricity/gas user you
are. It ensures that we quote you the correct energy prices.
What does a meter reference number (MPAN/MPR) look like?
The number will start with an 'S' and is usually printed on a
What if I don't know my contract end date?
If you are unsure whether you are currently in a business energy
contract or don't know when it ends, you can find this out from
your supplier or authorise us to find this out on your behalf.
What is a rollover contract?
A rollover contract (also known as evergreen, assumptive
renewal) is 'an agreement between two parties that is
automatically renewed (rolled over) after each completion - or
maturity period, until cancelled by either party.' Unlike
household energy contracts, nearly all gas and electricity for
business contracts are evergreen, meaning they automatically renew
themselves if you don't terminate them with a letter of notice.
Some suppliers renew over 90% of their customers in this way,
rolling them over on to new not-so cheap energy prices when often
the customer is unaware this is happening.
How do I avoid getting rolled?
Watch this video guide to avoiding a Roll-over:
Each energy supplier has different, and often complex, rules
about renewing your business electricity or gas contract with them
and they will usually write to you anywhere from 120 days before
your contract end-date to inform you of their intention to roll you
over. This letter often triggers the opening of your renewal
window, putting the onus on you to terminate the contract in
writing before the window closes again which - in many cases - can
be as little as one or two weeks later. To find out which energy
supplier's terms & conditions apply to you, call us on
0800 970 0077.
Does it make any difference if I'm a Not-for-Profit
As far as utilities companies are concerned, businesses include
all not-for-profit/community buildings such as churches, village
halls and scouts huts. Still, this doesn't mean they can't compare
business energy prices and switch to a better deal. Plus, they may
also be eligible for a
lower rate of VAT and Climate Change Levy exemption. The VAT on
electricity bills and gas bills can often make a significant
Are there any other types of contracts to be aware of?
The other most common types of contracts for businesses are '28
Day' and 'Deemed Rates'.
What is a 28-day contract?
Businesses that do not compare energy prices or have not
attempted to switch energy suppliers since the market was
de-regulated in the 1990s often find themselves on 28 Day supply
contracts. The energy prices charged for these contracts can go up
and down with the market and are rarely competitive. As such, we
would always recommend a business switches on to a
competitively-priced 'fixed-rate, fixed-term' contract for a
minimum of a year - even with the same supplier. Thankfully, as the
name suggests, switching to cheap business electricity can be
carried out anytime after giving 28 days notice.
What are deemed (or out-of-contract) rates?
These rates are often the worst and usually apply to businesses
that are either new to a premises or have terminated a contract but
failed to switch to a new supplier. The good news is that, like
28-day contracts, there is only a maximum of 28 days' notice
required to switch onto the cheapest energy rates.
What is half-hourly / 100kW supply?
Half-hourly meters are for energy-intensive businesses whose
average peak electricity demand was greater than 100kW in any three
months of the previous year. There are two simple ways of checking
if you are a half hourly customer: usually a half hourly meter will
have a communications link so that meters can be read remotely on a
daily basis or if you check your meter reference number on your
bill you'll see that it begins 00. We have a specialist team that
arranges for the cheapest electricity prices to be sought from
suppliers that cater for the half-hourly market.
What if I'm new to a business premises?
If you have just moved into a premises, you will be supplied by
the same supplier(s) that the previous tenants used. However, this
supplier is likely to be charging you out-of-contract rates which
are significantly higher than average. It is important that you
arrange new commercial energy contracts for your business as soon
as you can after moving in. If you call us with your new address,
we can find out who your current supplier is, your meter serial
number, compare energy prices and advise you on the best option
going forward. Please note that a meter serial number (or 'meter
ID') is different to a meter reference number. It is the 9 or 10
digit reference located on the actual meter itself that usually
appears in the following format A12B 34567.
Can you install a meter in to a new site?
In this instance, we would advise you to contact your local
business energy supplier, have them install a meter at your
premises and enter a fixed-price contract with them on the minimum
fixed-term contract they have available (usually a year but
sometimes as short as nine months). Once you are on supply and have
a meter reference number we can search the market for a better deal
to switch to once your initial contract expires.
Do I have to do anything to switch supplier?
The key thing is to send a letter of termination to your current
electricity supplier to avoid getting rolled by them. Because each
supplier has different rules about terminating, by far the easiest
way to switch is to let us guide you through the process. However
if you prefer to do more of the legwork yourself, we can advise you
on what you need to do.
What happens if my supplier objects to my transfer?
Giving sufficient termination notice should prevent your current
supplier objecting to you leaving them. However, electricity
suppliers may object on the grounds of outstanding debt or existing
contract. Our service is geared towards making sure every switch to
cheap business electricity suppliers etc happens smoothly and
successfully. Given the high number of switching attempts that fail
because of suppliers raising objections - legitimate or otherwise -
we are very proud of our near 100% contract 'live rate'.
How long will it take to switch supplier?
It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to switch suppliers and we will
oversee the whole process on your behalf. Rest assured, your supply
cannot be cut-off as a result of switching! We will keep you up to
date at each stage and you will have the direct phone number of
your advisor to ask any questions. Furthermore, we will also be
there for you throughout the term of the contract and,
significantly, offer you a renewal reminder to ensure that you
always have the freedom to choose the cheapest electricity / gas
option at the end date.
What rate of VAT should I be charged for my gas or
VAT on electricity and gas for business is normally charged at
20% (as of January the 4th 2011.) However, some businesses will
meet the 'De minimis' requirements and then would be billed at 5%.
This means using an average of no more than 33 kWh per day (1,000
kWh per month) for business electricity and/or less than an average
of 5 therms or 145 kWh per day (150 therms or 4,397 kWh per month)
for business gas. if a business falls within this criteria they
will only attract the 5% VAT on gas and electricity bills.
What is the Climate Change Levy?
The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a Government tax, introduced in
2001, on the use of energy by businesses, agriculture and the
public sector which applies to both gas and electricity prices. The
aim of the levy is to encourage industry, commerce and the public
sector to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse
emissions. Current Electricity CCL is 0.524p per kWh and Gas CCL
0.182p per kWh (updated April 2013).
Do any types of business qualify for 5% VAT and CCL
- Residential / domestic buildings - including accommodation for
children, the armed forces, care homes, rehab centres, hospices,
monasteries & nunneries.
- An institution which is the sole or main residence of at least
90% of its residents - except hospitals, prisons or similar
institutions, hotels, inns or similar.
- Self catering holiday accommodation, caravans &
- Charitable organisations.
All of the above will qualify for a
reduced rate of VAT on gas bills and electricity bills.
Ofgem's Key Questions
The energy regulator, Ofgem, has produced a series of key
questions that small businesses should routinely ask their supplier
about their contract. Just reading the questions (listed below)
gives you an idea of how complex these contracts can be and why so
many people become unwittingly stuck on extortionate rates. For
those in any doubt, call us free on 0800 970 0077 and one of our
independent experts will be happy to guide you through the process
of saving money.
1. What is the charge per unit?
- Are there any fixed or standing charges?
- For electricity, are there any capacity charges per KVA?
2. Can the price I pay for energy change during the life of the
- If so, how will you tell me about this or any other changes to
the contract? Are charges fixed or variable?
- If they are fixed, how long for?
- If they are variable, which parts may vary?
3. What happens at the end of my contract or the fixed-term
period if I stay with you as my supplier?
- What can happen at the end of my contract or the fixed-term
period if I do not renew my contract?
- What do I need to do if I do not wish to renew my
4. What is the duration of this contract?
- Will you remind me of the contract end date?
- What do I have to do if I want to end the contract early?
5. How and when do I contact my supplier if I want to switch
- In what circumstances can you stop me switching to another
6. Who can I contact to find out more information about my
contract, and what information will they need from me to look up
7. Under what circumstances can my energy supply be cut
- What notification would I receive and what procedures must be
8. What options are available regarding payment terms?
9. Am I committed to a minimum or maximum volume?
- If so what charges can be incurred in relation to this?