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How to be a business energy shopper

Ofgem has launched a campaign to encourage households to switch to a better energy deal - and we're here to help businesses do the same.

For many, it’s a long held misconception that switching your energy is a long and arduous task - and it has become one of the main reasons why so many households and businesses remain with their incumbent supplier.

It’s this apathy towards switching that has led to an energy market where around 92% of consumers are with one of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers, and quite often paying more than they need to for their energy.

In an attempt to tackle this apathy and encourage more of us to switch, the energy industry watchdog, Ofgem, has launched a renewed campaign to help domestic consumers switch to a better energy deal via its website –

Unfortunately Ofgem’s site only covers the process of domestic switching, meaning many of Britain’s businesses are once again left in the dark without the advice and support that could help them find a better deal for their gas and electricity. At Make It Cheaper, we firmly believe that small and medium-sized businesses - as the lifeblood of our country’s economy - deserve just as much support as domestic customers in finding a better-value energy deal.

Small and medium-sized businesses - as the lifeblood of our country’s economy - deserve just as much support as domestic customers in finding a better-value energy deal

The process of switching your business energy differs from the domestic market in some key areas – but many small business owners may adopt the same apathetic attitude towards energy switching, subscribing to the idea that it’s a multifaceted and time-consuming process. However, it can be easy if you look in the right places.

To help business owners understand the energy switching market and ensure they’re getting a fair deal, we’ve put together a quick guide to some of the most important things to consider.  

What are the key differences between domestic and commercial energy switching?

  • No dual fuel:
    Unlike the domestic market, where consumers are able to purchase both their gas and electricity supplies as part of the same deal, a business must secure each under separate contracts - even if they are both provided by the same supplier. This means that business customers cannot benefit from a dual fuel discount.
  • Contract lengths:
    Fixed price domestic energy tariffs will have a specific end date defined in the tariff wording – this end date will remain the same irrespective of when you sign up to the deal. However, with a commercial energy contract, the end date is effectively dictated by the length of your contract (if you agree to a one year contract, your end date will be exactly twelve months after that contract begins).
  • No early exit:
    A domestic energy customer often has the option to end their contract before the specified end date, however in some cases they may have to pay an early exit fee. Early exits do not exist in commercial energy, and a business is tied into their energy contract until it expires. The only way that a commercial energy contract can be cancelled early is if the business moves to a new premises, or goes out of business. However, you can arrange a better deal before your current contract expires – one that will come into effect when your existing contract ends.
  • Bespoke contracts:
    The domestic energy market is populated with pre-defined tariffs offered by suppliers. Consumers can then browse these tariffs to find one that best suits their energy consumption habits.  A commercial customer, however, must approach each supplier individually to obtain bespoke energy quotes based on their business’s circumstances and consumption habits. This is where a commercial energy broker, such as Make It Cheaper, could help you save time and find a deal that’s right for you.
  • Renewal windows:
    A business can switch its energy tariff once the renewal window in their contract opens – which can be anywhere from 120 to 60 days before the end of the contract. If the customer is already out of contract, then they must still provide their current supplier with 30 days’ notice of termination prior to switching.  

Why should a business switch energy contracts?

There are a number of reasons why businesses should stay on top of their energy contracts, and chief among them is strengthening their bottom line by avoiding unnecessarily expensive bills. If you don’t keep an eye on your gas or electricity contract, you can find yourself paying well over the odds for your energy, meaning you’ll be losing out on some of that hard-earned revenue. Switching can help to avoid this unnecessary cost, which is why it is important to be proactive.  

To take the hassle out of switching and get a better energy deal for your business, click here