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Falling temperatures, rising energy prices – are you paying the minimum amount possible?

All business owners need to recognise that they can affect their rising energy bills

The New Year cold snap has kicked in and we're starting to feel the bite of what some forecasters are predicting will be the coldest winter in 100 years. It also happens to be a winter in which there seems to have been a new story in the papers about the rising price of energy virtually every day.

EDF Energy's price hikes came into effect in December, while E.ON announced that they would be following suit this month and increasing prices by 8.7%.

E.ON's announcement completed the set of energy price hikes from the 'Big Six' companies - but apparently the misery for UK homes and businesses does not stop there. In the aftermath of the news from E.ON, the treasury warned that bills are likely to rise again this year - and what's more there's every chance that the rise in prices will be at a "bigger than normal" rate. That prediction comes from the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, Robert Chote.

Just before Christmas, the government's Department of Energy & Climate Change published its quarterly update on business energy prices, which stated that the year-on-year increase in gas prices for smaller business in 2012 was 17%. It was 9% for business electricity.

So, let's look at the facts. It's cold outside. The heating is going on more regularly and the dial on the thermostat is set high. Energy companies are charging more and more for gas and electricity. In short, people are using more energy and paying more for each unit used.

But here's the kicker: some people pay much less per unit for their energy than others.

These people are the switchers.

Squeezing the competition

Switchers understand that their engagement will stimulate competition in the market and, ultimately, lead them to the best prices for their energy supply

Switchers recognise that there is still competition in a market that's dominated by six companies - and that these companies, and other smaller suppliers, really want their business. Switchers understand that their engagement will stimulate this competition and, ultimately, lead them to the best prices for their energy supply.

For domestic switchers the saving they make goes straight into their back pocket - while for commercial switchers it goes straight onto their profit figure. From there, itmayend up in the switcher's back pocket - but it can also be reinvested into the business to fund future growth.

For businesses, there's all the more reason to switch. This is not only because their consumption is likely to be much, much higher than a household's, but because most are on 'evergreen' or fixed-term contracts that roll over onto assumed rates when they come to an end. This results in prices that are often up to 30% higher than they were during the contract term.

Once a switcher, always a switcher

Doing nothing almost always costs businesses money they don't need to spend, whereas taking action is almost always rewarded - often very handsomely.

Our free service removes the hassle from the switching process because we assess your current billing situation and search the whole of the market to find the best solution. After that, we take care of the administration and leave you to get on with the more enjoyable and rewarding aspects of running a business. When the contract we set up comes to an end, we'll be proactive about getting in touch and repeating the process so that you never roll over and end up paying too much for your business gas and electricity.

The chilly weather shouldn't fuel your inertia - instead, it should snap you into action. If you run a business and you've never switched your energy supplier before, this is the time to break the habit of a lifetime and leave the group that pays the higher prices.

Instead, join the switchers and maximise your profit figure.