A guide to moving business premises
Relocating your business can be a hectic undertaking. While you’re busy with the bigger things like taking care of your business equipment and helping your staff enjoy a smooth transition, you may neglect some aspects of your business that run in the background – such as your business energy supplies.
If you’re moving business premises, there are a number of factors that you should bear in mind in order to properly manage your gas and electricity contracts during the transition. We’ve put together this handy guide to help – scroll down to keep reading, or use the links below to navigate.
- Step by step guide to business energy when moving premises
- Switching energy as a tenant
- Issues to be aware of during relocation
Step by step guide to business energy when moving premises
Many energy suppliers have a dedicated team to help businesses when they decide to relocate. They will usually have specific pages depending on whether you’re moving out of your business premises or moving in, and will also provide contact details for their moving experts who can ensure the transfer goes smoothly.
Below you can find a step-by-step guide to your business energy when moving out of your old business premises, and into your new one, so you can rest assured that everything is in place to help the transition go smoothly.
When moving premises, business owners are in the rare position to end their current business energy contract early. It’s always recommended that you take this opportunity to run a business energy comparison to see if you can secure a better deal. However, some business owners decide to stick with their current supplier when moving premises because certain suppliers can set your new premise’s supply to go live on the date that you move in – minimising the impact that the move has on your business.
If you are choosing to cancel your contract rather than transferring it to your new location, it’s advisable that you do not immediately cancel your direct debit as there may still be a final bill – or you may be eligible for a refund if you’ve overpaid on previous bills. If you made payment in any other way, any refund you are entitled to will be provided by cheque.
To help things run efficiently, let your energy provider know in advance the date you are planning to move out – a month’s notice is usually sufficient (click here to see our termination letter template). Giving your supplier advance notice will also help them provide you with an accurate final bill.
It will be useful to have the following to hand before using their online form or giving them a call:
- Your account number(s)
- Your final meter readings, and the date on which they were taken – so your final bill is accurate
- The date your lease or ownership of your old location finishes – so your supplier knows when to stop billing you for energy used at that address
- They may also ask you to provide the name of the new owner or business at your old location, if you have this information – they can use this information to help the new occupant set up their energy supply. If you do not have this information, your supplier may ask you to provide contact details for the landlord or managing agent responsible for your old location to help them obtain this information.
- The address and postcode of your new premises. If you’d rather your supplier sent your bill to your home address, let them know.
You may be asked to provide a Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) for electricity and a Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) for gas at your old premises. You can find these numbers on a recent copy of your energy bill - click here to see example bills from a range of suppliers.
If you would like more information about your bill, why not take a look at our guide to business energy bills?
If you would like to continue using your current supplier at your new address, let your supplier know. You may need to provide your contact details, the address of your new premises and the date your lease or ownership of your new premises starts. Your supplier can use your details to find out if they already manage the energy supply at your new location.
If this is found to be the case:
- Your supplier will ask you whether you would like them to supply both gas and electricity, so they know which products to charge you for.
- Your supplier can then tell you the price of supplying energy at your new location.
- Your supplier can also tell you whether your current pricing arrangements can be carried over to your new location – this depends on the location and the type of meter installed there.
- You will be asked to provide a meter reading on the date you move in. This is called an open meter reading, and is the first meter reading taken when you start an energy contract. This is used to ensure you are given an accurate quotation, which is not possible when working with an estimate.
- You may also be asked to provide a forwarding address for the previous owner or business at your new location, if you have this information.
If your supplier does not already manage the energy supply at your new location, they will probably be interested in providing you a quote for a new contract:
- First, you’ll need to contact the current energy suppliers at your new location to let them know you are switching suppliers. You can find out who the current gas and electricity suppliers are by calling the National Grid.
- Next, send your supplier the meter readings on the date the supply is switched – your supplier will let you know when this date is.
- It can take up to six weeks to complete the switch.
- If you haven’t yet moved into your new premises by the time the supply is switched, you may be given a certain amount of time after you have moved in to the premises to provide this reading.
- Using this reading, your supplier can create an energy quote.
Moving without a business energy contract
If you move in to a new location without setting up a contract beforehand, you’ll find yourself paying expensive deemed or out-of-contract rates. That’s because the old occupant’s supplier will still continue to provide the premises with energy, but as you haven’t agreed to a specific deal with them you’ll automatically be charged higher prices for the gas or electricity you use.
As these deemed rates are often more than double the cost of those you could be paying with a fair energy deal, it is important to arrange a new deal with a supplier as soon as possible to avoid paying over the odds for your gas or electricity.
Read on for more information about deemed business energy rates.
Business gas and electricity for tenants
If you’ve just moved into a commercial rental property, there are several things to consider regarding electricity and gas at your new premises. Unless your energy bill is included with the overall cost of your rent, then you’ll most likely be responsible for managing and paying the energy bills at your premises.
Can I switch gas or electricity supplier if I’m a tenant?
There is a common misconception that if you are a tenant, your landlord is in charge of your energy management – including choosing energy suppliers and finding you the best business electricity deals for the premises. This is not always the case.
A tenancy agreement will typically include information about who is responsible for the property’s energy bills. Check your agreement, or ask your landlord to find out what your situation is. You’ll likely be in one of two situations:
My tenancy agreement specifically mentions that I pay my energy bills directly to my landlord
In this case, your landlord will usually engage directly with your energy supplier, including deciding on energy rates and paying them. They will typically include the cost of your energy bill within your rent or within general service charges – or simply reclaim the money from you. If your landlord is in charge of your energy bills, you will not be able to switch suppliers as the energy contract lies with your landlord and not with you. If you do wish to change suppliers, you can still request this from your landlord, however they’re not obliged to switch, but may do so on your request.
Energy use is usually recorded through a gas or electricity meter and your energy bill should consist of a charge per unit, and your share of any standing charge.
Please note: As a tenant, you are not obliged to pay any charges related to communal lighting, if applicable.
My tenancy agreement mentions that I am wholly responsible for my energy bills
If you pay your energy supplier directly, you’re responsible for the energy bills – as well as choosing gas or electricity contracts to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
As a new tenant, it’s important to take the time to do so, as energy suppliers tend to automatically put new tenants onto ‘deemed’ rates. This is because energy suppliers regard you as a financial risk, because they do not know how much energy you will be consuming. As such, deemed rates are far more expensive than any rate you may be offered when you sign up as a new customer.
If you’re responsible for your business’s energy bills, you are free to switch suppliers or switch to a different deal, as long as you are acting within the terms and conditions outlined in your energy contract.
Nonetheless, make sure to check your tenancy agreement before you switch suppliers – you may need to inform your landlord that you are switching, and your landlord may ask you to use their preferred supplier.
Issues to be aware of during relocation
While suppliers have certain measures in place to ensure your business relocation goes as smoothly as possible, there’s a small chance that you may still encounter issues with your gas and electricity supplies when moving premises. Just some of the obstacles that you may come across are:
- Reconnection fees
If the previous tenant had their supply disconnected – for instance because they did not pay their last energy bill – then your supplier might not provide you with gas and electricity until you pay a connection fee and a security deposit.
- Connection fees
If the premises you are moving into has never had a business energy supply before – for instance if it is a brand new building – then you may have to pay a connection fee in order to set up the gas and electricity supplies.
- Early termination fee
If you move premises before the contract at your current premises expires, then your supplier may charge you an early termination fee, as you are cancelling your contract before the agreed date. Usually, early termination fees are outlined in the terms of your contract, so be sure to check before you arrange to move premises.
In some cases, suppliers will waive early termination fees if you continue to purchase energy from them at your new premises – however this is not always the case.
If you’re interested in exploring energy efficiency options at your new location, it may be worthwhile doing an independent energy audit so you know what needs to be done to maintain energy efficiency. You are usually provided with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) from the owner, which provides information on the building’s energy, as well as recommendations for improvement.
- Feed in tariff
If you had solar panels installed at your old premises to benefit from a feed in tariff, you may be able to take them with you when you relocate. This will preserve your feed in tariff payments, so you can continue to reap the benefits of the scheme in your business’s new location.
- Deemed energy rates
If you move in to a new location without setting up a contract beforehand, you’ll find yourself paying expensive deemed rates. That’s because the old occupant’s supplier will still continue to provide the premises with energy, but as you haven’t agreed to a specific deal with them you’ll automatically be charged higher prices for the gas or electricity you use.
As these deemed rates are often more than double the cost of those you could be paying with a fair energy deal, it is important to arrange a new deal with a supplier as soon as possible to avoid paying over the odds for your gas and electricity.
Here are the average daily standing charges and unit rates for "deemed" rates compared with new customer rates.
|Typical standing charge per day||Typical unit rate per kWh|
|Deemed rates||New customer rates||Deemed rates||New customer rates|
|Business electricity||Up to £2.40 ✘||30p ✓||Up to 25p ✘||10p ✓|
|Business gas||Up to £3.60 ✘||35p ✓||Up to 8p ✘||4p ✓|
Source: Make It Cheaper, December 2014
Getting off of deemed rates and onto a rate that suppliers offer to new customers is straightforward. One short phone call to Make It Cheaper is all the effort you need to make. If you use our free cost-saving service, we'll compare the whole business energy market and use our expertise to find and set up a new energy contract that makes financial sense for your business.As you can see from the table above, you could stand to save a substantial amount if you are on deemed rates. It’s worth remembering that you will have to give your supplier 30 days’ notice to switch in this situation, which is why it’s important that you arrange a switch as soon as possible.
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