Guide to business energy when moving 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.

One of these is your business’s 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 move. We’ve put together this handy guide to help – scroll down to keep reading, or use the links below to navigate.

Moving out of your business premises

To help things run smoothly, let your energy provider know in advance the date you are planning to move out – a month’s notice is usually sufficient. Giving your supplier advance notice will help them provide you with an accurate final bill, ensuring that you do not leave your premises with over or under payments on your account. 

It will be useful to have the following to hand before contacting your supplier:

  • 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
  • The name of the new owner or business at your old location – so the supplier can 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.
  •  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 are choosing to cancel your contract rather than trying to transfer 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.

Moving into a new business premises

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 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.
  • You will be quoted for the price of supplying energy at your new location.
  • Your supplier can tell you whether your pricing arrangements from your old premises can be carried over – 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 used to ensure you are given an accurate quotation.
  • 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. 

In order to switch suppliers for your new premises:

  • First, you’ll need to contact the current energy supplier(s) at your new location to let them know you are switching suppliers. You can find out who the current gas and electricity suppliers for the premises are by calling the National Grid.
  • Send both old and new suppliers meter readings on the date the supply is switched – they will let you know when this date is.
  • 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.

Usually your final bill for your old location or your first bill for your new location will be sent to you within 28 days of your move. Your supplier may also ask you to provide the contact details for your new landlord or managing agent, so they can obtain the details of the business at the premises before you. 

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.

Source: Make It Cheaper, December 2014
Typical standing charge per dayTypical unit rate per kWh

"Deemed"

rates

New customer

rates

"Deemed"

rates

New customer

rates

Electricity Up to £2.40  30p  Up to 25p  10p 
Gas Up to £3.60  35p  Up to 8p  4p 

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.

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.

Issues during business relocation

While suppliers have put 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 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.

Can I switch business energy if I’m a tenant?

If you’ve just moved into a rented commercial property, there are several things that you will need to consider regarding electricity and gas at your new premises. Unless the cost of energy is included in the price of your rent, you’ll be responsible for managing and paying the energy bills at your premises. This is usually the case for business tenants.

There is a common misconception that if you are a tenant, your landlord is always in charge of your energy management – including choosing energy suppliers and rates. However, 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:

  • You pay energy bills directly to your 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 – 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 – they’re not obliged to switch, but may do so on your request.

Your energy payments should consist of a charge per unit, and your share of a standing charge – your landlord will be able to show you energy bills for your premises so that you can check this correlates with what you’re paying. Your premises will have meters for gas and electricity, which will show your consumption. You can use these to compare your usage to your payments, to ensure you are being charged fairly.

As a tenant, you are not obliged to pay any charges related to communal lighting, if applicable.

  • You pay energy bills to the energy supplier

If you pay your energy supplier directly, you’re responsible for managing your energy accounts, as well as ensuring you’re on the deal that’s best for you. If this is the case for you, it means that 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.

As a new tenant, it’s important to take the time to compare your rates with other deals on the market, as energy suppliers often automatically place new tenants on expensive deemed rates .

Be 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. 

Click here  for more information on reasons why a business may not be able to switch.

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