Why your business may not be able to switch energy suppliers

For many business owners, comparing deals and switching energy suppliers is an important step towards significantly reducing their overheads.

While switching energy suppliers can be beneficial to your business, there are several circumstances that may prevent you from doing so. These circumstances are often described in your contract, so make sure to check this first before attempting to switch.

Some typical reasons why you may not be able to switch business energy suppliers include:

  • Outstanding debt:
    You have an outstanding debt with your supplier so they have blocked your switch. Paying back your outstanding debt usually lifts this block. If you are in debt due to the fault of your current supplier, they will not be able to block a switch.
  • Fixed term contract:
    You are still bound by your fixed term contract which hasn’t yet run out. Your supplier may block your switch, or you may face an early termination fee if you try switch to a different supplier before your Contract End Date.

    However, your supplier cannot object to you switching if you are not signed up to any contract (for example, you may be on a deemed rate), if your contract has expired, or if you have given sufficient termination notice before your Notice Period End Date.

    As long as you give your current supplier sufficient termination notice, you can arrange a switch up to six months before the contract is due to expire. This way, your new deal will come into effect as soon as your current contract expires.
  • Renting your business premises:
    If you rent your business premises your landlord may object to you switching energy suppliers – if your energy bills are in your landlord’s name, they are ultimately responsible for choosing energy suppliers. If you do wish to switch suppliers, the most you can do is to try to persuade your landlord to switch. On the other hand, if your bills are in your name you have the right to choose and switch to your preferred supplier.

    Once you have expressed your interest in switching, your current supplier is legally obliged to tell you straight away if you cannot switch. They will tell you the reason why they have objected to your switching, including how to dispute this if you disagree with their reasoning, or how to resolve the issue. Usually, your supplier will approve the switch as soon as you have resolved the issue.

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