Small Business Saturday Blog

Highlighting Energy Saving Potential for Small Business

Thursday, February 19 at 15:42Energy Savings

Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that they would be conducting a thorough investigation into the domestic energy market. This week, they published their first set of results, and the report’s findings has prompted the Government to create the ‘Power to Switch’ campaign, which urges homeowners to proactively switch their energy and save money.

However, the big question here is: ‘how can this apply to small businesses?’ It is important to make sure that businesses are aware that they too can save when it comes to switching energy.

The main issue surrounding switching is that people often hear the word, and associate it with hassle and confusion, when it doesn’t need to be. The main benefit of switching is at the heart of every good small business: strengthening the bottom line. Energy costs make up a large percentage of a business’s outgoings, so cutting these costs could potentially save a business a significant amount of money each year.

By simply switching to a contract that better suits your company’s consumption habits, you have the potential to facilitate some real business growth. There are a few ways to approach switching, so it can help to know the differences between businesses and domestic energy to make life that little bit easier before you venture into the energy switching world.

Differences between domestic and commercial energy switching

The most distinguishable difference between domestic and commercial switching is that duel fuel is not an option for business customers, so gas and electricity will have to be secured with separate contracts – even if they are provided by the same supplier.

Suppliers also act differently when purchasing energy for domestic and business customers. Energy for the domestic market is typically bought just a few months in advance, whereas energy for businesses is bought much further in advance than that. This can be up to 1, 2, or 3 years, depending on the length of the contract between supplier and consumer.

The contract that a business customer takes out is personalised to cater to the needs of that business in particular. Because of this, the tariff renewal options are different: unlike a domestic tariff where the consumer can choose to leave early, sometimes at the cost of an exit fee, a business energy customer must wait until their ‘renewal window’ opens before they switch – this is typically 90-60 days before your contract is due to end.

What if your renewal window is not open?

What happens if you’ve missed your renewal window and have been rolled onto a your supplier’s standard or variable rates? You can still switch after your renewal window has expired, however you will need to give your energy supplier 30 days’ notice before switching your contract.

How do I get a quote?

There are a number of steps to follow when looking for a quote on your business energy;

Step 1: Contact energy suppliers to obtain quotes.

Step 2: Once you have enough quotes, decide which best suits your consumption habits.

Step 3: Contact the new supplier to begin the application process.

Step 4: Contact your old supplier to inform them of the switch.

Step 5: Wait for the switch to take effect.

Alternatively, you could use a commercial energy broker such as Make It Cheaper, to obtain quotes for you and handle the switching process. A commercial energy broker will keep you updated on the progress of the switch, so all you need to do is apply or phone in, sit back, and relax.

This article was written by Emily Farnan, a writer specialising in business energy for Make It Cheaper. For more useful tips for small business owners, make sure you follow her on Twitter.

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