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How to find the best energy provider for your small business

It is an uncertain and turbulent time in the energy market and small businesses have not been released. A significant demand for ga

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It is an uncertain and turbulent time in the energy market and small businesses have not been released.

A significant demand for gas after the closure, especially in Asia, has led to a large increase in wholesale gas prices. The owner of British Gas, Centrica, expects price increases to last two years.

More than half (54 per cent) of UK SMEs already spend £ 3,000 or more a year on energy, according to Tyl by Natwest. In fact, 65 percent of SMEs spend up to one-fifth of their total business costs on energy consumption.

Inflation is putting pressure on small businesses that may be forced to close due to price increases, along with other tensions such as the rise in National Insurance introduced in April.

> See also: How much national insurance increase will your business cost

Since the market is so uncertain at the moment, we will not cover specific transactions. Instead, we’ll tell you how to find the best energy supplier for your small business.

Quick guide to finding the best energy provider for small businesses

Save money on energy for small businesses

Running a home-based business: Should I go for a household or business rate?

If you run your business from home, you will not need a business energy contract and you can claim tax back on some of your home’s energy costs.

> See also: What expenses can I claim through my business?

Businesses tend to have lower energy costs per unit and the larger the business, the smaller the unit rate in general. That said, homeowners pay 5 percent VAT on their energy where businesses pay 20 percent so savings can be made there. Businesses also pay the Climate Change Levy (CCL). This does not apply if businesses use renewable energy. What’s more, they may only pay 5 percent VAT if they use less than an average of 33 kWh of electricity and 145 kWh of gas per day. (This is the equivalent of 12,045 kWh of electricity and 52,925 kWh of gas per year, which is far above the amount of energy most people use at home).

You also do not pay CCL and only pay 5 percent VAT if you have a residential element in your business. That is, you run a B&B, a campsite or a care home.

You will need to use a lot of energy at home to justify the move to a business rate, 50 percent as a threshold marker. By taking meter readings at the beginning and end of the day, you will give a better idea of ​​how much of your home energy is being used for your business compared to your normal household use.

It’s best to compare household and business rates to find out what’s best for you – remember to include VAT and CCL in your final score.

Refer a friend

You may have seen it before, as it is a useful attraction for consumer credit cards and other services. Refer a friend schemes will give you and / or your friend a reward if you switch to their energy provider. These are usually financial incentives such as cash or in-account credit.

They are usually not such a big draw for business clients, but if it’s on top of a good deal, it could be a winner for you.

Remember the little things

Small changes really contribute. Start with direct debits and paperless billing to reduce your costs.

What you need to research to find the best energy provider

You’ll already have an idea of ​​this, but here’s a summary. Take note of:

  • Customer Service Ratings
  • Fixed vs variable
  • How long is the contract
  • What type of energy is used
  • Rates and fees
  • Protections (such as price limit if you run your business from home and have a household energy rate)

Find out how long it will take to switch – this is usually within 17 days, but will be done within a maximum of 21.

While you are here, it’s more than worthwhile to make sure you’re informed of your rights in the event of:

What small business energy suppliers are out there?

Light bulb

light bulb energy supplier

Bulb is currently in ‘special administration’, which means it still functions as Bulb but is managed by someone else. The firm promises green energy without contracts.

Good Energy

Good Energy offers 100 percent renewable energy and is carbon neutral.

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy has 100 percent renewable energy rates and no ‘extortion’ off-contract fees. Fixed rates last for a year.

SSE

SSE provides 100 percent renewable energy, sourced from its own wind and hydrobates. It has fixed energy plans for small business budgets.

Use

Utilita energy provider

With Utilita, there are no hidden fees and you get a dedicated business account manager. Customer support is available through a number of channels, including main street energy centers.

> See also: Renewable energy: Why small businesses need to go green

Where to get further help

Citizens Advice and Citizens’ Advice Extra Assistance Unit (England and Wales)

Citizens Advice will provide you with independent guidance online, over the phone or in person for free.

The Extra Aid Unit raises complaints with energy suppliers on behalf of individuals and micro-businesses across the UK. When referred, you will be assigned a dedicated case worker who will act on your behalf until your case is resolved.

If you have an energy related problem, are in a vulnerable situation and your business:

  • Has less than ten full-time equivalent employees and an annual turnover or annual balance sheet total of less than € 2 million per year, or
  • Use less than 293 000 kWh of gas per year, or
  • Uses less than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year

The first step is to call the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Energyadvice.scot (Scotland)

Energyadvice.scot is aimed at micro-business consumers and provides free, practical advice and information on energy-related matters.

Resto open

Resolver is a web-based service that is suitable for most disputes with your energy provider. Just file a dispute online and Resolver will help you through the process.

Energy related financial support is also available. Check out 150 UK small business grants to apply now and where to find green small business grants to find heaps of schemes including energy efficiency grants for small businesses.

Read more

How to remove the uncertainty from your business’s energy bills

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