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Switching business energy | The ultimate guide

We help companies find and switch to the best business energy deals available. Our commercial energy experts will help you with your business energy switch from start to finish.

Our experts know the common pitfalls of the switching process and are always on hand to help. Let’s start with our step-by-step guide to a hassle-free business energy switch.

How do I change my business energy supplier? | A step-by-step guide to switching business energy suppliers

Here’s a summary of the key steps to arrange a business energy switch.

Step one: Request business energy quotes.

A business energy quote is an offer made by a commercial energy supplier to supply your company with electricity or gas. The quote will include all the details you need on how much you’ll pay for your supply during the contract. A business energy quote consists of the following key information:

  • Business energy supplier – The supplier that offers to provide an energy supply to your business.
  • Start date – The date on which the energy supply will start.
  • Duration – The length of time the energy supply contract will be in place.
  • Expected annual consumption – An initial estimate of how much electricity and gas your business will consume annually, measured in kWh.
  • Unit charges – The charges you’ll pay for each kWh of energy your business uses throughout the contract.
  • Standing charges – The daily business energy standing charge you’ll pay throughout the contract is priced in pence per day.

Quotes can be requested individually from business energy suppliers or using a business energy comparison service. Either way, here’s the information you’ll need:

  • Address – Business energy contracts relate to the supply of a particular commercial property. You’ll need to provide details of your address, which will be used to find the MPAN/MPRN of your energy supply points.
  • Contract status – You need to arrange for your business energy switch to commence at your current contract end date. If you’re already out of contract, you can switch immediately. You’ll need your current contract details on hand.
  • Your business and contact details – You’ll need the legal name of your business and contact details of the person responsible for the contract.

Step two: Choose your business energy quote.

Once you’ve got your quotes in hand, it’s time to choose the best quote for your business.

Business energy quotes are usually only valid for a very short period. Business energy suppliers usually update their pricing matrices at least once a week, but with the current wholesale energy market, these can change daily, causing all business energy quotes to be withdrawn.

When you receive business energy quotes, it’s best practice to compare business energy prices immediately to avoid being frustrated that your quotes are no longer valid.

Here are the three key points to consider when making this decision:

  • Tariff type – Small businesses will typically benefit most from a simple fixed rate tariff, but there are more complex options for larger businesses. Check out our complete guide to business energy tariffs.
  • Contract length – Business energy quotes will fix your energy rates for one to three years. By locking into a longer contract, you’ll likely receive cheaper business energy rates.
  • Price – Unlock the biggest savings by choosing the cheapest business electricity rates or business gas prices.

Simply let our business energy experts know which quote you’d like to proceed with, and we’ll get ahold of the contract documentation from the business energy supplier.

Step three: Review and sign your business energy contract.

Our customer team work with your chosen business energy supplier to prepare and send you your business energy contract. The paperwork we send across will include two documents:

Your business energy contract

The exact form of the contract varies depending on your chosen supplier, but as a minimum will include:

i. Your meter point details
ii. Agreed contract term
iii. Agreed standing charges
iv. Agreed unit charges
v. Estimated annual consumption
vi. Proposed start date
vii. Terms and conditions

Once you’ve reviewed and you’re happy with the contract, you’ll need to let us know:

i. Details required for credit check:

  • Registered company number (if applicable)
  • Full name (if a sole trader)
  • Home Address (if a sole trader)
  • Date of birth (if a sole trader)

ii. Details to set up your direct debit mandate:

  • Account name
  • Bank name
  • Sort code
  • Account number

Once you’ve completed your details on our digital form, simply submit an e-signature, and your completed documents will be shared with our team.

It’s worth remembering that business energy suppliers do not have a cooling-off period in their terms and conditions. We recommend reviewing your paperwork thoroughly and talking to our energy experts if you have any concerns.

For a full guide to the details of commercial energy contracts, check our guides on business energy tariffs.

Our Letter of Authority (LOA)

A letter of authority is a legal document always required when using a business energy broker. The AquaSwitch LOA gives us permission to:

  • Request and obtain energy industry-held data about your property.
  • Submit your contract with your chosen business energy supplier.
  • Communicate with your current business energy supplier on your behalf.
  • Resolve any objections arising in the switching process.

Step four: AquaSwitch review and soft credit check

Once we’ve received your signed onboarding agreement, our energy experts will review your contract to ensure all the information is accurate. Our review helps to ensure your new supplier will accept the contract.

We’ll also run a soft credit check with the information you’ve provided so that we can ensure that your application will meet the credit requirements of your chosen supplier.

Step five: Your new supplier will review your signed documents.

We’ll send your new supplier your signed documents, who will do their own set of checks. The most crucial check at this stage is the hard credit check.

The main difference between a hard and soft credit check is that a soft credit check doesn’t leave a visible record on your credit file. The hard credit check performed by your new supplier is a more in-depth analysis of your company or sole trader’s credit history.

If there are issues with your credit at this stage, our in-house business experts will work with you and your new supplier to find a resolution.

Step six: The switch process takes place behind the scenes.

Once your new supplier has accepted your documents, they will kick off the process of switching. This process usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks if you’ve requested an ‘as soon as possible’ switch date.

If you’ve requested a switching date at the end of your current contract, then the supplier will request a transfer on this date.

From July 2022, Ofgem, the industry regulator, is enforcing new rules in its faster switching program. It is recognised that the standard timeline of up to 6 weeks does not provide a good customer experience.

In the meantime, AquaSwitch will send your current supplier a termination notice to inform them that you are ending your existing contract.

Your AquaSwitch account manager will inform you of the switch’s progress, including letting you know when your new supplier has confirmed the proposed switch date.

Step seven: Your current supplier will analyse your account status.

Your current supplier will receive a notification of your business energy switch. There are three scenarios where your supplier can object to the proposed transfer:

i. Outstanding debt – If you have unpaid bills with your current supplier, they can refuse the switch.

ii. In-contract status – If you have a fixed-period contract with your current supplier, you will not be able to switch suppliers.

iii. You’re not the current account holder – If your business is not registered as the current account holder at the business property, then your supplier can reject your transfer. If you’ve recently moved into a property, AquaSwitch will inform the current supplier of the relevant change in tenancy documents to resolve this objection.

In each objection scenario, our business energy experts will inform you of the issue and help you resolve the issue.

Step eight: Your new supply commences.

Our business energy experts will let you know when your new supply commences.

We recommend that you take a closing meter reading on the switching date to let your old supplier know the final reading so they can produce an accurate final bill.

Your new supplier will use the same readings to commence their invoicing.

If it’s impossible to take a meter reading on the switching date, your old and new suppliers will use the same estimate on the transfer date.

Following the switch, you’ll soon receive:

  • A final business energy bill from your old supplier.
  • Notification from your new supplier that your contract has commenced.
  • Your first bill from your new supplier.
  • Notification from AquaSwitch that your switch has been successful.

Business energy switch – frequently asked questions

Here, we answer your frequently asked questions surrounding the process of switching suppliers.

Can I switch my business energy supplier if I have outstanding bills?

It is possible to switch business energy suppliers even if you have outstanding bills.

However, certain conditions and requirements need to be met before switching. Firstly, if you have outstanding bills with your current business energy supplier, you must pay these before you switch. Your current supplier can object to your switch if you owe them money. You may also need to settle any early termination fees or other charges that may apply if you are still in a contract with your current supplier.

If you cannot fully pay your outstanding bills, you can discuss payment options with your supplier to arrange a payment plan. Once you have an agreed payment plan and have fully paid it off, you can switch business energy suppliers.

If you owe more than £500 for gas or electricity, your current supplier may object to your switch. However, you can still switch if you can provide a letter of no objection from your current supplier or a letter from a debt advisor confirming that the debt is being managed.

You can complete a business energy switch in the UK even if you have outstanding bills, as long as you settle the outstanding balance or have a payment plan in place with your current supplier.

Do I need a new energy meter installed when switching business energy suppliers?

When switching business energy suppliers, you will not need a new energy meter installed. Even if you’re moving to a new property and changing your energy supplier, the likelihood is that you will not need to have a new meter installed.

You may only need a new meter installed if you’re moving to new business premises without an energy meter installed or where a meter is broken.

In this case, you can notify your new supplier and install a new meter on your premises.

Why should you switch business energy supplier?

There are plenty of reasons to switch your business energy supplier. You can also use our business electricity rates comparison to switch business gas suppliers. The first reason usually is to get the best deal possible on your energy rates. Others include suffering from poor customer service or simply wishing to change your tariff.

Having a secure electricity and gas supply for your business is integral to its operation, so any interruptions can be detrimental. You will want excellent customer service to help resolve any issues smoothly and efficiently.

The energy market fluctuates a lot, so ensuring you’re paying the right price is essential.

So when you’re coming to the last six months, it’s worth shopping around and comparing the current market rates out there to see if you can get a better deal for your energy prices before your renewal kicks in.

As your business grows, you’ll spend more on energy in general, so ensuring you are on the most competitive tariff becomes even more important.

How easy is it to change business energy suppliers?

Changing business energy suppliers typically takes 4 to 6 weeks but it is really just a matter of paperwork. Check out our step-by-step guide to switching business energy above.

If you choose to switch business energy suppliers with AquaSwitch, our energy experts will make the process as hassle-free as possible.

How do I find an energy supplier for my business?

Finding a new business energy supplier is the first and most important step in a business energy switch.

There are over 100 business energy suppliers in the market, so finding the best supplier for your business can often be overwhelming.

To help our business energy experts have produced our guides to:

If you’re just looking to find the cheapest supplier for your business, then we’re also here to help. Simply enter your business postcode in our comparison tool above

Can I switch business energy if I’m on a variable tariff?

Yes, you can switch your business energy supplier even if you are currently on a variable tariff. Switching business energy often leads to cost savings and/or better service.

When you switch from a variable tariff, it’s essential to consider any contract terms or termination fees that may apply, even if this is seldom the case. Fixed contract terms and exit fees are rare, so you should be able to switch without penalties.

However, it’s always a good idea to review the terms and conditions of your current contract or contact your energy supplier directly to confirm.

To switch business energy suppliers, you can follow these steps:

Step 1 – Compare deals: Use an online comparison service or contact different energy suppliers to compare their tariffs and prices. Consider unit rates, business energy standing charges, contract terms, and any additional benefits or services offered.

Step 2 – Choose a new supplier: Once you’ve found a suitable energy supplier, contact them to initiate the switch. They will guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary paperwork. You can view our business gas suppliers and business energy suppliers to compare the latest deals from trusted sources.

Step 3 – Provide information: You will need to provide your new supplier with details about your current energy usage and account information. They may also ask for a meter reading to ensure accurate billing during the switch.

Step 4 – Contract confirmation: After you’ve provided the required information, your new supplier will send you a contract or confirmation letter outlining the terms and conditions of your new energy agreement. Make sure to review it carefully before signing or accepting the offer.

Step 5 – Complete the switch: Your new supplier will coordinate with your old supplier to finalise the switch. You should receive a final bill from your previous supplier, and your new supplier will begin providing your energy.

Is it best to switch business energy supplier now?

It depends on your current business energy rates. If you’re currently on favourable rates, you should stick with your current business energy supplier.

However, if an alternative supplier offers better rates, you could save thousands with a hassle-free business energy switch. Simply add your postcode to our business postcode finder to compare your current business electricity rates and business gas prices.

Can I switch business energy suppliers while in contract?

It’s possible to switch business energy suppliers when in a contract, but only if you are:

Otherwise, paying an expensive exit fee will be necessary to switch out of your contract early.

For more information, read our complete guide to getting out of a business energy contract early.

You can compare business energy and agree on a new contract up to 12 months in advance.

Can you switch business energy suppliers with debt?

If you’re in debt, you can switch business energy suppliers. However, this debt must be less than 28 days old at the point of switching.

After switching, you’ll be issued with a final bill by your current business energy supplier that requests payment of all outstanding amounts due. If you have unpaid business energy bills over 28 days overdue, you will need to pay these before attempting to switch to a new supplier.