Business energy switch
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To secure the best deals in business energy, it is necessary to shop around and occasionally switch suppliers. The process of switching can feel quite daunting, so our business energy experts have broken it down into a simple step-by-step guide. Click each stage for more information:
Here’s our step-by-step guide to the process of switching business energy suppliers. This switching guide covers electricity and gas supplies to all types of non-domestic properties.
A business energy quote is an offer made by a commercial energy supplier to supply your company with electricity or gas. Quotes can be requested individually from business energy suppliers or using a business energy comparison service.
The quote will include all the details you need regarding how much you will pay for your energy supplied during the contract and will contain the following information:
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. Suppliers usually update their pricing strategies 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a week, but with the current wholesale energy market, these can change daily, causing all business energy quotes to be withdrawn.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quotes, it’s best practice to compare business energy prices immediately to avoid being frustrated that your quotes are no longer valid.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:
Once you’ve selected a quote, you can request draft contract documentation from your business energy broker or chosen supplier.
The exact form of a business energy contract varies depending on your chosen supplier, but as a minimum, it will include:
Once you’ve reviewed and you’re happy with the contract, you’ll need to provide your broker or supplier with the following information they’ll need for the contract:
i. Details required for credit check:
ii. Details to set up your direct debit mandate:
Once these details are added to the contract, your broker/supplier will request an e-signature to formalise the agreement. It’s important to remember that business energy suppliers do not have a cooling-off period in their terms and conditions.
Letter of Authority (LOA)
A letter of authority is a legal document is always required when using a business energy broker. The LOA generally gives your broker permission to:
Once signed, your new business energy supplier will review your signed contract and typically conduct a hard credit check on your business.
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, your supplier can refuse to accept your switch under the terms they quoted.
Once your new supplier has accepted your documents, they will kick off the process of switching. The process occurs behind the scenes between your old and new supplier and energy industry operator. This process usually takes between 3 and 6 weeks if you’ve requested an ‘as soon as possible’ switch date.
Your broker or supplier will inform you of the switch’s progress, including letting you know when your new supplier has confirmed the proposed switch date.
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:
Your broker or new supplier will provide you with a switching date. 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:
Here, we answer the frequently asked questions surrounding the mechanics of switching business energy suppliers.
As you can see in our step-by-step guide above, switching business energy suppliers is mostly a matter of paperwork and requires little preparation.
However, we do advise that you arrange to take a meter reading on your scheduled switch date to provide to your new and old suppliers. This will prevent the suppliers from estimating energy consumption on their final and first bills, respectively.
No, switching business energy suppliers is free if you are coming to the end of your fixed rate tariff or if you pay default variable business energy rates.
However, if you are currently in a fixed energy tariff, you will need to pay an exit fee to terminate your contract and switch to a new supplier.
💡 Exit fees in business energy contracts can be expensive. Typically, it is not worth paying one of these fees to switch contracts.
Here is our full guide to getting out of a business energy contract.
You may also incur a fee if you choose to use an Energy Consultant instead of a broker or switch directly with a business energy supplier. For more information on this topic, please refer to our business energy broker guide.
Your business energy contract will include a provision for what happens if you haven’t arranged a switch when your contract ends. Typically, you will continue to be supplied by your existing supplier under one of the following automatic tariffs:
Check out our full article on what happens at the end of a business energy contract.
According to Ofgem (the energy regulator), once you have signed your new business energy contract, it can take up to 21 days to complete a switch, but in most cases, it is around 17 days.
These switching times apply in the case of an ‘as soon as possible’ business energy switch. If you are currently on a fixed business energy tariff, the switch will be arranged to be completed on your current contract end date.
To ensure a smooth and timely business energy switch, it is a good idea to start the process well before your current contract’s end date and work closely with your new business energy supplier to provide any additional information they need.
Additional factors that affect the time it takes to switch business energy providers include:
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.
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.
Switching business energy suppliers can seem daunting, but it is just a matter of paperwork. Check out our step-by-step guide to switching business energy above.
It is important to remember that changing suppliers doesn’t involve any physical changes to the pipes and wires that supply your commercial property with energy.
If you switch business energy suppliers with AquaSwitch, our energy experts will make the process as hassle-free as possible. Start by simply entering your business postcode into our address finder below.
Following the energy crisis, many businesses are paying variable business energy rates in the hope that wholesale energy rates will continue to fall.
If you are in this situation, we recommend checking the fixed rates currently available. Simply add your postcode to our business postcode finder below to compare your current business electricity prices and business gas prices.
You may find that your business can make significant savings today by switching to a one-year contract offered on the market. Check out our complete guide on whether you should fix energy prices until 2024.
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.