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How to switch business energy supplier

If it’s been a while since you checked your business energy account, you might be able to save money by switching. But switching business energy isn’t the same as switching energy at home. Find out how the process works and what you need to be aware of here.

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Why should I switch business energy?

It’s important to switch business energy whenever your fixed contract ends to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to.

If you’re on a contract you haven’t chosen, you’ll probably be paying out-of-contract or deemed rates which tend to be very expensive. They’re also variable, which means that if wholesale prices rise, those high prices will be passed on to you. You might even be on a 28-day contract which would mean that your business hasn’t switched its energy deal or supply since the energy market was deregulated in the 1990s.

It’s therefore important to be aware of your business energy contract and be prepared to switch when it comes to an end.

How do I know if I can switch business energy?

You’ll be able to switch business energy if you’re on one of the contract types mentioned above. This might occur when you move to new premises.

You’ll also be able to switch if your existing fixed business energy deal is due to expire.

If you’re unsure, speak to your supplier. You may need to give it notice anyway depending on your contract terms, which it will be able to confirm. If it says you can’t switch, it must explain why.

How does switching business energy work?

There is no online comparison service for business energy deals like there is for domestic energy, so the switching process is very different. 

Some businesses handle switching energy themselves, which means contacting individual business energy suppliers and collating quotes.

Because of the amount of time and effort this takes, most businesses employ a business energy broker to find the best rates on their behalf. These brokers take information about the business’s size, location and energy usage to find the most competitive rates which they then bring to the business to approve or reject. If the deal is approved, the broker also handles the switch so the business doesn’t have to be involved.

What information do I need to switch business energy?

If you’re using a business energy broker, you should only need your business’s postcode to get started. It can then get information about your usage from the national database.

If you’re handling the comparison and switching process yourself, it’s a good idea to have the following information to hand when you speak to business energy suppliers:

  • Your supplier and contract name

  • The terms on your business energy contract, including the contract end-date and any notice periods

  • Your energy unit rates and standing charges

  • Your annual energy usage

Most of this information can be found on one of your bills (the more recent, the better). 

What do I need to consider when choosing a new business energy deal?

There are some similarities between domestic and business energy but also some crucial differences, so make sure you’re considering the following when reviewing a potential business energy deal.

  • No cooling-off period: business energy deals don’t come with a 14-day cooling-off period in the same way that domestic deals do, so you need to be absolutely certain that a deal you’re considering is the right one before you sign the contract.

  • You can’t leave your contract early: similarly, business energy users are unable to cancel their contracts in the way that domestic customers can (though they have to pay exit fees to do so). This means that once you’ve signed up, you’re bound to stay with your supplier until the end of the contract.

  • Contracts are much longer: business energy deals can last up to five years, but domestic contracts usually last between 12 and 24 months.

How long does it take to switch business energy?

Once the switch has been confirmed, your new supplier will get in touch to let you know the exact date the switchover will happen. It can take up to three weeks to complete the switch, but it’s often quicker.

What happens if I don’t switch when my business energy contract ends?

If you decide not to switch when your business energy contract ends, you’ll be rolled on to an expensive variable rate contract. This will leave you vulnerable to price rises because you won’t have the protection provided by fixed rates. It’s good to get into the habit of comparing and switching, even if the length of your contracts mean you only have to think about it every few years.


Can I get a business energy dual fuel deal?

Dual fuel deals aren’t available for businesses. You’ll have to get separate deals for your gas and electricity, though you may still end up getting them both from the same supplier.

Will my business energy supply be disrupted when I switch?

No, your business energy supply won’t be disrupted at any point when you switch. The infrastructure (i.e. the cables and pipes) that connect your business’s energy supply will still operate and the energy will be the same. The only difference is that you’ll be buying the energy from a different supplier.

Can I switch my business energy supplier if I’m in debt?

You can switch business energy if you’ve been in debt for less than 28 days. If you’ve been in debt for more than 28 days, the debt will need to be repaid before you can switch. However, you can switch regardless of your debt circumstances if it’s your supplier’s fault that you’re in debt. 

What if my business energy switch goes wrong?

If your business energy switch goes wrong and you’re not satisfied with your supplier’s response, you can raise a formal complaint with it and then escalate to the Energy Ombudsman if necessary. Be aware, though, that business energy customers aren’t eligible for automatic compensation in the event of switching problems.

About Alex Ryde

Alex joined in 2019, bringing his expertise to a range of roles working in both the Analytics and Commercial teams. More recently he has stepped across to focus on Product, where he’s been focusing on scaling up the teams’ SME offering.

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