Business Electricity Suppliers for Commercial Gas and Electric
Most businesses go with the “big six” when it comes to choosing their electricity supplier, but there are other options.
The Big Six UK Energy Suppliers
The UK energy market is made up predominantly of six suppliers who control most of the supply for gas and electricity. These providers are:
- British Gas
- EDF Energy
- Scottish Power
Since the deregulation of the energy market, residential customers and business users are free to choose who invoices them for their energy. It’s a straightforward task, although commercial tariffs are slightly different. For most businesses, you get the following:
- Fixed prices for the duration of the contract
- A contract length of at least one year
- Contract options of two and five years in length
- Although the contract has a fixed period, you must terminate it during the termination phase
This last point is where problems occur with price fluctuations for business users and are currently unavoidable.
Additional Energy Suppliers in the UK
Apart from the six mentioned above, there are some entrants you may have not heard of before. These are Gazprom (mainly for gas), Ecotricity (for 100% renewable sources), OPUS energy, OVO, Octopus and CNG. These can all supply businesses direct and are worth checking out. When you get online quotes with our service you will also get rates for the new entrants as well.
Avoiding Roll Over Contracts
This area is where the business energy sector differs from residential. A new Ofgem ruling means that the energy suppliers need to inform micro businesses of their contracts completing each year. This change is, unfortunately, only for new contracts taken since January 2011 and only for small businesses. For everyone else, the standard process remains the same. However, since 2013, business have additional options with newer flexible contracts they can change with minimal notice.
For every one-year contract taken out, it only lasts for exactly one year. Once that year is up, and if your business doesn’t do anything, the energy companies will extend that for another year (or roll it over). When they roll the contract term over, they will likely increase your prices by around 30-40%, and there is nothing you can do.
To avoid this price increase, you must terminate your contract. Within the terms will be a fixed period when you can communicate that you wish to serve notice. Only then can you switch to cheaper rates. You need to undertake the contract termination process whether or not you want to stay with your existing provider or switch to an alternative energy supplier. Here’s a handy online termination letter that you can use as a template to send to your supplier.
How Prices are Set
As with any industry, wholesale pricing is the primary driver of retail pricing. For residential customers, the energy providers update their tariffs two or three times per year based on the energy price cap. This change is when they increase or reduce their standard base tariff and then apply discounts from that point.
For business users, the prices can change daily, although they usually change weekly. These changes are a direct result of movements in the wholesale energy industry. If you receive live prices, then these are generally only valid for that day. As most SME electricity and gas contracts contain fixed prices for the contract term, it’s best to wait whilst wholesale prices are falling but quickly sign up if they rise.