Regularly switching suppliers is the best way to make sure you get a good business energy contract.
But to switch effectively, you need clarity on the terms of your contract. Crucially, you need to know when your contract expires and when you can tell your supplier that you want to switch.
Most businesses only have a limited switching window. And if they miss this, the supplier can place them on an expensive ‘rollover’ contract.
Unfortunately, business energy contract end dates can be tricky to find.
If you inherited a contract from a different manager or you simply forgot some of the details, this blog post will help you find them.
Look on your bill
For micro-businesses, Ofgem requires suppliers to put the end date and notice period on all fixed-term contract bills. Some suppliers also include this information on energy bills for larger companies.
A company is classed as a micro business if it meets one of the following criteria:
- Employs fewer than 10 people and has an annual turnover or balance sheet no greater than €2 million
- Uses not more than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year, or
- Uses not more than 293,000 kWh of gas per year
If you think your company is a microbusiness, but your energy supplier hasn’t recognised this, you should collect some proof and complain.
Suppliers are also required to send an End of Fixed Term Notification near the end of your contract. This will spell out when the contract is due to expire, explain any default (rollover) arrangements and, usually, offer you a new quote.
Remember that you’re under no obligation to accept this quote. You can use the usage information contained in the letter to compare quotes from different suppliers. Or you could have an energy broker compare the market for you.
Dig out your old contract
If the contract end date doesn’t appear on your energy bills, you might have to dig a little deeper into your paperwork.
You may have original documentation such as quotes or the contract itself leftover from when you first negotiated your energy deal.
If you can find the contract, this would be useful because it would contain all the relevant terms – including your contract notice period.
Some businesses will only have a limited window during which they can tell their supplier that they want to switch. And because there is no cooling-off period for business energy contracts, missing this window could be very damaging for companies.
The smallest firms have some extra protection here because under Ofgem rules, they can tell their supplier that they wish to switch suppliers at any time throughout the contract.
Contact the supplier
If everything else fails and you are not sure when your contract finishes or when you can cancel your contract, you should speak to the supplier.
Just make sure you are prepared for a hard sell from the supplier. As with domestic energy, business suppliers make most of their money with repeat business.
When you know that your contract is coming to an end, visit different suppliers and try to find the best possible price. Don’t commit to the deal in front of you because it is the easiest option.
Use an energy broker
Using a reliable energy broker like Utility Helpline means that you don’t have to worry about rollover contracts or getting a bad deal.
We will monitor your position throughout the life of your contract and notify you when it is time to switch.
When it comes to switching, we’ll also carry out most of the legwork, leaving you to concentrate on what’s important. We will contact suppliers on your behalf and prepare a series of quotes for you to choose from.