Business energy suppliers
Discover how to find the best business energy supplier for your company.
The business energy market differs from the residential market, in that the ‘Big 6’ doesn’t have such a large stranglehold on business.
British Gas, E.on, nPower, SSE, EDF Energy and Scottish Power all offer business energy services, but recent estimates suggest these companies have less than 20% of the overall business energy market share.
Many businesses instead opt to buy their energy from lesser-known providers.
A lot of these suppliers – such as Good Energy, Orsted and Ecotricity – choose to focus on providing renewable energy. Others are smaller companies with smaller overheads and can therefore provide cheaper rates.
How to find the best supplier
There are plenty of price comparison websites that will list the cheapest tariffs for your business address. However, the cost of your energy may not be the only factor you want to consider. Here are some elements of your energy supplier worth investigating.
- Fixed-price tariffs. Does the supplier offer fixed-rate tariffs? If so, how long will the rates be fixed for? Longer fixed-rate periods do tend to cost more, but you have more time without worrying about the price rising.
- Specialist rates. Rather than offer a one-size-fits-all package, some suppliers will offer a unique tariff based on the size and needs of your business. These unique tariffs can often be the most cost-effective, so keep a look out for suppliers who offer them.
- Customer service. Gas and electricity problems could harm the productivity of your business, so may want a supplier with a reputation for fixing problems quickly. Consider searching the web for reviews of the supplier’s customer service.
- Smart meter compatibility. A smart meter allows energy companies to automatically make accurate readings of energy usage, saving you time and money.
- Renewable energy. Business owners who care about their carbon footprint may prefer to use energy-efficient suppliers.
Who is the cheapest energy supplier?
The cost of your business energy is dependent on your location and your choice of tariff. To give you an idea of how much you should pay, here are some recently-published industry averages.
Average business electricity prices
|Business size||Unit cost||Standing charge|
|Micro-business||12.5p per kWh||27p per day|
|Small business||11p per kWh||25p per day|
|Medium business||10.5p per kWh||22p per day|
Average business gas prices
|Business size||Unit cost||Standing charge|
|Micro-business||4.1p – 4.5p per kWh||23p – 26p per day|
|Small business||3.8p – 4.0p per kWh||21p – 22p per day|
|Medium business||3.5p – 3.7 per kWh||18p – 20p per day|
What about energy for small business?
Many energy providers have specialist tariffs for small business or ‘micro-businesses’.
What’s more, Ofgem has taken steps to protect micro-businesses from overpaying for energy. Companies supply energy to micro-businesses must allow them to give notice during any point of their contract. They must also print the contract end date on every bill to sent to micro-businesses.
To be a micro-business, you must:
- Use less than 100,000 kWh of electricity, or 293,000 kWh of gas per year.
- Have less than 10 employees.
- Have an annual turnover of less than €2million.
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