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Business Energy FAQs

Your Questions About Commercial Energy Answered…

When it comes to your business energy renewal date, it’s hard to know where to start when thinking about choosing a contract or supplier. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you navigate the confusion.

Can Exchange Utility help my business find a new energy supplier?

The expert team of business energy brokers here at Exchange Utility have been helping businesses just like yours to find new energy suppliers. We’ve been helping businesses to save money on their energy costs for many years and we’re confident that we can help your business too!

No matter whether you’re running a micro business, a small or medium-sized business or a large corporate business operating from a single site or multiple sites. Our team has the expertise to help your business find the best deals.

Our team of business energy brokers are based right here in the UK, working from our offices located in Bury, Greater Manchester. Every member of our team is highly skilled and trained in every aspect of the business energy market to ensure they know how to find the best deals for our customers.

What types of energy contracts can Exchange Utility secure for my business?

We can provide your business with a range of contract options from a selection of UK business energy providers. No matter which contract type you’re looking for, our team of experts will ensure that the deal is right for your business by giving you the best possible advice to make an informed decision.

The business energy contract options include:

✔ Fixed price business energy tariffs
✔ Variable business energy tariffs
✔ Flexible business energy tariffs
✔ Green business energy tariffs

Which suppliers can you compare through Exchange Utility?

When comparing your business energy through Exchange Utility, you are optimising our close-knit supplier relationships to find the right deal for your business.

The UK energy providers that we compare are as follows:

What is a Letter of Authority?

Let us set the scene: We have negotiated some fantastic new rates for your business, you have chosen your new tariff and we have gone through the verbal contract with you. The next step in your business energy switchover is to complete the Letter of Authority (LOA). A very quick form to fill in but very important as this enables us to act on your behalf so that we can liaise with the suppliers and handle the switch for you.

If you are switching suppliers, we will also use the Letter of Authority (LOA) to terminate your current agreement. You can download a Letter of Authority here.

Why does my business need a business energy contract?

For those business that operate from fixed premises, business energy in one form or another will be crucially important. No matter whether your business uses electricity, gas or both from a business premises. Energy suppliers will want to ensure they are being paid for the energy they supply.

To begin the supply of energy, whether that be gas, electricity or both forms of energy. A business energy supplier will insist on businesses entering into contracts before commencing the supply. This allows them to better manage their supplies, as well as giving your business peace of mind about your energy supply for the term of the contract.

However, should you allow the contract term to expire, you will not have to worry about your supply being cut off (assuming you have kept up payments for the energy you use). But you will be moved to the supplier’s standard variable tariff which will cost vastly more than your in-contract rate.

How can comparing business energy suppliers help my business?

According to the Competition Markets Authority, it’s estimated that 1.2 million UK businesses are overpaying their business energy supplier, resulting in suppliers accumulating excess profits of approximately £500,000,000.

The reason for this is that a lot of businesses allow their contracts to roll onto standard or higher tariffs, which can be ridiculously expensive!

Through a comparison with Exchange Utility, you could save 47% on your annual energy bill spend and we will make sure you NEVER roll onto a more expensive tariff again – saving your business time and money.

How do I switch business energy suppliers?

Please ensure you have a copy of your most recent business gas and electricity bills, and then get in touch with the team at Exchange Utility so we can provide you with an independent comparison based on your usage.

You can either complete an online business energy enquiry form or call our expert business energy brokers today on 0800 9777 000 to get started.

Will my current business energy supplier be the cheapest when renewing my contract?

Not necessarily, once we negotiate some off-market prices, we will get back in touch with you to share the findings. The choice is then yours! You can switch or stay with your current supplier.

How often do business energy prices change?

The energy market is constantly changing, therefore so are its prices. This is due to a variety of factors which we explain in more detail in our article – Which factors affect business electricity prices.

Who are the Big Six energy firms?

The “Big Six” is a term widely used to describe the biggest UK energy companies. These were formed after the

Over the years, this historically incorporated the following companies;

✔ British Gas
✔ EDF Energy
✔ E.ON Next
✔ Npower
✔ Scottish Power
✔ SSE (Scottish Southern Energy)

In 2008, the Big Six energy companies suppliers were responsible for supplying over 99% of domestic and small business customers with gas and electricity. However, due to efforts by the regulator Ofgem to promote more competition within the energy market. By the third quarter of 2019, their combined share had shrunk to 70% for electricity and 69% for gas.

By the beginning of 2020, the end of the defacto “Big Six” had come to a close with the purchase of SSE by OVO Energy, elevating it to become one of the new Big Six along with Octopus Energy which had increased customer share through acquisitions of other energy companies including Bulb Energy in December 2022.

As of 2023, the Big Six energy suppliers in the UK are made up of;

✔ British Gas
✔ E.ON Next
✔ Octopus Energy
✔ OVO Energy
✔ EDF Energy
✔ Scottish Power

Further information about the big six energy companies.

It should be noted that the Big Six includes the domestic market, but many smaller suppliers are supplying both domestic and business customers, as well as supplying business customers only. These smaller, specialist suppliers shouldn’t be ignored, with many providing business energy quotes through our brokerage services here at Exchange Utility.

What is a ‘fixed’ business energy tariff?

Fixed business energy tariffs are the friendly option for those who are looking for a bit more financial security, as unit prices remain the same throughout the agreed duration of your contract.

This style of business energy tariff makes budgeting and financial forecasting easier which is ideal for SMEs or those with less financial autonomy.

The disadvantage of this type of contract is that if the wholesale energy market gets cheaper, you will not see the benefits until you are next choosing a new contract.

In addition, these contracts, although safer, tend to be more expensive as some suppliers may charge you a little more per kilowatt-hour as a contingency measure for drastic market changes.

What is a ‘variable’ business energy tariff?

Variable business energy tariffs are different to fixed tariffs in that the unit price you pay fluctuates as the wholesale energy market does.

A big benefit of this is that when energy prices are lower, you could end up paying considerably less than those who chose fixed tariffs.

The disadvantage is that if prices decide to go the opposite way, you could get stung with higher bills than expected.

Keeping an eye on the factors that affect business electricity prices could help you make an informed decision on whether this style of tariff is what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking into a variable business energy tariff, make sure that you choose your supplier carefully as some update their variable tariff unit rates faster than others. A delay in updating unit pricing means that, for short bursts of time, your energy will cost you more than it should. We can talk you through this when you call us.

What is a ‘flex’ business energy tariff?

Flexible (or flex) tariffs are often only offered to large businesses or those who have several premises in the UK. This style of business energy tariff is a little more complex as it consists of purchasing your energy directly from the wholesale market in smaller pieces throughout your contract.

Decent suppliers will always offer you some sort of guidance on when to make a wholesale purchase if you choose this type of business energy tariff so you won’t have to go it alone. This could include a dedicated account manager, online energy market analytics, online purchasing portals and/ or a guidebook.

Each supplier offers different perks and ways for you to stay informed when it comes to flexible business energy tariffs. So it’s worth considering how much time you want to dedicate to your business energy management before making a decision.

The disadvantage of this sort of business energy tariff is that, just like variable tariffs, the price that you pay for your energy can change with the market, meaning that you could end up paying higher prices.

However, part of the point of using a flexible tariff is that you purchase the energy that you use at the time when the market is at its best so if you are receiving well-founded guidance, this should not be an issue – unless there’s a crisis in the market in which case the knock-on effect would be unavoidable.

With only large businesses able to take advantage of the ‘flex’ why not take a look at the large business energy guide to see what else large businesses are entitled to?

What is a ‘feed-in’ business energy tariff?

Feed-in tariffs are an agreement between your business and energy supplier where they pay you a fixed price for the excess electricity that you generate from your power source. To be applicable to use one of these tariffs, your business needs to be equipped with energy generation equipment e.g. solar panels and turbines.

Feed-in tariffs also guarantee long-term contracts and stable prices for those who install renewable technology.

The disadvantage of this type of tariff is the initial expense that you will need to invest if you do not already have energy generation equipment. Depending on what you are looking for, this can cost thousands!

There are, however, still Government schemes available that can help you find the finance to buy your renewable technology. Speak to our corporate energy management team on 0161 696 0198 or email corporate@exchangeutility.co.uk to find out more.

What is a ‘green’ business energy tariff?

Using a green business energy supplier whose fuel mix consists mostly of renewables gives your business the right to take pride in that you are advancing toward becoming sustainable – which customers love!

There is also the added benefit of the feel-good factor for yourself and security in that it is likely that green business energy suppliers will soon become much cheaper than suppliers who use mostly non-renewable fuel sources as demand for those resources will soon far outweigh supply.

The disadvantage of using this type of supplier is that their prices are, at the moment, likely to be higher than those using fossil fuels. This is because it is difficult to generate quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil-fuel generators. As a result, renewable fuel suppliers need to build more generation facilities, which is expensive. The cost of which then gets filtered down to the consumer.

What is a meter reference number MPAN/MPRN?

MPAN – Meter point administration numbers (electricity)

If your business is connected to the mains electricity supply, you will be required to use an electricity meter to determine how much electricity your business uses. Your meter will be assigned a unique reference number known as an MPAN number. You can find out more about them in our guide to MPAN numbers.

MPRN – Meter point reference number (gas)

If your business is connected to the main gas supply, you will be required to use a gas meter to determine how much gas your business uses. Your meter will be assigned a unique reference number known as an MPRN number. You can find out more about them in our guide to MPRN numbers.

Can Exchange Utility help my business if I am moving premises?

We certainly can!

Whether you need new connections or just new business gas and electricity contracts, our team can help you make your move as easy as possible.

Can I save my business money by comparing business energy suppliers?

On average, businesses can save in the region of 47% on their annual energy spend.

According to a report by Inenco in 2017, 30% of SMEs have rolled over onto expensive contracts which means that many are overpaying by as much as 80%.

The reason for this is that a lot of businesses forget to compare at the end of their contract and do not shop around for better rates!

Through a comparison with Exchange Utility, you could save on your annual gas, electric and water spend and we will make sure you NEVER roll onto a more expensive tariff again – Saving your business time and money.

I have received a welcome pack from Exchange Utility can you advise what this is for?

Your welcome pack is like an induction into the Exchange Utility family. All you need to do with this is read the information provided and sign and return the attached Letter of Authority and Termination Notice.

Why have I received an objection letter from my current supplier?

There are a few reasons that your current supplier may object to your new contract. This could be an outstanding payment on your account which you can arrange to pay in instalments. If you’re unsure of what to do, call our expert business energy brokers on 0800 9777 000.

Can you advise if my termination notice has been accepted by my current supplier?

Yes, we inform you when your new contract has been processed and accepted by the supplier.

Can you tell me if my contract has been accepted and when my supply will be transferred over to the chosen supplier?

We advise you when your new contract has been processed, we’ll contact you to confirm your tariff transfer.

Are you able to confirm the rates I have agreed to?

The simple answer is YES! You will receive a welcome call once your contract has been processed to confirm your rates and keep you informed on what happens next.

Do I need to make my current supplier aware I am terminating or do you do that on my behalf?

You will receive a Letter of Authority in your Welcome Pack which you simply need to sign and return to either terminations@exchangeutility.co.uk or Exchange Utility, Athenaeum House, Market St, Bury BL9 0BW. This document allows Exchange Utility to act on your behalf and complete the transition from one supplier to another for you.

What advantage do I have renewing so early (if the 180 days have just opened as an example)

Unfortunately, it’s not often we see energy prices go down. However, you’re able to lock down prices and beat rises by choosing your new business energy and utility contract with Exchange Utility up to six months in advance.

What is the advantage of signing a longer-term contract?

By signing up for a longer-term contract your business will be immune from the inevitable price rises to come. It’s a great way to safeguard your business utility and energy prices for longer.

My accountant handles my business’s energy and utility bills, what do I do?

With your approval, your accountant is welcome to contact us on your behalf, alternatively, you can provide Exchange Utility with your accountants’ details and we will contact them on your behalf and find you the right contract alongside them.

How long will it take to switch my business energy contract?

It all depends on when your current contractual agreement is due to end, although if you are not in a contract with your current supplier, it can take anything from 4-6 weeks to move your tariff from one supplier to another. If you aren’t moving suppliers, it will take a little less to get your new rates up and running.

We will handle all of this for you and will only disturb you if there are any problems with your transfer! Your old contract will move seamlessly into the new one so no need to worry about being cut off during the switchover period! We will let you know by email/phone when your contract is live.

I’ve received an objection letter from my supplier, why is this?

There are a few reasons that your current commercial energy supplier may object to your new business energy contract. This could be an outstanding payment on your account which you can arrange to pay in instalments. If you’re unsure of what to do, our business energy team should be able to take a look into this for you.

What is a rollover contract?

When your energy contract comes to its end date and you don’t actively renew it, your supplier will automatically renew on your behalf. This means you’ve rolled over. When this happens, the price you paid before the renewal will often increase without notification. You will often pay much higher rates on a tariff that has rolled over.

How do I stop a rollover contract from happening?

Find a better tariff while you are in your renewal window so that you can jump to better prices rather than seeing your rates increase. However, if you are a customer of Exchange Utility, we will do this on your behalf so that you don’t have to worry about rolling over.

What is the advantage of signing a longer-term energy contract?

By signing up for a longer-term contract your business will be immune from the inevitable price rises to come. It’s a great way to safeguard your business utility and energy prices for longer.

How does Exchange Utility make money?

In regards to our fees, once your contract has gone live, we will receive a commission payment from the supplier. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact our customer service team who will talk through your business’s contract arrangement.

How can I get in touch with your customer service team?

You can contact us to discuss your issue via telephone, e-mail or in writing. We are committed to resolving the issue to your satisfaction within 24 hours of receipt.

Our contact details are:

Telephone: 0161 674 9936

Email: care@exchangeutility.co.uk

Post: Exchange Utility Ltd, Athenaeum House, Market Street, Bury. BL9 0BW

Or see our Complaint Procedure

A commercial energy comparison could save your business a lot of money. Don’t delay, call our expert business energy brokers today on 0800 9777 000 and get started making savings on your business energy.