Business Electricity Comparison

The expert guide: ensure your business has the
best electricity provider to fulfil your needs

utiligy business electricity guide web

How to save money with a business electricity comparison

Electricity can be one of the most expensive financial outlays for your business, whether you have extensive office space or you’re a small start-up. But it’s also one of the most important expenses as your business relies on its electricity supply for everything from lighting up the workplace to operating equipment.

Making sure you’re on the most cost-effective tariff for your company from a provider that’s giving you a great service is important. And what’s the best way to ensure your business electricity deal is as beneficial as it can be? With a business electricity comparison – from experts.

Why choose Expert Comparison for your business electric comparison?

Our business electricity comparison services make finding the perfect deal for your company easy.You don’t need to research all the facts and figures to discover which electricity provider is best for your business. We do it all for you. Our comprehensive comparisons and guides include finding the latest updates and the best electricity deals for you. We answer the questions you want the answers to most.

Easily find the answers to the questions that matter, and much, much, more:

  • Why should I compare business electricity?
  • How much can a business electricity comparison save me?
  • How do I compare business electricity suppliers?
  • Is electricity cheaper for businesses?
  • How much does electricity cost per month for businesses?
  • What electricity tariff options are available for business?
  • Who is the cheapest business energy supplier?
  • Can I cancel my business electricity contract?
  • How can I reduce my business electricity costs?

And our guides and comparisons are straightforward and impartial. We appreciate how hard it is to find genuinely valuable information when you’re busy. That’s why our experts are dedicated to providing you with the best business broadband comparisons so that you can be sure you’ll get a business broadband deal that’s right for your company.

Why should I compare business electricity?

There’s never been a better time to consider switching your business electricity provider.

Most electricity is produced from burning coal and oil, and as these supplies are largely imported from abroad, it’s becoming increasingly harder to obtain them. This is forcing the energy market to consider and use different methods of producing electricity. Also, with ever-advancing technology and the generation of green energy, there are a vast array of different types of electricity options that may be suitable for your business.

How much can a business electricity comparison save me?

Depending on the size of your business, as well as a range of other factors, you could save a huge amount of money by comparing electricity providers and trying to find a better deal. In some cases, businesses have saved thousands from switching.

An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority showed that around 40 per cent of companies haven’t switched in five years, and 39 per cent have never switched. If you haven’t considered switching yet, you could be overpaying a lot.

How do I compare business electricity suppliers?

A business electricity suppliers comparison is important, but with so many providers and tariffs to consider and choose from, finding the best business electricity deal and getting a reliable provider can feel like a daunting task.

Expert Comparison can help.

Our tips and guides answer the key questions you have about business electricity: How much does electricity cost per month for a business? What are the different business electricity tariff options? Who is the cheapest business energy supplier?

And we give in-depth, expert advice on how you should go about comparing business electricity and switching providers. We’re dedicated to providing you with relevant and helpful information that makes a difference and guides you through your business electricity comparison.

Most of all, we appreciate how busy you are. If you haven’t yet considered switching, it’s probably because you’ve struggled to find the time. That’s why we make our guides and comparisons clear and straightforward.

Is electricity cheaper for businesses?

The electricity you use in your home is no different from the electricity that powers your business. It comes from the same place and even travels through the same cables. But energy companies treat the supply of electricity differently if you’re a business.

One of the main differences is, unlike with household electricity, tariffs are usually bespoke for business electricity – in terms of contract, pricing and a few other features.

Business electricity tariffs are bespoke because no two businesses – regardless of similarities – will have identical needs. So business electricity providers usually only offer quotes based on an assessment of your business and its current and previous electricity consumption.

The term of contract

As a business, you can select a supplier for their electricity for a set and agreed time period. The period can vary quite a lot but is usually up to four years. For this period, you’re charged a set price.

A business electricity contract is different in terms of cancellation terms as well. Unlike domestic electricity contracts, business customers usually don’t have the option to cancel – you are obliged to stay with your provider for the duration of the contract.

Making sure you carry out a business electricity comparison that’s reliable and current is also important because, unlike domestic electricity users, as a business you don’t get a cooling off period. So when you sign up to a new provider. it’s crucial that you’re sure the new contract is right for you before you agree to it.

Domestic v business electricity pricing

As well as some of the main contract terms, the pricing method of business and domestic electricity contracts also varies. Most electricity providers buy for all their domestic customers in advance – often several months in advance. Domestic electricity prices are less variable than business, changing only once or twice a year.

Business electricity suppliers tend to buy electricity only once a contract is agreed. So if you sign up to a four-year contract with a new electricity provider, they’ll then purchase enough electricity for the full three-year period. With business electricity, you may find that the price you’ve found one day is cheaper – or more expensive – as soon as the next day. It’s a much more variable market but more choice can result in finding a better deal.

Domestic v business electricity VAT

The price you pay for business electricity is also affected by VAT, which unfortunately, is a lot higher than domestic users have to pay. Domestic customers pay five per cent, while businesses pay 20 per cent.

Benefits of business electricity contracts

  • Prices are fixed – easier for budgeting
  • Deals are often better and negotiation possible
  • Costs usually lower as a business typically uses more than a household

What if I work from home?

If your business operates out of your home, you can get a business tariff but a substantial amount of your electricity use will need to be for your business (generally at least 50 per cent).

If you’re not using 50 per cent or more, then it’s probably best to compare domestic electricity providers. The benefit of this is, you can usually put part of your electricity usage down as a business expense.

How much does electricity cost per month for a business?

The cost of business electricity per month for your business will depend on the size of your premises, the number of people working there, as well as a few other factors.

Before assessing your own business model, it’s best to make sure you have a good understanding of how you’ll be charged and exactly what you’ll be charged for.

A breakdown of business electricity costs

There are various elements that make up the cost of electricity production and distribution. For instance, third-party costs contribute to part of the electricity you’ll be charged for, and these costs are increasing.

Third-party costs

Year% of bill 3rd party costs
201033%
201545%

Third party electricity cost breakdown

Transmission costs, the renewable obligation (RO) and the feed in tariff (FIT) are part of your 3rd party electricity costs  – and they’ve also all increased since 2010.

Third Party Cost Increase Breakdown Since 2010

Transmission type% Of bill 3rd party costs
Renewable obligation (RO)75%
Feed in tariff (FIT)225%
Feed in tariff (FIT)1300%

 

Portion of your electricity bill that is purely electricity

Figures from 2017 show that only 44 per cent of your bill is purely electricity – compared to 77 per cent in 2009.

Cost type% of bill 
Electricity44%
System charges28%
Government schemes28%

Though these additional elements are steadily rising, there’s no less reason for you to be able to make substantial savings with a business electricity price comparison. In fact, with additional and rising third-party charges, there’s more reason than ever to consult the experts. The electricity market is complex, and often overwhelming, so consulting industry experts is the pathway to lower costs.

Although there are many costs that make up your electricity bill, the above elements of electricity production and distribution are – to a degree – set in stone. When comparing electricity providers, they are essentially not going to factor in your comparison. There are costs that are variable though, and when you’re comparing business electricity tariffs, there are two you should pay particular attention to:

Unit cost (measured in kWh) – This is the price you pay for each unit of electricity your business uses.

Standing charge – The daily charge for maintenance of the national grid, as well as the cost of transporting electricity directly to your business.

These are the two main business electricity bill charges. They make the biggest difference to the price your business will pay for electricity use.

But how can you work out how much your business should be paying in standing charges and unit costs if electricity providers quote bespoke prices for each individual business?

Without a live business electricity comparison, clarifying how much you should pay is not an exact science, but keep the average figures below in mind as they’ll give you an estimate of how much you can expect providers to quote when you do compare business electricity:

It’s worth remembering that there are also many other contributing factors that can impact how much you pay for your business electricity. These include your consumption habits and your business location.

Regional variations in business electricity costs

Electricity prices can change from region to region, so some UK business electricity suppliers will charge different rates according to what part of the country your business is based. Factors that determine this include:

  • The number of suppliers that sell electricity in that region
  • The number of suppliers that buy from the generators in that region
  • The charges local distribution networks add onto your electricity supply

 

Essentially, the more it costs your provider to supply you with electricity, the more they’ll charge you for it.

British Gas’ varying electricity prices across the country. (Based on large businesses requiring low-voltage electricity – on half hourly standby/deemed rates.)

Prices vary from 17.38p/kWh in Merseyside and North Wales to 24.77p/kWh in the East Midlands – a huge difference of 42.5 per cent.

Although large businesses would not usually pay this much as they generally buy as close to the wholesale electricity price as possible, this example exemplifies the importance of comparing business electricity providers.

If an electricity supplier is offering the cheapest price in one region, it doesn’t mean it will be the same across all regions.

What electricity tariff options are available for business?

Electricity suppliers offer fixed rate and flexible tariffs. Fixed rate is usually preferred by businesses as it gives you protection from fluctuating prices.

Typically tariff contract lengths are for one, two or three years, but it can vary by provider. Generally, you’ll find longer fixed terms to be more expensive, but opting for one will protect your business against future electricity price rises for the duration of the contract.

Benefits of fixed rate business energy:

  • Normally cheaper than variable rate plans
  • Dependant on the supplier, prices could be fixed for up to five years
  • You’ll be protected from price increases during this time
 

What is a deemed contract?

If your business moves into new premises, you’ll be on what’s called a deemed contract. This type of contract is for when there’s no mutual agreement but the provider continues to supply power. A deemed contract can also occur if you reach the end of a contract before negotiating a new deal.

According to Ofgem, deemed contract costs are 80 per cent higher on average than negotiated contract rates. If you’re currently on a deemed contract, we strongly advise you compare business electricity providers as soon as possible to get a negotiated contract that will no doubt be a lot cheaper for your business.

You can switch from a deemed contract, even if you’re in debt.A deemed contract usually occurs when you end a fixed term contract with an energy supplier before negotiating a new deal. Deemed contracts are very expensive. The price of electricity changes at the end of the fixed term and reverts to an out of contract tariff. This can be as much as 80% more than a fixed term contract price for electricity.

Who is the cheapest business energy supplier?

To find the cheapest energy and electricity supplier for your business, it’s handy to know a few factors that define your typical business electricity usage. Some of them you’ll probably already know immediately, others you may have to refer to current and previous bills or tariffs your business has used. Having this information ready when you start a business electricity comparison will mean you’re given a more accurate – and possibly cheaper – quote.

Your business electricity quote – what you need to know

  • How much electricity you’re currently using per year
  • What time(s) of day you use the most electricity
  • Your MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number)
  • Your business profile and metering type
  • When you’re contract is up for renewal
 

Once you have all the above information, or at least, as much of it as you can determine, you can start comparing business electricity providers.

Below, you can compare the current electricity tariffs and rates from the big six energy suppliers and a variety of other leading UK energy companies.

These are based on variable-rate deemed contracts. It’s likely you’ll pay a lot less simply by entering into a formal contract.

(If tariffs differed across regions, the London price was used. Prices were accurate at time of publication, are subject to change, and based on non-half hourly contracts, (profile classes 01-04) at deemed rates where available.) 

Average UK electricity prices

As well as typical electricity provider rates, knowing the average bills for UK businesses will also help you decide how much you should be paying and if the tariff costs you’re being offered are competitive. Current averages across all sectors are:

  • The average electricity bill for UK businesses is £3,061 per year
  • The average unit price is 14.36p per kWh
  • The average daily standing charge is 28p per day
  • Most businesses use between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh per year

 

It used to be the case that, if you wanted to switch supplier at the end of your electricity contract, your current company would probably insist on a termination notice, which would need to be served before a cut-off date during the contract (sometimes up to 90 days before the end of contract). If you didn’t meet these terms, the electricity provider would usually roll you onto another 12 months, and at a higher price.

This information may not have always been made clear, but it would usually be found conveniently in the small print of the contract you signed.

Terminating an electricity contract in time

Today, terminating electricity contracts is a lot easier, in no small part to Ofgem encouraging business electricity suppliers to make it easier – and clearer – for a business to switch providers.

Now, rather than rolling you onto a new contract, business electricity suppliers will usually put your business on a variable rate contract. It will be at a higher rate, but you can typically leave with 30 days’ notice.

Unless you’re happy paying more, it’s still a good idea to know how to terminate an electricity contract in good time to ensure a smooth change of supplier, especially as some electricity suppliers will still roll you on to another contract if they don’t hear from you within 30 days from the end of your contract.

When you do switch, your new electricity provider should take care of pretty much everything. You’ll probably just need to give them a few details to process your switch and new supply.

Can I cancel while in contract?

Before accepting a contract, you should make sure you’re happy with the deal and take the time to read the full terms and conditions before committing, as once you’ve signed, there’s usually no cooling-off period.

If you can cancel or switch business electricity suppliers mid-contract, there’ll likely be a penalty, unless your business moves or goes under. Alternatively, if you feel like you’ve been mis-sold a contract, there are steps you can take.

A business electricity price comparison is the best and most assured way of finding the cheapest electricity tariff for your business. But remember, the cheapest business electricity supplier isn’t necessarily the best electricity supplier for your business. Some suppliers offer a lot more than a low price.

That’s why Expert Comparison provides comprehensive business guides – so that you can weigh up all the options and factors before making a decision – one that you could be tied into for quite some time.

Reducing business electricity costs

Ultimately, regardless of what supplier you business electricity comparison promotes as the best fit for your company, the more electricity you use, the more expensive your bills will be.

As well as comparing business electricity providers, a key step in lower your costs should be to reduce the amount of electricity your business uses.

  • Switch off lights if not in use or install motion sensor lights
  • Upgrade to more energy efficient equipment
  • Improve insulation
  • Maximise the amount of natural light
  • Switch off computers rather than putting them in sleep mode
  • Use CFL & LED bulbs
 

Remember, any upfront costs you incur can probably be recouped over time from the savings you make.

Business electricity: regulations and guidelines

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 contain guidelines you must adhere to in order to pass legal requirements. It covers a range of areas, including acceptable standards of equipment, means of protection from excess current, and procedures to safely shut of electricity if businesses should need to.

The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations, 2002 stipulate how you should safeguard employees and the general public from dangers associated with your electricity. The document covers precautions against supply failure, heights of overhead cabling, regulations about the safety of wiring, and lots of other useful information.