1. Is your price per Kwh close to what your neighbours pay ?
The price you pay is affected by how much profit the supplier or broker included in your price and how high the wholesale prices were at the time when you signed your last gas or electricity contract. If you last bought energy a few years ago then you may be shocked how much prices will have changed.
You need a benchmark for comparison.
The easiest way to find out if your paying more or less than average is to use our calculators today and look at the spread of prices you see on screen. Remember if you are in a contract about to expire please compare the prices with your RENEWAL offer, NOT with what you pay now- this is the only way to "compare apples with apples".
You can check today what you pay against the market average even if you're unable or not planning on switching in the near future. If you're able to switch in the next 180 days you can order a price today that will only start when your current contract runs out.
Does your electricity tariff match your business hours?
Most premises are put on a "one size fits all" tariff by their supplier unless they specify otherwise. Typically that means you get charged a standing charge per day and a single rate per kwh ( also known as a kilowatt hour or "unit" ) regardless of when you use that power.
If you're a business that operates outside the typical "9 to 5" hours, for example restaurants, pubs, takeaways or nursing homes operating evening, weekend or night hours or if you have a lot of refrigeration running 24 hours you should look at getting your Supply Number and Tariff changed so you pay less per kwh unit for the off peak times that you operate. The most common tariffs to use are "Day & Night or "Evening/Weekend/Night" variations.
For your house, if you use a lot of power at night for heating or can move the clothes washing and drying tasks to the night time ask your supplier to change you to a day/night tariff instead.
If you're on a single rate business tariff and use over 50,000 kwh's a year ask your supplier about changing to a "Maximum Demand" tariff, it will give you a lower cost per kwh and will save you money.
Does your electricity Capacity/Availability Charge match the monthly peak you need?
If you have an electricity Supply number that starts 05,06,07, 08 or 00 ( see your bill ) you may be paying a fixed monthly charge for "Capacity" or "Availability" ( they both mean the same thing ) usually at a few pounds per KW per month.
Usually shown in "KW" or "KVA" the monthly figure should be just above the maximum peak you hit in the busiest month of the year on your bills otherwise your paying too much for "reserve power" that you never actually need, even at peak times.
For example if the maximum power peak you hit in January is say 54 KVA and your fixed monthly Capacity Charge is 100 KVA you're paying for extra capacity you dont use ( you don't really need to understand the jargon, just the principle)!
On your bill you only really need about 10% safety margin so 60KVA per month would be fine. That would be a reduction of 40 KVA per month times whatever they charge you per KVA which would reduce your costs significantly. Just call your supplier and ask them to reduce your capacity to 10% above your maximum peak in the busiest month and you'll save money!
Are your gas or electricity meters too big for your needs?
Have you inherited a large premises that's bigger than you need or maybe you've downsized your equipment and staff?
If so, take a look at the standing charges on your bill. Do they seem high compared to the quotes on our website or do you pay more in standing or fixed charges than you do for the actual kwh units you use?
If so you probably need to downsize your meter to match your business needs, thereby reducing the fixed charges every month. Ask your supplier to change it and save some money !
Secondly if you have more than one gas or electricity meters on the premises look at replacing them with one bigger meter and cut out duplicate standing charges. Again ask your supplier for advice.
Can your smart meter be read by ANY supplier in the future?
Installing a smart meter is great in theory and will help you monitor and manage costs as well as avoid estimated billing nightmares but ....beware the supplier who offers to install a smart meter for you free of charge.
There is no "national standard" as yet for smart meters. Some "smart meters" may mean you cannot switch from your current provider to another supplier in the future! At best some suppliers may be able to treat your smart meter as a "dumb meter" and they will have to ask you for readings. At worst some suppliers will decline your business even if they are the cheapest deal for you...they will refuse to switch you if they cannot read that type of meter.
So be very cautious if your current supplier offers to install a smart meter as it may stop you switching in the future and thereby cut your ability to shop around and save cash!
Seek confirmation from any supplier in writing that the smart meter you are about to have installed can be read by any other supplier in the market first!
Do you know your business credit score ?
In the last couple of years due to the economic recession your business credit score has become more important in determining what suppliers will charge you. The higher your credit score, the lower the prices and the more supplier choices you'll have.
If you score above 46 out of 100 you should find you get the best prices and the widest range of suppliers keen for your business.
Fall below that and prices start to rise and supplier choices decrease.
If you don't know what your business credit score is you can check it on this website ( see the link at the bottom of this page ).
It pays to try and maintain, or even improve, your credit score when it comes to shopping for energy these days!
Do you know when your existing contract is due for renewal?
If not contact your supplier today and find out over the phone. Even though you may think your contract has expired more often than not you may have been unwittingly "rolled over" for another year or more or been placed on much higher "deemed rates".
To avoid paying higher charges you normally need to give termination notice to your current business energy supplier before the minimum notice period prior to your contract renewal date (that could be more than 120 days prior to your contract end date ).
In some cases you will have a "window of opportunity" to give notice..for example it may be stated on your contract or renewal offer "not more than 90 days or less than 30 days before your contract renewal date. So if you try to give notice too early you may find its invalid and your supplier will lock you in for another year at extortionate rates regardless.
The easiest way to ensure you don't rollover is to create a quote on our website today..our software will send you an automatic email alert in the future so you don't risk forgetting and possibly paying through the nose for another year as a result!
When to buy..
Playing the market can help you pay less for your gas and electricity. You don't have to be an expert in the energy business but consider the following when switching your supply or securing your next contract..
..in the summer as wholesale gas and electric prices are generally lower due to decreased demand in warmer weather.
..just before the end of a month as many suppliers change their prices on the first of the month and prices generally increase. Furthermore many brokers are trying to hit targets set by suppliers so will reduce margins to get your sale.
..when energy prices are in the news. If the subject makes headline news on TV prices are either about to go up or fall across the board, make a move just ahead of the changes.
Also it pays to be aware that shorter term contracts are generally the cheapest and multiple year fixed price deals are more expensive: they have long term market "risk" built into the rates.
If you see a 2 or 3 year deal from any supplier that's marginally above the best 1 year offer, more often than not we'd advise you grab it as a good balance of risk and reward!
How much energy are you using when you're closed?
It may seem obvious but its often overlooked. Take a meter reading when you open, another when you close and a third when you re-open. Repeat this every day over a typical week of working. How much gas and electricity is being consumed when you're closed? If it's relatively high what could be switched off or turned down to cut the waste?
Can you turn your heating down?
For every degree you can turn down your thermostats the saving can be 8% on your heating bill. Even if your main office or house needs to be kept warm can you turn down the heat in ancillary areas or adjust the thermostat timers overnight?
Where possible can you turn equipment off overnight?
For example a single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost £50 a year to your business...the same applies to PC's and TV's left on overnight in your home, have you switched off more than the lights when you leave at night?
Remember the cheapest Kwh is the one you don't use!
Go for the Independent Brands
Traditionally most customers are with the "Big Six" suppliers: British Gas, EDF, Npower, E.ON, SSE & Scottish Power but our last tip is to get prices from the Independent Suppliers in the market. Don't be scared just because you don't recognise their names. These smaller companies often have lower prices and after all, it's the same gas and electricity whoever supplies you. Furthermore should a supplier go bust your supply continues uninterrupted.
We really hope you'll use our FREE website to switch as we can only afford to run our price comparison service when we get paid by a supplier when you switch.
If having seen our prices you go direct to a supplier the price will often be higher; they generally work on higher profits to cover their sales staff and overheads. As an online business we work on tiny margins. Even if the supplier matches our price but you buy direct it means we lose our small commission; we'd really appreciate it if you'd switch via our website.
If you go back to your current supplier and they offer to match our best price please vote with your feet and switch (do you really want to deal with a supplier that didn't give you a fair price in the first place) ?
Remember we also offer you..
- Free storage of your supplies so its quick to compare prices next time.
- Free renewal alerts so you don't get rolled over
- Cash Back on every switch so you can treat yourself as well as saving your home and business money!
So that's the last of our tips for now and I hope they have helped you. We hope you'll stay subscribed to receive special offers as they become available. Thank's again for using our website and best wishes for now. If you need any assistance we don't bite so give us a call on 08448 8448 55 at any time.
With best regards,