Navigating energy choices: how to find the best provider for your business needs.

As the landscape of energy costs continually evolves, pursuing financial prudence has led many small businesses to explore switching energy suppliers.

The prospect of potential savings has spurred enterprises to contemplate this endeavour, although it requires careful consideration and procedural diligence. For small businesses at the crossroads of contemplating such a transition, the following guidance, particularly relevant to England, aims to demystify the process and offer insights into making an informed decision that aligns with their company's goals.

Home-based businesses and the domestic energy realm

For businesses that operate from a home setting, it is essential to recognise that they are likely categorised as domestic energy customers rather than business customers. Consequently, switching mechanisms may differ, and it is crucial to understand the appropriate path to take. To clarify how to switch if operating from a home-based location, businesses should consult the guidelines provided for domestic customers.

Unlocking financial benefits through strategic switching

While switching energy suppliers holds the promise of potential financial gains, it is imperative to acknowledge that it may entail some time and effort to orchestrate and determine business electricity costs. If a business qualifies as a microbusiness, certain additional safeguards may come into play when switching. Before embarking on this journey, businesses should ascertain whether they fall under the microbusiness category to avail of potential protections.

Crucial details for a successful switch

Before initiating the switch, businesses should acquaint themselves with essential details about their existing contract, such as:

  • The terms and conditions of the current contract, including the end date.
  • Standing charges and energy costs per unit, typically measured in kilowatt-hours and found on the bill.
  • Annual energy usage, providing a comprehensive overview of energy consumption.
  • If a business is currently under a fixed-term contract, the supplier should inform them about options roughly three months before the contract expires. If the supplier fails to do so, businesses possess the right to file a complaint.

Moreover, businesses should take the initiative to evaluate different suppliers' prices, including the current supplier, to gauge the landscape and make an informed choice.

The transition amid supplier bankruptcy

In the unfortunate scenario of an energy supplier going bankrupt, businesses should exercise caution when considering switching. It is advisable not to switch tariffs or suppliers until the account has been successfully transferred to the new supplier. Premature switching could potentially complicate the retrieval of owed funds. Refer to established advice if an energy supplier faces insolvency.

Evaluating switching eligibility

Eligibility to switch to a new business energy supplier hinges on several factors:

  • Contract status: Businesses should ascertain whether a contract binds them and when it is set to conclude.
  • Deemed tariffs: If a business operates under a 'deemed' tariff, typically applicable when acquiring new premises, switching is often advantageous due to the higher costs associated with these tariffs.
  • End of fixed-term contract: When the fixed term of a contract concludes, businesses might be entitled to a roll-over period to negotiate a new contract. Checking the contract for specifics and contacting the supplier if needed is recommended.

Exploring better options for businesses

When businesses are not bound by a contract or their fixed-term contract has ended, they stand to benefit from exploring alternative suppliers. Deemed and out-of-contract tariffs often result in inflated costs, making a switch appealing. If a supplier denies the right to switch, businesses should contact the consumer helpline to seek a resolution.

Negotiating for a better deal

Even if businesses encounter barriers to switching, proactive engagement with the current supplier can yield positive outcomes. Engaging in conversations about more cost-effective tariffs and evaluating the feasibility of their offers is recommended. Businesses should consider the duration and potential price fluctuations associated with new contracts.

Selecting a new supplier

The process of selecting a new supplier entails careful consideration:

  • Contacting suppliers directly: Establishing contact with business energy suppliers renowned for their excellent customer service is advised. Compiling a list of suppliers for quotation requests and contacting them via phone is recommended.
  • Energy price comparison websites: Utilising authorised price comparison websites to facilitate the search for the most suitable contract is advisable. Providing relevant information about the business for accurate pricing insights is essential.
  • Engaging energy brokers: When engaging brokers to negotiate energy contracts, businesses should be vigilant about their fees and the terms of their services. Confirming their registration with the Energy Brokers Dispute Resolution Scheme is recommended.

Executing the switch with precision

Once a new supplier is chosen and terms are negotiated, initiating the switch by notifying the current supplier at the earliest opportunity is crucial. It is essential to take precise meter readings on the day of transition and share them with both companies to ensure accurate billing. The switch to the new supplier should be completed within five working days. In exceptional cases, businesses can request a specific switch date, especially if aligned with the conclusion of a fixed-term contract.

Empowering businesses with a complaint framework

In the event of energy supply or billing challenges, businesses should initiate timely communication with the supplier. Documenting the conversation's date, time, and details for future reference is recommended. If concerns remain unresolved, escalating the matter by submitting a formal complaint is advisable.

Avenues for escalation: the energy ombudsman

If dissatisfaction persists despite efforts to address concerns with the supplier in the case of unsuitable energy contracts, involving the energy ombudsman is a viable step. This can be taken if a deadlock letter is received within 12 months, or no decision letter is received within eight weeks of filing a complaint.


As small businesses navigate the landscape of energy suppliers, it is essential to remember that making the right choice can considerably impact the bottom line.

With a thorough understanding of the switching process, eligibility criteria, and negotiation strategies, businesses can transition to a new energy supplier that aligns with their budget and operational requirements.

Businesses can steer towards a future characterised by enhanced financial prudence and operational efficiency when they make it part of their resolve to stay updated on the energy news and events often spoken about by regularly visiting