When is the best time to switch your business energy supply?

One of the simplest ways to cut the cost of your business energy bills is to switch to a cheaper tariff. But you need to get the timing right. If you don’t switch at the right time, you could end up on a rolling contract with much higher rates. 

Here’s a look at the best time to switch your business energy supply, to ensure you get a better deal.

One of the simplest ways to cut the cost of your business energy bills is to switch to a cheaper tariff. But you need to get the timing right. If you don’t switch at the right time, you could end up on a rolling contract with much higher rates. 

Here’s a look at the best time to switch your business energy supply, to ensure you get a better deal.

Sofia Hutson
Energy expert
6
minute read
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Posted 11 JANUARY 2022

When to switch business energy providers 

With the wholesale energy market currently in crisis , it’s no wonder that many small businesses are looking to switch to a cheaper energy deal. But in most cases, business energy contracts won’t let you switch suppliers, mid-contract, unless you’re prepared to pay a hefty exit fee. 

You can usually switch your business energy provider, without penalty, if: 

  • You’re in the ‘switching window’ and aren’t bound by any terms of your contract. However, some business energy contracts require a notice period, so check your terms or ask your supplier before switching.   
  • You’re on a ‘deemed contract’, also known as an ‘out-of-contract contract’. This is the provider’s default contract, that you’ll be moved on to if your current contract ends and you haven’t agreed a new deal. You’ll also be put on a deemed contract if you move to a new business premises. Deemed rates are typically more expensive, so you should switch to a new contract as soon as you can. 
Did you know?
If you’re on a ‘deemed contract’, you can switch to a better deal whenever you like, without giving notice or paying any penalty fees . However, according to Ofgem, a significant number of microbusinesses stay on their supplier’s deemed contracts, rather than looking around for a cheaper deal. This means they are paying far more for their energy than they need to.

Why should you switch business energy providers? 

Because when it comes to business energy contracts, loyalty doesn’t pay. By not switching, you could end up paying far more than you need to for your business energy. 

But while cutting down on your overheads makes sense, saving money isn’t the only reason you might want to switch business energy providers. For example, you might want to switch to a provider who offers a better customer service, or a green energy supplier who reflects your company’s environmental values.

When should you switch business energy providers? 

Business energy contracts have a specific timeframe when you can compare energy deals and sign up for a new one. This is called the ‘switching window’. This timeframe can vary between providers and the type of contract you’re on. It will be stipulated in your contract terms but is typically between one to six months before your contract is due to end. You can’t sign up to another deal before your switching window opens. 

Your energy provider should let you know when your contract is due to end and when your switching window is open, but not all of them do. Although, some will roll you over to their default rates automatically, once your contract comes to an end. It’s important to keep an eye on your business energy contract yourself – if you don’t renew in time, you could end up on an expensive ‘rolling contract’ instead. 

You’ll still need to honour your current contract until it ends, but the switching window gives you time to look around, compare tariffs and sign up to a new deal. That way, your new contract will start as soon as the old one ends, and you’ll avoid being rolled over onto your old supplier’s default rate.

How often should you switch business energy providers? 

It’s always worth comparing new deals once your contract is due to end. That said, you should only switch if you find a better deal elsewhere. There’s no point in switching every time if it doesn’t save you money or offer better customer satisfaction. 

The good news is that switching business energy providers is a simple and pain-free process. Our expert partners Bionic will help you choose the right energy tariff to meet your needs. Then, if you choose to switch, Bionic will take care of the rest for you.

How early can you switch business energy providers? 

You can sign up for a new deal as soon as your current contract enters the ‘switching window’. However, you won’t be able to switch over to the new deal until your current contract ends. 

The rules are slightly different for microbusinesses. New Ofgem rules now state that microbusinesses only need to give 30 days’ notice if they want to switch to another supplier. 

Ofgem defines a microbusiness as one of the following: 

  • Has fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover no greater than €2 million  (approx. £1.7 million).
  • Uses up to 100,000 kWh of electricity per year.
  • Uses up to 293,000 kWh of gas per year. 

Once confirmed, the switching process should take between 17 and 21 days to complete.

How do timings impact switching your business energy provider? 

When it comes to your switching window, timing is vital. Don’t leave it until the last minute to start comparing new business energy deals. In fact, you should start comparing as soon as your switching window opens. This gives you the opportunity to lock in a cheaper rate and avoid any further price hikes before moving to your new contract.

Can your business energy provider block your switch? 

Your business energy provider can’t block your switch if you’re at the end of your contract and you’ve given any required notice. They also can’t block your switch if you’re currently on a ‘deemed contract’. 

However, they do have a right to block your switch if: 

  • You still owe them more than £500 for electricity or £500 for gas – you won’t be able to switch until you’ve repaid your debt with your current supplier.
  • If you’re still in a fixed-term contract – you need to wait until your switching window is open to sign up to a new deal. 

If your supplier won’t let you switch, they must explain why. If you’re having difficulties trying to switch, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113 for further advice.

How do I switch business energy provider? 

Our trusted energy partners Bionic can help you switch business energy providers quickly and easily. Simply enter your business postcode, and we’ll use smart digital data to access the information we need to give you a quote. 

Bionic’s experts will search the market to find an energy tariff that suits your needs. When you’re ready to switch, we’ll do all the hard work for you. 

Why pay more for the energy your business uses? Get a quote today and find out how easy it is to switch.

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Frequently asked questions

Once I’ve switched, can I change my mind?

Unlike domestic energy deals, most business energy contracts don’t offer a cooling-off period. So, if you change your mind once the contract is agreed, you’ll be stuck on that tariff until it comes to an end. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully and fully understand them before signing up to a new contract.

What happens if my business energy provider goes bust?

If your energy provider goes bust, Ofgem advises you to ‘take a meter reading, sit tight and don’t switch’. Ofgem will appoint a new supplier for you. 

The Ofgem safety net ensures your supply won’t be disrupted and any credit you have is protected. The switch to your new supplier should only take a few days – and no more than 14.

When your new provider contacts you, ask them what business tariffs they offer. If you’re not happy with their deal, you’re free to switch to another provider - you won’t be charged an exit fee.

When should I switch if I’m moving business premises?

When you move into your new business premises, the existing energy supplier will put you on their default tariff, which is typically more expensive than a fixed-term deal. As it’s a deemed contract, you can switch whenever you want without any penalties.

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