Compare business electricity rates
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How to compare business electricity prices
We can help you compare business electricity rates effectively, so you’ll be able to find great energy deals that suit your and your business. We compare prices across many well-known business energy suppliers.
To compare, you ideally need to know:
- How much you spend on electricity every year
- Your annual energy usage. It can also be useful to know your standing charges and energy costs per unit – which are shown in kilowatt hours (kWh) on your bill
- Whether you’re in or out of contract
- If you’re still in contract, when your contract ends.
But don’t worry, we can help even if you haven’t got this information to hand. With our trusted partner Bionic, we can help you find great energy deals. Bionic’s experts work with leading energy suppliers to find the right deal for you, whether you’re a barbershop or a bakery.
Since energy costs are one of the biggest outgoings for a business, it makes sense to know your options and keep comparing to check the latest business electricity deals. So why not see if you can get a better deal and save money?
This guide answers the key questions you might have about what to consider when doing a business electricity comparison and switching suppliers.
We compare prices across many well known business energy suppliers.
We work with our trusted partner Bionic to help you find great energy deals. Bionic's experts work with leading energy suppliers to find the right deal for you, whether you're a barbershop or a bakery.
What contributes towards the cost of business electricity?
There are two main charges you should be aware of when comparing business electricity:
- Unit rate – this is the price you pay for the amount of electricity your business uses. It’s given in pence per kilowatt hours (kWh) – so, for example, your unit rate could be 10p per kWh.
- Standing charge – this is what your electricity supplier charges you for their service. It covers maintenance of the national grid, the cost of delivering electricity directly to your business and managing your account. This is priced in pence per day.
Don’t just focus on the unit rate when comparing business electricity deals. Although it makes up the bulk of what you’ll pay, the standing charge can also make a big difference to your bill.
You’ll also have to pay the Climate Change Levy (CCL), which will be added to your bill as a separate item, unless your business is exempt. The government introduced the levy to encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and to get the UK to carbon neutral – net zero – by 2030.
The CCL changes every year. You can see the latest rates on GOV.UK. Very small businesses and charities may be exempt from the climate change levy.
What are the different business electricity tariff options?
Business energy suppliers offer both fixed rate and flexible tariffs for electricity. Unlike household energy, you can’t opt for dual fuel gas and electricity tariffs for business use. But you can negotiate price, so it’s worth shopping around to get a cheaper deal for your individual business.
The most common types of business electricity tariffs are:
The amount you pay per each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is fixed and will stay the same throughout your contract. You’ll know exactly what you’re paying for and you’re protected from fluctuating prices.
Historically, fixed rate tariffs have been the cheapest way to pay for electricity. But with energy prices currently so volatile, it’s always worth comparing before you sign up, in case you can find a better deal elsewhere.
The downside is that you won’t benefit from a reduced tariff if wholesale prices fall. Fixed rate tariffs also tend to be on longer contracts, so you could be tied in for a minimum of 12 months or more. This means you won’t be able to switch suppliers until your contract ends.
Flexible tariffs reflect the market, and the price can rise or fall depending on the wholesale price of electricity. So you could make savings when prices are low. But you could also end up paying more than you would’ve done on a fixed rate, if the wholesale price of electricity rises during your contract.
The main types of flexible business energy tariffs are:
A rolling contract automatically renews until you cancel it, usually renewing on a higher rate. You can sometimes negotiate for a more competitive rate by signing up for an extended contract, although it still might not be as low as other deals elsewhere.
If you’ve moved business premises and haven’t yet agreed to a new contract for that property but are using electricity, you’ll be put on a deemed contract by the supplier for that property.
Deemed contracts also exist for business customers who continue to use electricity after their contract comes to an end and there’s no formal agreement in place for what happens next.
Deemed rate tariffs tend be much higher and should only be considered as a short-term solution. The good news is that if you’re on a deemed contract, your supplier can’t prevent you from switching to another supplier for any reason, or at any time. They also can’t insist you give notice before terminating the contract or charge you a termination fee.
Flexible tariffs are usually more expensive than fixed rates, so it’s always best to shop around and compare electricity deals to avoid paying more than you need to.
How much is business electricity per kWh?
There’s no one answer for this. It depends on the supplier, your contract and other factors such as whether you have to pay the green levy or not.
Even giving an example of a truly representative ‘average’ business energy bill is tricky because businesses vary in their electricity needs depending on their size, type and location. This means their energy consumption and pricing can vary greatly, and this is even more true during the current energy pricing crisis.
The table below gives you an idea of how much business electricity currently costs (excluding the Climate Change Levy) based on government statistics for Q3 2022:
(pence per kWh)
Excluding Climate Change Levy
(pence per kWh)
Including Climate Change Levy
|Very small/ microbusinesses||24.65||25.27|
Why should I switch business electricity suppliers?
You can choose to switch your commercial electricity supplier for many reasons, but the primary one is to find a better or cheaper deal. With the current high cost of electricity, finding a more cost-effective option could make a real difference to your business profitability.
Energy rates are always changing. It makes sense to compare business electricity prices and switch to the best business electricity rate you can find when it’s time to renew or if you’re on a deemed contract and cheaper deals become available.
It’s not always about cost though. You might choose to switch business electricity supplier for:
- Better customer support
- A tariff that better suits your needs
- A supplier who provides technology that allows you to monitor and adapt your power usage to reduce your bills
- A renewable energy tariff that supports your sustainability values.
Commercial electricity suppliers are no longer allowed to lock businesses into automatic rollover contracts. This means they can no longer charge exit fees or include no-exit clauses in automatic rollovers. This could make it easier to switch business energy suppliers for some businesses that were previously tied in.
What should I consider when switching business electricity suppliers?
Energy regulator Ofgem suggests that businesses should consider:
- A supplier’s customer service.
- If the offer is the cheapest price, environmentally friendly or flexible to end without a fee.
- The notice period terms if you choose to switch or end a contract.
- Whether you can get cashback or other free incentives as part of your switch offer.
- Whether you’ll have to pay any additional costs, like maintenance charges.
- If the business contract offers a ‘cooling-off’ period if you change your mind after agreeing a contract.
- If you’re using an energy broker, how their fee works with a contract. For example, is it a one-off charge or an addition to your usage costs in a contract?
How can I reduce the cost of my business electricity?
There are many things you can do to reduce the cost of your business electricity, and some won’t even cost you a penny. Here are just a few simple actions that could help cut the cost of your business energy bills. As a bonus, some may reduce your business’s carbon footprint too.
1. Switch off the lights
Lighting is one of the main business energy-consuming culprits and can be responsible for up to 40% of a building’s electricity use. Turn off lights in areas that aren’t in use like corridors and bathrooms, or fit occupancy sensors that’ll automatically do this for you. Switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, which use just a fraction of the power that standard lightbulbs do.
2. Optimise use of office equipment
Turn off your office devices when you’re away from your desk for a while and at the end of the day. Set printers and copiers to power down when not in use.
Consider replacing PCs with laptops – they use a lot less energy. Optimise the brightness on monitors too. When buying new equipment, take the energy ratings into account. Find out more about energy-saving devices for your business.
3. Educate staff
Make sure everyone in the workplace is doing their bit to cut down on energy use. From only boiling the water needed in the kettle infrequentlyand running the dishwasher when it is full to to switching off lights and office equipment, your staff should take steps to help reduce the amount of energy your business is using.
4. Shop around for a better deal
If you’ve been on the same tariff for a while, it may not be the best value for money. Shop around for the best business electricity deals, see what’s out there and move on to one that offers better value for your business.
5. Use smart meters
Monitor your business’s electricity use with smart meters and any other technology that can help you understand and monitor your usage. This will make your bills more accurate. Some tools may also point to ways you can cut back.
6. Commit to going green
Energy-intensive businesses may be able to sign up for a government Climate Change Agreement (CCA). This could help you reduce the amount you pay for electricity by around 90%. You’ll sign a contract that commits you to reducing the amount of energy you use over an agreed timeframe.
7. Compare quotes before your contract finishes
Shop around before your current deal ends so you can switch seamlessly to a new supplier. That way you can be sure you’ve found the right deal for your business.
How to switch your business electricity supply
You can’t change business electricity supplier until your contract is in the ‘switching window’. This is normally between one and six months before the end date. Once you’re in this switching window, you can get a quote using our business energy price comparison. This means you can have your new electricity tariff ready for when your current one ends.
If you’re on a fixed-term contract, your supplier should let you know your options about three-four months before the end of your contract. It makes sense to explore your options with alternative suppliers and your existing provider to see if you can find a better deal for when your contract ends.
You can also switch if you are on a contract you’ve not chosen, for example, if:
- You move into new premises
- Your fixed-term contract ends and you haven’t yet signed up to a new energy deal.
If you’re out of contract and aren’t bound by any terms, you can consider switching. You may need to give your supplier notice that you want to switch, so check the details of your business electricity contract before you do anything.
There are a couple of restrictions for would-be business electricity switchers. Your supplier can decline to switch if you’re either:
- Still under contract
- In debt to them.
Ready to switch?
Our business energy experts can help you switch your electricity supply quickly and easily.
Simply enter a few details about your business and tell us when you’re free to chat. Don’t worry if you don’t have all your information to hand - we can help you. If you’re happy for us to do it, we can get your data from industry-held records based on your business’s post code.
Our UK-based experts from our business energy provider, Bionic, will study the market and will help you find the energy tariff to suit your needs, then give you a brief call to discuss it.
We’ll talk you through your estimated annual and monthly costs based on one to five-year contracts, plus some key information about suppliers, like their eco credentials.
Your new supplier should take care of the switch and Bionic will look after everything for you to help make it seamless.
If you prefer to talk to someone to help you compare business electricity from the start, just call 0800 975 0781. As we know you’re bound to be busy if you’re running a business, you can also phone evenings and weekends. Lines are open:
Mon-Thu – 09:00 - 20:00
Fri – 09:00 - 1730
Sat-Sun – 10:00 - 16:00
Before you sign a new agreement, make sure you understand:
- The contract length
- Required notice periods if you want to switch or end a contract
- The costs for each unit of electricity used per kWh and standing charges – and gas if you are switching that too.
The switch should take around 2-3 weeks, according to energy regulator Ofgem. But don’t worry, there’ll be a continuous supply of energy during the switchover.
You also need to make sure you choose the right new supplier and deal because there’s no 14-day cooling off period if you change your mind.
Why use Comparethemarket?
- No long forms to complete – we just need your postcode. We’ll combine it with smart data to get you a quote based on current usage.
- Expertly negotiated exclusive deals make it easy to find the right option for you, whether you’re an accountancy practice or a factory.
- Get your questions answered, choose the best deal for your business and the rest will be handled for you. Simple.
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What our expert says...
“Most business electricity offers don’t offer a cooling-off period, so it’s doubly important to read the terms and conditions of your contract, before signing up for a new business energy deal. Ask your new supplier to explain the conditions of their deal so you fully understand how your contract works, before you buy.”
“With energy costs rising and electricity being a significant bill for most businesses, it makes sense to get expert help – not just for comparing unit prices, but factoring in standing charges, other fees and contract length too.”
- Liam Walker, Utilities comparison expert
Frequently asked questions
How much does electricity cost for a small business?
It will depend on your supplier, your contract and whether or not you need to pay the Climate Change Levy. A very small business will pay on average 25.27p per kWh if the Climate Change Levy is included, while a small business will pay 25.00, according to government figures.
Small business electricity prices are typically higher than those for larger businesses. This is because they don’t have the same economies of scale.
How much could I save by switching business electricity?
The electricity usage of businesses varies quite a lot more than households, so it’s difficult to give an average saving. It will depend on what you’re using power for, the size of your business premises, the number of people on-site and a few other factors.
A great way to find out what you can save is, of course, to compare prices across the market.
How do I find out who supplies my business electricity?
If you rent your business premises and don’t know who supplies your energy, the easiest way of finding out is to ask the letting agent or landlord of the property.
Alternatively, you can use the Energy Networks Association (ENA) postcode search tool to find the name and phone number of your network operator. Your network operator will be able to tell you who supplies your electricity.
If you’re moving into a new business premises and the previous tenant or owner has let the electricity supplier know they’re moving, you should receive a letter addressed to ‘The Occupier’. This should give you details about the current energy supplier for the property.
How does switching work for microbusinesses?
The rules are a little different for companies that are classified as ‘microbusinesses’. These are small companies that either:
- Use no more than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year
- Use no more than 293,000 kWh of gas per year
- Have 10 or fewer employees and turn over no more than €2 million per year.
If you qualify as a microbusiness, your supplier must provide you with extra support with switching. For example, they should put the end-date and notice period for your contract on all bills. They must also tell you your annual energy consumption and how your old tariff compares with their latest options. The maximum notice period allowed to end a microbusiness energy contract is 30 days.
What if I run my business from home?
If you run your business from home and it’s classified as a microbusiness, you might be eligible for a business electricity contract rather than a domestic one. To make the switch, you’ll usually need to prove that at least 50% of your energy usage is due to running your business.
If you’re not sure if you should be classed as a microbusiness by an energy supplier, Citizens Advice can help:
- Call 0808 223 1133 or use their online webchat.
- For textphone, dial 18001 followed by the helpline number.
But if you work from home and don’t need a huge amount of energy to run your microbusiness, you might find you’re better off on a domestic electricity deal. Shop around, compare deals and weigh up your options to see which gives you better value for money.
Is business electricity cheaper than domestic electricity?
Business electricity rates can often be cheaper than domestic rates. This is because businesses typically use more electricity, so can usually negotiate better rates than domestic customers. However, as a business customer you’ll pay a higher rate of VAT – usually 20% compared with 5% for domestic electricity.
If your business uses a high amount of electricity, you may also have to pay a Climate Change Levy (CCL).
What is the VAT rate on business electricity bills?
Most businesses are charged a VAT rate of 20% on their gas and electricity, although some are eligible for a discount.
You might only need to pay 5% VAT if:
- A minimum of 60% of your business’s energy is used for domestic purposes
- You use less than 33 kWh of electricity each day, or 1,000 kWh each month
- You’re a charity or non-profit organisation.
Will my business electricity be disrupted if I switch?
No, nothing should change in terms of the supply of your business electricity, except the name of your supplier. The same lines and equipment will be delivering your power.
Do I need to tell my current business electricity supplier that I’m switching?
Yes. You’ll need tell your current electricity supplier that you’re switching and give them at least 30 days’ notice before you leave.
You should also make sure:
- You’re no longer in a contract
- You’ve paid all your outstanding bills before your leave
- You provide a final meter reading so your old supplier can send you a final bill and settle your account.
Bionic, our business electricity partner, has a team of energy experts who can support with all of this, including communicating with suppliers.
Can I switch if I’m in debt to my electricity supplier?
You can still switch if you’ve been in debt to your supplier for fewer than 28 days. Your old supplier will add any owed amounts to your final bill.
You’ll need to repay a debt first if you’ve owed money for more than 28 days.
Your supplier can’t stop you from switching if it’s their fault you’re in debt.
What can I do if I’m tied into an existing contract with my supplier?
Read the terms and conditions of your contract to find out what happens if you want to leave early. You may be charged a penalty fee for switching before your existing contract is due to end. Just make sure that any potential savings you could make by switching aren’t cancelled out by an early termination fee.
What should I do about my electricity supply if I move business premises?
Let your electricity supplier know that you’re moving business premises. They’ll typically want 30 days’ notice of your planned move date. They might also ask for proof that you’re leaving the premises. In most cases, you’ll be able to exit the contract without paying a penalty fee. Check the terms and conditions to be sure.
On moving day, take a last meter reading and send it to your supplier to organise your final bill. You’ll also need to take a meter reading at your new premises when you move in.
You’ll automatically be put on a deemed contract by the existing supplier to your new premises. This rate is typically expensive.
You can stick with the existing supplier and negotiate a better rate. But it always makes sense to shop around to see if you can find a cheaper deal. You don’t have to stay on a deemed contract and you can leave at any time, without penalty.
Can I switch business electricity if I have more than one electricity monitor in my premises?
Yes. Electricity monitors simply show you how much electricity is being used, hopefully making your business more energy efficient. They’re not the same as smart meters and they don’t share information with your supplier. Having more than one shouldn’t prevent you from switching electricity supplier.
What happens if I have multiple electricity meters?
If your business is energy intensive, you might need more than one meter, or you may run your business across different sites. You can choose to keep each meter on a separate contract but manage them in one place through your online energy account.
Alternatively, you could switch to a multi-site energy deal that lets you consolidate your electricity rates and renewal dates into one single plan.
I have solar panels. Can I get a business feed in tariff?
The Feed-In Tariff (FiT) scheme finished for new applications on 1 April 2019. If you applied before that date, you can sell any surplus energy your business has generated back to the National Grid.
Although you can no longer enter the FiT scheme, you might be eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Introduced on 1 January 2020, this is similar to the FiT programme, but payments are set by licensees rather than Ofgem.
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter is a device that shows you how much energy is being used and how much it costs. It also sends meter readings directly to your supplier, so you can be confident that you’re being billed accurately, without the hassle of needing to take meter readings yourself.
Smart meters are being rolled out across the country and you should be offered one before 2025.
What are half hourly meters and how do they work?
A half hourly meter records your business’ electricity use every 30 minutes, automatically sending your usage data to your supplier. Think of it as a smart meter for large businesses. If you’re a business operating in the UK that uses 100kW or more during any 30-minute period of the day, a half hourly meter is a legal requirement.
What is green business electricity?
Green electricity comes from renewable sources, like sunlight, wind, rain, plants and geothermal heat. Using an electricity supplier that sources some, or all, of its energy from renewables is one way of making sure your business is doing its bit for the environment. Find out more in our green energy guide.
When you compare through us, we’ll show you which suppliers provide green energy when we send you your quotes.
Which electricity suppliers do you compare?
We compare prices across many well-known business energy suppliers, including:
- BG Core
- British Gas Plus
- BG Lite
- EDF Energy
- Octopus Energy
- Opus Energy
- Scottish Power
- Valda Energy
- Yü Energy
If you run a large, energy-intensive business we can also compare rates from these suppliers: