Compare business electricity
Compare energy suppliers; 20% of businesses save up to £605**
Or call the experts at Bionic on:0800 975 0781
**20% of businesses achieved this saving when switching their business energy through our trusted partner Bionic. Based on data between May and October 2020.
Compare business electricity prices
You can switch your business electricity supplier to get a better deal and save yourself some money. With energy costs 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.
Our guide answers the key questions you might have about business electricity and how to compare and switch suppliers.
We compare prices across many well known business energy suppliers.
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Why should I switch business electricity suppliers?
Energy rates are always changing, so it makes sense to compare business electricity prices and switch to the best possible deal for you when it’s time to renew.
It's not always about cost, though. You might choose to switch for better customer support or a tariff that suits your needs.
Suppliers are no longer allowed to lock businesses into automatic rollover contracts, which means they can’t charge exit fees or include no-exit clauses in automatic rollovers. This could make it easier to switch business energy suppliers.
How does switching work for business customers?
As with domestic switching, the new electricity provider takes care of organising things, so you should be able to give them a few details and leave them to it. The switch should take around two to three weeks, according to figures from Ofgem, the Government regulator for electricity and gas markets. During the switchover, there’ll be a continuous supply of energy.
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
You also need to make sure you choose the right new supplier because, unlike with domestic suppliers, there’s no 14-day cooling off period if you switch your business energy.
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.
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 things like 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.
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 the best 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. Fixed rate tariffs are usually the cheapest way to pay for electricity, so 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 go down. 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 go up or down depending on the wholesale price of electricity. So, while you could make savings when prices are low, 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:
- Rolling contract – this automatically renews until you cancel the contract, usually renewing on a higher rate. You can sometimes negotiate for a more competitive rate by signing up for an extended contract, although they still might not be as low as other deals elsewhere.
- Deemed rate – 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 can I reduce the cost of my business energy?
There are many things you can do to reduce the cost of your business energy, 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 and also reduce your business’s carbon footprint:
Switch off the lights
Lighting is one of the main energy-consuming culprits of a business and can be responsible for up to 40% of your business 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. Make use of natural light in office areas and arrange desks near windows. Switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs which use just a fraction of the power that standard lightbulbs do.
Turn the heating down
Just turning your heating down by 2 degrees could save you around £140 on a £1,000 bill. Intelligent heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) could help you use less energy by automating the temperature in your workplace so that it’s never too hot or too cold.
Switch off office equipment when not in use
Leaving computers, printers and photocopiers on standby can be a big waste of energy. Turn off your office devices at the end of the day and when you’re away from your desk for a while. Consider replacing PCs with laptops – they use a lot less energy. Also, flat screens monitors are 50% more energy-efficient than traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and can help reduce eye strain.
Find out more about energy-saving devices for your business
Make sure everyone in the workplace is doing their bit to cut down on energy use. From boiling the kettle infrequently to switching off lights and office equipment, your staff should take steps to help reduce the amount of energy your business is using.
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, see what deals are out there and move on to one that offers better value for your business.
How do I compare business electricity suppliers?
First, you'll answer a few questions about how much electricity your business uses and where you're located. 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.
We'll run a search of all the available electricity deals based on what you've told us. 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.
- Enter the postcode of your business. Using smart digital data, we can then access everything we need to give you a quote.
- Experts from our business energy provider, Bionic, will study the market to help you find the energy tariff to suit your needs, then give you a brief call to discuss it.
- If you choose to switch energy providers, Bionic will look after everything for you, including future renewals.
What information do I need to switch business electricity?
To get started with a business electricity quote, all we’ll need is your business’s name, address and postcode. We can then generate an accurate quote, based on things like your business’ current electricity consumption.
Frequently asked questions
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 the size of your business premises, the number of people on-site and a few other factors.
The best way to find out what you can save is, of course, to compare prices across the market.
How has business electricity been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Although the ongoing pandemic won’t disrupt your energy supply, you may have concerns about paying for your business electricity, especially if your business has been disrupted because of the COVID-19 crisis.
If you’re struggling to pay your business energy bills because of the coronavirus pandemic, contact your supplier in the first instance. Energy suppliers and networks are working closely under Government guidance, to make sure both business and domestic customers are offered support and understanding during this difficult time.
Your electricity supplier should discuss what options are available to you and they may offer practical support like giving you more time to pay your bill, direct debit discounts or offering business debt advice.
Find out more about what help is available from energy providers during COVID-19
The Government is also offering support measures for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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, and tell you your annual energy consumption and how your old tariff compares with their latest options.
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.
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 to 5% for domestic electricity.
If your business uses a high amount of electricity, you may also have to pay a Climate Change Levy (CCL). This is a Government tax aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and encouraging businesses to be more energy efficient.
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, as 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.
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 if I’m on a deemed contract?
If you move into new premises and start to use power without agreeing a new contract, you’ll be on what’s called a ‘deemed contract’. To recap, this is when there’s no mutual agreement in place, but the supplier for the premises you’ve moved into continues to provide power. A deemed contract situation can also happen if you reach the end of a contract without negotiating a new one.
Ofgem found that the costs associated with deemed contracts are on average 80% higher than rates for a negotiated contract. So, if you’re on a deemed contract, you could make serious savings by comparing business electricity.
You have a right to switch at any time and for any reason if you're on a deemed contract, even if you're in debt.
What should I do about my electricity supply if I move business premises?
You should let your electricity supplier know that you’re moving business premises. Typically they’ll want 30 days’ notice of your planned move date. Your current supplier 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, but check the terms and conditions to be sure.
On moving day, you should take a last meter reading and send it to your supplier so they can organise your final bill. You’ll also need to take a meter reading at your new premises when you move in.
Remember, when you move into your new business premises, you’ll automatically be put on a deemed contract by the existing supplier to the property. You should get off this as soon as possible to avoid paying inflated rates.
You may prefer to stick with the existing supplier and negotiate a better rate. But it always makes sense to shop around first to see if you can find a cheaper deal. You’re under no obligation 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?
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 which 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 succeeded in applying before that date, you can sell any surplus energy your business has generated, back to the National Grid.
The amount of money you're eligible for from the excess energy you sell, depends on a number of factors, including how many solar panels you’ve got. Your supplier must be registered as a FiT licensee to pay you. For the complete list of licensees, visit the Ofgem website.
If you didn’t apply before 1 April, 2019, you can no longer enter the FiT scheme. But you might be eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee. The new scheme, introduced on 1 January 2020, is similar to the FiT programme, but payments are set by licensees rather than Ofgem.
If you did not apply before 1 April, 2019, you can no longer take advantage of the FiT scheme.
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. Originally, the Government was committed to offering all homes and small businesses a smart meter by the end of 2020. This deadline has now been pushed back to 2025 because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
From the business team
“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.”