How to get the best deal

You should think about:

  • How much electricity your business uses

  • Which companies supply your area

  • Which rate you want

  • What sort of tariff you want

You can then compare quotes from individual suppliers to find the best deal.

What is a business electricity tariff?

It is the way an energy supplier charges you for using electricity. Like domestic energy, tariffs can be based on:

  • Monthly cost

  • The size of your business

  • How you manage your account, e.g. online or paper billing

  • How your energy is sourced, e.g. green energy

Business electricity tariffs tend to be either:

  1. Fixed: The price stays the same throughout your contract

  2. Variable: The price rises and falls throughout your contract

How much does it cost?

The price of your business electricity tariff will depend on:

  • Your business address: Your choice of supplier depends on where you are based, because most energy companies only offer service in some areas.

  • The size of your business: Your energy usage will depend on the size of your premises and the amount of staff using electricity at any one time.

  • How many sites you have: Your electricity company may offer you a discount if you need a multi site tariff to supply several business locations.

  • Your business credit history: Your choice of supplier may be limited if your business has a poor credit rating, or you may have to pay more for your energy.

What do you need?

Business electricity tariffs are offered as quotes based on your individual business circumstances. When comparing quotes, you should think about:

  • How much electricity you use. You can check previous energy bills if your business has been running for more than a year. If you are a new business, you can call energy companies to help you estimate what a business of your size typically uses.

  • When you use most of your electricity. You could benefit from time of use tariffs, where you pay less for electricity used in off peak hours. Off peak hours are usually a set period between 10pm and 8am.

  • If you want to be eco friendly. You can check green energy tariffs with most business electricity suppliers, which helps your business manage its impact on the environment.

  • How long you plan to stay in one location. If you plan to move to a new space in the near future, so look at short term contracts. Some suppliers offer nine month contracts for new businesses, and others offer 28 day contracts.

Once you have decided what your business needs are, you can speak to suppliers and choose the best tariff.

Which tariff?

Unlike home energy, you can negotiate price with business energy suppliers, so take the time to shop around and get the best deal:

Fixed

The amount you pay for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity is fixed, so it will stay the same until your contract ends.

A fixed contract is usually the cheapest way to pay for electricity, but you will be tied in for a minimum of 12 months, sometimes longer. This prevents you from switching supplier until your contract ends.

If you are a large business, you may benefit from these specialist fixed tariffs that offer better rates for high energy usage. Here are the key factors of flexible and multi site contracts:

Flexible contract Multi site
You can bulk buy energy up front You get a fixed price for all sites
Benefit from low rates Enjoy discount unit rates
Rates may drop after you buy One supplier for all sites

Variable

The price you pay for your electricity on a variable tariff changes depending on the wholesale price of energy. Variable tariffs are usually more expensive than fixed.

The main types of variable business electricity tariffs are:

  • Rollover contracts, which are automatically renewed until you cancel

  • 28 day contracts, which can be cancelled with just 28 days' notice

  • Deemed rates, when you are between contracts and your supplier charges a higher rate

Variable contracts are usually the most expensive way to pay for your business electricity, and should only be considered if you need short term service.

When your current supplier offers renewal, start shopping around to avoid overpaying for your electricity.

Smart meter

Smart meters ensure your bill is always accurate and could help you save money.

A display monitor is fitted to the inside of your property so you can monitor how much electricity you use, and take steps to reduce your energy consumption.

Smart meters replace traditional electricity meters to provide your energy supplier with up to date meter readings, sometimes as often as half hourly.

Half hour billing is becoming compulsory for large businesses, but smaller companies can also request to have a smart meter fitted.

No standing charge

You do not pay a daily charge to your supplier, but you may pay a higher unit rate for your electricity. Your unit rate is usually increased until you have used more than a set amount of electricity.

You may benefit from a no standing charge tariff if:

  • Your electricity usage is low

  • Your business opens seasonally

You could also benefit if your electricity usage is very high, because you will save money long term once your unit rate has dropped back down.

Green energy

These tariffs use more electricity from renewable resources than standard tariffs, like solar power and wind farms.

You can also earn money by generating your own green energy and selling it back to suppliers. This is known as a feed in tariff (FIT) and you get paid for every unit of electricity you generate.

Can you get dual fuel?

No, unlike domestic energy you cannot get a dual fuel business energy tariff.

Some energy companies may offer you a discount if you buy both your gas and electricity from them.

However, you will still have two separate contracts and energy companies are not obligated to offer cheaper rates to customers buying both fuel services from them.

How can you switch?

Switching your business electricity could help you save thousands of pounds on your energy bill.

You can switch by looking for business tariffs on our comparison, or by using an energy broker.

If you use a broker, check if you have to pay extra for your electricity tariff in commission charges or separate fees.