Switching your business to a new energy tariff or supplier
How to compare and switch energy tariff or supplier when shopping around for a new business energy contract.
Check if you classify as a microbusiness
If you run your business at home, you may not need a business energy contract.
If you’re not sure if you should be classed as a 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.
Switching your business energy
Check when you can switch your business energy
You can usually switch your business energy if:
- you’re on a contract you’ve not chosen – such as a deemed energy contract or default energy contract. These normally apply if you have new premises or a fixed-term contract ends and you haven’t yet signed up to a new energy deal
- your business energy contract has expired and you aren’t bound by any terms. You may need to give notice in some business energy contracts. Check your terms and speak to your supplier if you aren’t sure about the notice period.
If a supplier says you can’t switch, they must explain why as soon as possible. They must also explain your options if you think you should be able to switch.
You may still be able to switch to a new deal if you can’t switch to a different supplier because of your contract. Contact Citizens Advice for help if you have difficulties, or visit their website:
- Check their advice for switching
- Call 0808 223 1133 or use their online webchat
- For textphone, dial 18001 followed by the helpline number
Information you need to switch business energy
It's useful to have the following information:
- your postcode
- the name of your current supplier and contract
- the terms on your current business energy contract, including the contract end-date and any notice periods
- your energy costs per unit (shown in kilowatt hours – kWh on your bill) and standing charges
- your annual energy usage.
You can find important information on a recent energy bill. Log in to your online account if you don’t get paper bills.
If you aren't sure about your current supply details, see Finding your energy supplier or network operator.
Find business energy contracts
Contact the supplier you already have to see what they can offer. Say you want to compare what they offer with other providers before agreeing a contract. You can use a comparison website or phone different energy suppliers to do so.
You can also use energy brokers who can negotiate a contract for you for a fee. If you use a broker:
- ask which suppliers they represent so you know if they can offer a full-market comparison.
- make sure you are clear on the terms of their service. For example, they may charge a one-off finder’s fee or integrate their fee as part of a commission agreement in a contract you choose to sign up to. See GOV.UK’s advice on Avoiding unfair terms in business contracts.
It’s always worth asking your current supplier if they can beat an offer if you find one that’s better elsewhere too.
It’s also best to ask providers to send you a written offer with all terms before you say you agree to a business energy contract, including when checking offers by phone. Phone agreements are binding.
Weigh up your options
Think about things like:
- 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
- if you can get cashback or other free incentives as part of your switch offer
- if you will 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 are 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?
Confirm your switch
The last step is to confirm your contract and payment method. Paying by Direct Debit usually saves money.
Your new supplier will contact you with a switching date. It can take up to 21 days to complete a switch. In most cases it’s around 17 days.
Before you sign, 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 gas or electricity used per kWh and standing charges.
If you change your mind
Many business energy contracts don’t offer a cooling-off period. This is the option of cancelling a contract within a certain number of days after it is agreed. So be sure that you are happy with all terms and conditions before you agree to a contract.