Make 2018 the year you finally get on top of your business energy bills. Not sure where to start? Here are 7 tips, so no excuses! Let us know how you get on.
1 – I will check when my electricity (and gas) contracts end!
Please make sure you know this. If you do nothing else, get this date in your diary. And then write another note in your diary three months before this to terminate your contract. Why? Here’s why:
Did you know – some energy companies still roll over businesses onto another year at considerably higher prices if they don’t receive a termination letter? And there is nothing you can do about it, it’s all in the small print you agreed with the original contract.
The majority will move you onto their deemed (out of contract) tariff instead. This will cost you considerably more per kWh (as much as 50%), but you can leave with 30 days notice. Many businesses let their energy contracts expire, and they are oblivious to it. They don’t realise they are paying out of contract rates, and could save thousands of pounds by choosing a fixed price contract.
2 – I will provide regular meter readings to my energy supplier!
So important. A number of businesses fail to do this. If your energy supplier doesn’t receive any meter readings, they have no choice but to estimate your energy use. Consider if they under estimate your bills for a year? Two years even? When they finally get a reading, the business owner is faced with an extortionate bill.
This can have knock on effects. You will have to set up a payment plan to pay off the debt. The supplier won’t let you move to another supplier with lower prices, as you owe them money (they are within their rights to object to a transfer).
It could affect your credit rating. Energy suppliers credit check businesses before offering electricity and gas prices. I even came across a situation where a café owner was in a lot of debt with her energy supplier. Her credit rating plummeted and the same supplier refused to give her a fixed rate contract. Instead, they forced her to pay higher, deemed rates. As well as pay off the large debt every month.
So please save yourself a year of headaches, and give them a meter reading. Even if it’s every three months. Or even better….
3 – I will ask my energy supplier to install a smart meter!
Then you won’t have to remember to provide meter readings! A smart meter will take care of that for you. By ensuring your energy supplier receives a meter reading, you are forcing them to use that reading on your next bill. So you will only be paying for the electricity you have used, not any more than necessary.
4 – I will check I have the correct electricity meter for my business hours!
More pertinent if you took over the premises from a business in a different sector. For example, if you only use electricity between 9am and 6pm, and there was previously a deli or café at the site, you may have a 2 or 3-rate meter. This will have different rates for electricity used at different times of the day. Businesses with lots of refrigeration units running 24/7, will often have a 2 or 3-rate meter. This is because they pay a lot less for electricity used between midnight and 7am.
However, the rate during the day will be higher to compensate. So if you only use energy during the day, changing to a single rate meter will mean you pay less for every kWh of electricity used in daytime.
The same is true in reverse, if your business uses energy 24 hours a day, check if you will be better off with a 2 or 3-rate meter.
5 – I won’t just accept the new prices my current supplier gives me!
These will be an increase on your current contracted prices. And a substantial increase in most instances. So check other suppliers, there are many energy companies who supply energy to businesses, most of whom aren’t involved in the domestic market. So you may not be aware of most of these suppliers.
Energy brokers like ourselves, have access to prices from energy suppliers, so we can instantly check prices for you. At Perfect Clarity, we have built up relationships with over 25 energy suppliers. In addition, our buying power of thousands of businesses, drives down the price.
Be warned though, popular comparison sites only work with a handful of business energy suppliers, so do check.
6 – I will try and reduce the amount of energy we use at work!
You are now fully in control of your energy bills and the price you pay – fantastic work! Now, what about conserving energy? If you can use 20% less energy, that is 20% off your annual energy bills. So it has to be worth a shot. And you will be doing your bit for the planet as well!
The best way to achieve a reduction in energy use, is to include all your staff. Make them energy champions! Lighting is a good place to start. Switch lights off when not in use, leave polite notices up for guests (if applicable) to turn lights off in their rooms – or install light sensors and timer switches.
You should also look at heating and water use. Encourage staff (and guests) to keep heat in the building. Again, polite notices can help here. If you have a commercial kitchen, ensure water is stored at the correct temperature (60C). For any guest rooms or bar areas, the room temperature shouldn’t be any higher than 21C. TRVs can be fitted to radiators, these lower energy use when the room is warmed by body heat as more customers arrive.
We have more tips on the advice section of our website. If your industry isn’t covered, then do call for advice.
And if you enjoy being a greener business, why not look at green energy prices? We have access to 100% renewable electricity contracts. These are often lower than the standard prices many business are paying, thanks to our buying power in the energy market.
7 – I will get water and wastewater prices from other water retailers!
If you are in England or Scotland that is (or in Wales with an annual water use above 50 million litres). In April 2017, the water market was deregulated for businesses in England. Water deregulation in Scotland took place back in 2008. Businesses in these countries can shop around for better priced water suppliers just as you do for gas and electricity.
Again, we have relationships with water retailers and can check prices for you. Happy hunting!
I hope these resolutions go towards making 2018 a prosperous and successful year for your business.
Perfect Clarity are independent energy brokers and consultants. Our buying power means lower prices from UK gas and electricity companies to save your business money.