Price Comparisons How Much Does Price Differ Between Energy Companies?
There can be big differences that utility companies charge for business gas, business electricity as well as other utilities. It’s not unusual that a variance of three times the rate of electricity and gas with two companies sited side by side. Comparisons have shown then highest unit rate on business electricity was as much as 30p per KW and the lowest less than 6.5p per KW. Use our Price Checking Service to check your current rate and see if it is fair, if not, then we will assist you in getting the best business electricity and gas prices available.
What rates can I expect to be available to me?
Most of the energy suppliers require a minimum credit rating for your business therefore, the higher your credit score the better for you. With a good credit score you have the best chance of getting the best prices. Some of the other variables that determine the eligibility for cheaper energy prices include:
Type of business are sole trader, limited company etc, what sector, such as manufacturing, retail etc.
Your annual consumption as SME is averages about 25,000 kWh annually
Your meter profile is the first two digits on your meter reference number, the range is between 00 and 08, this classification is related to your consumption as small business has an average 03/04 profile.
Direct debit payment terms are the best.
How can I get a quote?
If you have your recent energy bills handy we can quote immediately by phone, this will be based on our comparison of the cheapest prices with energy suppliers. Our system is regularly updated daily with the latest prices across the market; we include the ‘Big Six’ energy companies on our books.
When we give a quotation, we detail the savings you could make, give you the various options to choose from, once you have decided on the package that is best suited to you, we will arrange the contract that will be between the supplier and you, we will also keep on top of the situation to make sure that the transfer is smooth and trouble free.
Our hours are from 9am to 6pm, we are available Monday to Friday. Contact us on 01943882189 or you can fill in our online form. Leave a message if it’s out of office hours and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Who are the 'Big Six'?
E.ON they are also known as Powergen.
Npower they are also known as RWE.
Scottish & Southern they are also known as SSE, they incorporate Scottish Hydro Electric, Southern Electric, SWALEC, and Atlantic Electric & Gas.
EDF they incorporate London Energy, Seeboard and SWEB.
British Gas they incorporate Bizzenergy, Scottish Gas, Enron, Electricity for Business, Electricity Direct.
How will I be able to tell that your price comparison will be the best deal for me?
Our company is 100% independent, we do not favour one energy company over another, and we work with all the energy companies. We also putthe various different quotes into perspective by creating a prospective financial forecast. We take your estimated annual usage from your bills, calculate the annual spend using the quotes we have sourced for you and detail your annual spend.
This makes it easier to establish the best deal, as all suppliers vary the standing charge and unit rates but using your business patterns of usage will show you the best savings.
Some of our rates are exclusive to our company and consumers will often not be able to negotiate such rates themselves. Our commitment to our customers is to offer them the best value for money with deals that will benefit our customers the most, we do not favour one supplier over another nor do we offer a particular supplier because their commission is better than another. Our commitment is to our customers first, we believe their savings is important.
Costs of our service
Contrary to what most people believe, we do not charge for our services, we are paid commission by suppliers on signed up contracts.
Why is it necessary to produce your bill?
The electricity and gas bills for each customer shows a unique meter reference number, for instance, 21 digit MPAN for a business electricity bill and 10 digit MPR for a business gas bill, this is needed to confirm your energy consumption. This reference number of the meter also shows that type of meter that is installed, your supply area, and the type gas/electricity user you are. This helps us to quote the energy price that is correct for your demographics.
An Example of a reference number for a meter - (MPAN/MPR) looks like?
The number is printed on your bill and usually starts with an “S”.
What type of contract do I have and when does it expire?
If you are unsure of your contract status, you can find out from your supplier by asking them to check your end date, or you could instruct us to do so on your behalf with an authorisation.
What is a rollover contract?
The rollover contract is also known as the evergreen or assumptive renewal contract. It is usually an agreement between the two parties that the contract when it comes up to its maturity period or renewal period, it is rolled over, otherwise automatically renewed. This will continue after each maturity of contract unless it is cancelled by either party. Most business contracts are evergreen, termination is required to stop the automatic renewal with a letter of notice usually between 1 & 3 months prior to end of contract. Unless the business is aware of what is happening energy companies automatically roll over the accounts without any notice or warning. These renewals often are higher than if a business did a price comparison among the energy companies where they may find a cheaper rate. This is an area that a business person needs to be aware of and address timeously.
The different energy suppliers have different and sometimes complex, rules regarding the renewal of business gas and electricity. They will write to you about 120 days prior to the end of your contract, the letter will inform you of the pending end of contract and that they will roll over the contract. The letter should trigger your negotiations regarding your renewal window, this puts the onus on you to terminate the contract before roll over, this should be done in writing before the window period closes again and you are locked into a new contract. If you want to find out the different energy suppliers terms and conditions, and which apply to you, then contact us at PCM Switch on 01943882189 and we will do our best to advise you.
Not-for-profit organisations how does it affect us?
In general it makes no difference if you are a not-for-profit organisation, this includes community buildings, village halls, churches, scout huts/halls. However this does not preclude you from doing a price comparison and switching to the cheapest electricity/gas supplier. However, you could find out if you are eligible for a lower rate of exemption of VAT and Climate Change Levy. Vat on energy bill can make a significant difference on its own.
Other contracts that one should be aware of
There are two more common types of contracts for businesses, 28 day rolling contracts and the Deemed Rates contracts.
The 28 Day contract
Businesses that don’t or have not done a comparison of energy prices since market deregulation in the 1990’s often find themselves locked in to a 28 day supply contract. The prices for energy in these contracts often fluctuate up and down with the market situation and are rarely competitive. We usually recommend that businesses switch to fixed term, or fixed rate contracts and have them for a minimum of one year sometimes with the same supplier fortunately as the name 28 day suggests a switch can happen anytime by giving 28 days notification of intention to switch.
The deemed rates contract
Deemed or also known as out of contract rates are considered the worst in the industry, often they apply to businesses that are new or that have terminated a contract and have not switched a supplier. However, like the 28 day contract, you also have 28 days notice period is required to switch to the cheapest electricity prices.
Understanding 100kW / half hourly supply
Half hourly meters are for those companies that are energy intensive and their average peak for electricity demand is higher than 100kWh over a three month period for the year previous. Two simple ways to check of you are a half hour customer.
Half hourly meters have a communications link to the energy supplier which can be read remotely on a daily basis.
Or check your energy bill, if you are on a half hourly meter you will see that your bill begins with 00.
Our specialised team can arrange for the cheapest prices from suppliers especially those that cater for the half-hourly meter market.
New to the property what do I need to know?
If you have recently moved into a property, then your electricity and gas suppliers will be the same as the previous tenants. Contact PCM Switch for assistance in logging your change of tenancy and establishing your existing suppliers. We will also initiate the tendering process by requesting a contract offer from the existing suppliers. It’s important you do this shortly after taking occupation of the property as your supplies might be on out of contract rates which are much higher than conventional business energy rates. Don’t leave it until you are so firmly entrenched in the existing company without getting the best deal. Contact PCM Switch we can find out who the supplier is, get the meter serial number and do the comparison for you, advise you on the best rates and packages that will benefit you. Please note: that the serial number is different from the reference number. Look for the nine or ten digit number which is located on the meter itself. You will recognise it on the following format A13B35467.
Can a new site have a meter installed?
It’s advisable to contact an energy company to install a meter at your site or premises, at the same time arrange with the energy supplier for a fixed-price contract, check what they have available. You could also contact us and we will outsource a supplier for you, arrange the contract. Fixed-price contracts usually run from nine months to a year. Once that contract is completed contact us again to do an energy comparison as markets change and you may get an even better deal.
The Switching Process what do I have to do?
We do most of the work in regards to the switching process but you need to send a letter of termination to your existing supplier in order to avoid being rolled over by them. You need to find out what your suppliers rules are about termination as each supplier has their own T&C’s. The easiest way to switch suppliers is to let PCM Switch guide you either by us doing the work or we advise you on what to do. Remember we do not charge for our services to you so you won’t be out of pocket.
Can my supplier object to me switching energy suppliers?
If you give sufficient notice according to your energy supplier’s rules then there is very little likelihood of an objection, however, your suppliers could object of you have outstanding debt or a contract that may still have a period to run. We can help smooth the process and advise you on the best way to ensure success. Having your electricity bill up to date and end of contact should not bring an objection at all. Please contact us and we will do our best for you.
How long does it take to switch suppliers?
The whole process takes approximately four to six weeks, we can oversee the whole process for you. Be assured that your existing supplier cannot cut off your electricity or gas as a result of a switch. We will keep you updated on all the stages of switching, you can ask us any questions that may be bothering you and we will answer them for you. We do not abandon you after the switch; we will keep in touch and also remind you before your contract is due to end so you have the options to look at prices again before signing up another contract term.
Are there other charges?
VAT on gas and electricity
Business VAT on gas and electricity is normally charged at 20% (from January 4th, 2011) however, some businesses may be eligible for ‘De minimis’ requirements and they will be billed at 5%. This means that by using on average 33 kWh per day that is 1,000 kWh per month on business electricity, and less than 5 therms that is 145 kWh per day or 150 therms or 4,397 kWh monthly on business gas. Businesses that fall within this criterion will only pay 5% VAT on electricity and gas.
Explain Climate Change Levy
The Climate Change Levy (CCL) was introduced in 2001 and is a government tax on businesses energy usage; this covers agriculture as well as the public sector. The aim of the levy is to encourage commerce and industry as well as the public sector to reduce greenhouse emissions and improve one energy efficiency, the current situation is Gas CCL 0.164p kWh and electricity’s CCL 0.47p kWh.
What businesses qualify for the CCL and 5% VAT exemption?
Domestic/Residential buildings, this includes accommodation for the armed forces, children, care homes, hospices, rehab centres, nunneries and monasteries.
Institutions that are the main or sole residence of 90% of its residence, exceptions are hotels, inns, prisons, hospitals or similar institutions.
Accommodation that is self catering, caravans and house boats.
The above all qualify for reduced rate of VAT on their electricity and gas bills.
For further clarity on CCL and VAT please visit the link below:
Key Questions that Ofgem says businesses should ask
The energy regulator, Ofgem has put together a series of questions that will help small business understand their contracts - the questions give you an idea of how complex some of the contracts are and thus, why some businesses are unwittingly committed to contracts that contain exorbitant rates. For more information about this contact us and we will be happy to guide you on saving on your utility bills.
What is the unit charge?
Are the charges fixed or standing ?
What is the electricity charges per KVA capacity?
During the life of the contract can the price change?
If the price changes how will I be informed, will I be told if the charges are fixed or variable?
What is the fixed charges period?
If the charges are variable, what parts do they vary?
What will happen when the contract expires and I remain a customer of yours?
What happens if I don’t renew my contract when it expires?
What do I have to do if I don’t want to renew the contract?
The contract duration how long is it?
Will I receive a reminder before the contract ends?
What steps must I take if I wish to end the contract before the expiry date?
If I want to switch suppliers how to I contact my existing supplier and when?
What are the circumstances that might stop me being able to switch energy suppler?
More information about my contract
Who do I contact to find out more about my contract?
What information will be needed to be able to look up my details?
Cut off of energy supply
What reasons would my energy supply be cut off?
Will I receive notification about the cut off prior to it happening?
What procedures need to be followed before cut off?
What payment terms options are available?
Will I be committed to a maximum or minimum volume of electricity or gas?
If so, what charges can I expect or incur in relation to this?
PCM Switch is committed to offer excellent customer service to all our customers, we are always available to advise you on any aspect of electricity, gas, energy consumption, savings, information about renewable energy and resources, or any questions you may wish to ask. Contact us today on 01943882189.
Head Office: EATON HOUSE, STATION ROAD, LEEDS, LS20 8XB Company Registration: 4704157 Vat Registration: 817013852