Your business energy bills explained
Anyone who has ever looked at an energy bill could be forgiven for finding it confusing. The seemingly endless pages of numbers and information leave many people scratching their heads.
Indeed, a survey carried out by YouGov found some 60% of people are confused by their energy bills. Those looking at business energy bills are often equally stumped. If you are trying to work out your spending on utilities and find ways of making savings in your business by ensuring you are on the cheapest tariff, this can be particularly frustrating.
Understanding what is meant by unit pricing and costs for gas and electricity has led to energy suppliers being voted as the worst offenders for issuing confusing bills.
The good news is that the energy regulator Ofgem is requiring all energy providers to simplify their bills, but in the meantime, this guide from the team here at Commercial Energy Group should help.
Information on business energy bills
Depending on your provider, the information that is carried on your energy bills will vary, but they all generally include the following:
- The name of your plan or tariff
- Information on cheaper tariffs
- Your energy consumption
- Conditions of your contract, for example its end date and exit fees
- Your supplier’s contact details.
Look carefully at the following information:
What tariff are you on?
If you are on a standard tariff you may be able to save money by switching to a fixed tariff. Why not ask the team at Commercial Energy Group to carry out a free price comparison? You may find you can save up to 30% on your energy bills. Your bill will also give information about the cheapest deal your supplier offers.
Business energy bills also detail a tariff comparison rate, which will help you compare costs across the market in the same way that the APR rate does for loans and credit cards.
Your energy consumption
This will show you how much you are using in kilowatt hours (kWh). The amount detailed will be:
- C – which means you (the customer) supplied the reading
- A – or ‘actual’ because someone came out to read the meter
- E – estimate. Make sure the estimate is reasonably accurate, otherwise you may have a shock when you eventually get a bill based on a meter reading.
Business energy bills
As a business customer, your bill may carry additional information which won’t be on a domestic bill, such as wholesale costs of energy and a Climate Change Levy; this is a tax on energy paid by business customers to encourage energy efficiency. However, your business will be exempt from this is if it is a charity or it uses small amounts of energy.
Terms and conditions
Business energy bills will also detail terms and conditions. Do check these, as they will detail any exit fees you will incur if you leave your price plan early.
The notice period is on average between 42 and 49 days. If you are within the notice period and you decide to switch supplier, then you should not incur any penalty.
It is advisable to either switch or renew, whichever is most cost effective – again, the Commercial Energy Group team can advise you here. Otherwise, once the contract ends you’ll be put on a standard tariff which will be more expensive.
It can even be worth switching early and paying the exit fees if the amount you save from a new supplier outweighs the penalty. The Commercial Energy Group team can help you with this.
What if I pay by direct debit
Paying by direct debit does not mean you won’t receive a bill. If you think you are paying too much each month in comparison to your actual use, then you may be able to negotiate a reduced monthly rate with your supplier. But do bear in mind that you may use more energy in the winter and less in the summer, so you often overpay in the summer months and underpay in winter.
What if there is a power cut?
Again, your business energy bills should detail a contact number to call if you have a power cut or problem with your supply.
I’ve received two bills – why?
This may be because either you have underpaid (see our advice above about not relying on estimated bills) or your supplier has made an error and wants to recoup their money. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon; in 2017 alone, some 1.3 million customers (business and domestic) were overcharged due to a supplier error. This makes it all the more important to keep a close eye on your electricity and gas bills to make sure you are paying enough or that you aren’t overpaying.
What about paperless billing?
As it sounds, this means you receive no bills in the post but can access your bills (whether they are issued monthly or quarterly) online. There is generally a discount associated with paperless bill, because you are saving your supplier time and money by not posting bills out.
If you do opt for paperless billing, then do diarise time each month to check your latest bill. As we’ve mentioned, you could face a nasty surprise if you’ve been paying estimated bills which are underestimating your usage. Also, mistakes may occur so the earlier you pick them up the better.
Why do my business energy bills carry a QR codes?
All energy suppliers are required to put a scannable code on their bills, which carries information such as your tariff, your supplier’s name and information on your annual usage. This means all the information you need is in one place.
We hope this handy guide sheds a little more light on your business energy bills. If you want any more information, or to chat about different energy deals, or ask us to compare business electricity tariffs or gas tariffs, why not get in touch with the team at Commercial Energy Group? Call us today on 0333 305 2303.