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New Energy Campaign Fails to Consider Businesses

Words by 3p Contributor
Leadership & Transparency
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By Hannah Corbett

Last week, the U.K. Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched a new campaign – ‘Power to Switch’ – to encourage domestic energy consumers to actively engage with the market and switch their energy to a better deal. Not only does this immediately benefit consumers with monetary savings, but it also has a number of long-term benefits, such as getting people involved and engaged with their energy usage. This will only promote an awareness of energy consumption, and contribute to sustainability in the long term. However, the campaign focuses solely on domestic energy customers and neglects to take businesses into account.

Given that around 60 percent of all energy in the U.K. is used by non-domestic consumers, it would stand to reason that getting business energy customers clued-up and involved with the energy market has the potential to make the changes that the government and industry authorities are calling for, while also having a huge impact on energy efficiency and sustainability. But, with the Power to Switch campaign firmly targeting domestic customers, businesses are being left out in the cold.

It seems there’s a need for some light to be shed on the commercial energy switching process, and why businesses stand to benefit by engaging. Read on to find out more.

The business energy-switching process


There are a few steps in the energy-switching process – but nothing too difficult. Depending on your business’s situation and your current contract, there may be a couple of things that you need to do.

If you don’t already know, the first thing to do is to figure out who your existing supplier is, as well as the terms of your current contract. Then, you’ll be able to directly compare your deal with others and see if you could be paying less. If you’re not currently in contract with a supplier, then you will almost definitely be able to save by switching suppliers or negotiating a better deal, as ‘out of contract’ rates are often far more expensive than the market average.

Can you switch?


As a business energy customer, you’ll only be able to enter a new energy contract if your renewal window is open. Typically, this starts 60 days before the end of a contract, and your supplier should notify you when it opens. Unfortunately, if your renewal window is not due to open soon, then you’ll have to sit tight until it is. If you’re currently out of contract, then you will be able to switch immediately, but you’ll have to give your existing supplier 30 days notice.

Find the best deal


One of the easiest ways to compare available energy deals across the market is to use a comparison service to search the market, find you a good deal and handle your switch for you. Alternatively, you could contact a number of suppliers individually, then make a decision based on the best offer you get. You may want to consider signing up with a green energy supplier, as they often have good deals available, and give more support to sustainable energy options than others.

Commit the switch


All you have to do is inform your current supplier that you will be switching, and agree a contract with your new supplier. They will be able to handle the rest between them. As aforementioned, you will probably have to give your current provider a certain amount of notice before your switch can take place – so the sooner you start, the sooner you can benefit.

What are the benefits of switching?


It's true that you could save a significant amount of money each year by being proactive and taking control of your energy deals. This counts as a direct boost to your business' bottom line, or will allow you to free up some funds to be invested elsewhere. But there are other benefits involved, too.

You are also helping to safeguard the presence of good business energy deals in the future. The more businesses that show they’re savvy by shopping around, the more competition that generates in the market. Competition puts pressure on suppliers, which ultimately has the power to lower prices. This is exactly what’s beginning to happen in the domestic energy market – where prices keep dropping and deals are getting cheaper – and there’s no reason the same can’t be true for commercial energy customers. As such, if more businesses were to switch to green energy suppliers, then that would drive more competition amongst renewable energy suppliers – pushing the price of green energy down for all.

Another one of the biggest perks is the impact that engaging with the energy market can have on energy efficiency and sustainability: Once you switch your energy supplier, you'll probably find that you're more aware of just how much energy you consume. For many business owners, this is because they don't want to jeopardize any savings they've just made on their energy -- and it's no secret that improving your efficiency is a great way to cut those costs even more.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that business energy customers need to make the effort to engage with the business energy market. With recent government and industry focus mainly on domestic consumers, businesses may have to take it upon themselves to make the first move. It makes sense to encourage businesses to actively engage with the energy market, as it could benefit the individual businesses, the wider economy and sustainability, too.

An experienced writer and marketer, Hannah is passionate about small businesses, and endeavours to help them in any way she can. Usually, this amounts to writing and spreading information, tips and tricks for small and medium sized businesses across the web. She often writes for Make It Cheaper: a small business electricity switching service. To keep up with Hannah’s latest musings, you can follow her on Twitter, or connect on Google Plus.

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