When running a business, choosing the right energy provider with a fit-for-purpose solution can make all the difference. With rising energy costs and many companies vying to be your chosen provider, it’s important to know how to evaluate potential suppliers in order to get the best deal for your business.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the practical steps involved in changing your energy provider and provide guidance on how to identify a quality supplier with competitive rates. Get ready to dig into all the details – because once you know what you need, making that switch can really pay off.
- There are many considerations for businesses when deciding to change energy providers
- Your business location will affect your options
- Understanding your current energy usage can help you find a better future plan
- Compare your current plan with other energy providers
- The switching process can take time
Why switch energy providers?
There are many reasons a business will be considering switching energy providers. At the moment, the volatility of the market and a sharp increase in costs has really impacted the hip pocket of many businesses.
Other than finding a better price, you might consider making the switch to:
- Find a solution that better suits your business
- Align with an electricity provider who has better service
- Find a plan with a flexible contract
- Take advantage of solar electricity rebates
How can I change my energy provider?
If you are under a small business plan, and the term of your plan is not up, you may have small additional fees for breaking the term. This should be factored into whether or not now is the right time for you to switch providers. Or whether you would be better off waiting until the plan expires to switch. It doesn’t hurt to explore your options whether you are locked into a plan or not, as you might find even with the exit fees, you are better off switching providers.
Interestingly, as a major shake-up to the Better Bills Guidelines, the new ‘better offer’ statement will now appear on power bills in Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, South Australia and Tasmania. The Energy Regulator now requires power companies to notify customers whether they’d be better off under a different energy plan.
How to find a better energy plan
Start by finding out what plan you’re on now.
Look at a past bill and check daily supply charges, general usage rates, and tariffs. These can be confusing – electricity bills are notoriously hard to understand and compare!
You’ll either be on:
- A single flat general usage rate – where you pay the same rate whenever you turn on the power.
- A time-of-usage rate – where the price of electricity changes at different times of day, with peak, off-peak and shoulder periods.
- A multi-flat or block-usage rate – where you pay one rate for the first part of your usage and then a different rate for subsequent parts.
You may also be paying a demand tariff. This is an additional fee based on the highest peak in energy usage for the month. It is a fee to ensure your provider has the capacity to meet your ‘demand’ for that same maximum level of usage across the month should it be needed.
If you’re on a general-usage or time-of-usage rate, you may also have a ‘controlled load‘ rate linked to a specific appliance (such as a hot water system) that only works at off-peak times.
Depending on what type of meter, you’ll be charged according to:
- If you have a smart, interval or advanced meter, you can be on a flat tariff, block tariff, demand tariff or a time-of-use tariff.
- If you have an accumulation meter, you’ll be on a flat or block tariff.
Phone your energy provider and ask what they’ll offer you to stay
Speak to your energy provider and ask them what plan you’re on. Then tell them you’re looking for a better deal and ask these questions:
- What kind of incentives or deals can you offer me to stay with your company?
- Is the incentive or discount conditional, like paying on time?
- Is the incentive for the life of the contract or does it end after a period of time? If so, what happens then?
- Does the discount incentive cover the whole bill or just the electricity usage portion?
- Which plan has the lowest tariff and usage rates?
- Is the plan fixed or variable?
Your provider may offer you a plan with a discount, but it still may not be the best deal for you, so it’s better to check. Discounts can hide high usage rates or, if they have conditions attached, they can end up costing you a lot more if you don’t meet the conditions.
So before committing to any new offer from your current provider, it’s worth doing some research.
Compare your current offer with other plans
Energy Made Easy is the Australian Government’s free, independent website where you can compare electricity offers. Unlike commercial switching websites, Energy Made Easy generally shows available offers and does not take commissions from retailers. Our experience shows that not all plans are registered here, and we have negotiated many bespoke deals over the years that were not listed on this site. Nevertheless, it’s a starting point.
When comparing deals, consider the following factors:
- The rate per kWh
- Fixed supply charges
- Discounts: do these apply to the whole bill or usage only? This can make a big difference in savings.
- Late fees: pay-on-time discounts are typical on many plans
- Billing: how often do you receive your bill, and how can you pay?
- Other fees: for example, paper bills or paying by credit card
- Length of contract: are there any exit fees or fees for moving premises?
- Any other terms and conditions
- Your gas plan: if you have mains gas, find out whether moving your electricity and gas to the same retailer is cheaper.
How to switch energy providers
If you find a better deal, contact your current provider and see if they’ll match it or do better. If they can’t, it’s a good time to re-check any fees you’d have to pay for leaving.
If you decide to switch, be aware that the switching process can take one to three months, depending on your provider, distributor and where you are in the billing cycle. It’s generally quicker if you have a smart meter installed.
Your electricity or gas supply won’t be interrupted when you change contracts or move to a different retailer.
Know your rights
If you’re switching electricity plans, you have a cooling-off period of 10 business days, which begins on the date you sign up to the energy contract. You can change your mind and cancel the contract within this period.
Changing energy providers for your business can be confusing and time-consuming. More importantly, you want to get it right and find the most cost-practical approach.
At WiseUp Energy, we take the confusion out of this process and provide a variety of services. Whether it’s an electricity bill audit to better understand your costs and contracts or advocacy to resolve billing errors we have you covered.
Energy is one of business’s most misunderstood recurring expenses and this must change. Now more than ever, we need clarity over costs and access to your own energy data to make better-informed decisions.
Book your no-obligation 15-minute Energy Cost Management consult with us today.