Don’t rest on your laurelsIt’s fairly typical for growing business employees to wear many hats, and it might not always be clear who’s in charge of provider contracts. With no specific facilities manager, the temptation may be to just let a contract roll over – if you got a cheap plan in the first place and you’re happy with your service, why bother wasting all that time trawling through new contract plans? Unfortunately, even if you’re happy with your plan you’re unlikely to be rolled over onto the same one. You may have signed up to a cheap-rate, but get rolled over onto a standard tariff that ends up costing your business more. For this reason, when you get that notice of your switching window, it is nearly always worth looking into other plans. However, switching doesn’t always have to mean switching provider – you can also take advantage of your switching window to renegotiate deals with your current supplier. Ofgem reports that there has been a recent shift away from rolled over contracts towards renegotiated contracts with existing suppliers. This is more likely to be the case for businesses that use a higher than average amount of energy, which makes sense given the correlation with cost. Businesses spend on average around £4,000 a year on mains electricity, which accounts for an average 14 per cent of operating costs. Mains gas is lower, but still significant, at just under £3,000 year on average.
Switch contracts with easeWith easy access to suppliers’ website and tariffs and the obligatory notice of the switching window, it is easier than ever for businesses to get on top of energy contracts. Ofgem found that nearly two thirds of all businesses have switched energy suppliers in the last five years, and that the proportion of all businesses that have switched in the last year has increased slightly (23 per cent in 2014 to 25 per cent in 2015). This shows business owners are getting to grips with the industry, and making it work for them. In addition, overall views of the switching process have been positive, with 61 per cent of businesses claiming that the switching process was easy. While your supplier will send notice, it doesn’t hurt to keep track of when your energy contract will end yourself and start shopping around in advance. That way, when your switching window arrives, you should have a good idea of whether you want to switch contracts or renegotiate your tariff. Switching is a great way to make sure your business is getting the best value for money, and doesn’t get taken for a ride. Overall, you might be surprised how affordable going green is – and in the long run, it might end up being a boon to your business, and your reputation.
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