Energy Connect Market

How to Compare Business Electricity Plans Online: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Compare Business Electricity Plans Online: A Step-by-Step Guide

In today’s market, managing your business’s electricity costs is key. Switching to a better electricity plan can save you thousands. Here’s a simple guide to help you compare business electricity plans online and make an informed decision.

1. Understand Your Business’s Energy Usage

Usage Patterns

First, you need to know your business’s energy usage patterns. Review your past bills to see your average monthly usage. Look for patterns of high and low usage. This will help you choose a plan that suits your business. Seasonal variations and peak usage times need to be taken into account. For example, if your business uses more electricity in summer due to air conditioning, this needs to be factored in.

Categorise Consumption

Break down your energy usage into categories, such as lighting, heating, cooling and equipment. This will help you identify areas where you can reduce consumption or adjust your usage patterns to save costs. Consider doing an energy audit to find inefficiencies. Energy audits will show if older equipment is using more power than it needs to, so if upgrades are worth it in the long run.

2. Get Relevant Information

Find Your Contract and Bills

Get your current electricity contract and a recent bill. These documents have all the important information, such as your current rates, contract end date and meter numbers. This information is crucial for comparing new plans. Make sure you have your business’s annual energy usage and what type of meter you have, as some plans are more suitable for certain meter types.

Know Your Tariff

What type of tariff are you on (fixed, variable or time-of-use) and what are the charges. Fixed tariffs have stable rates, variable tariffs can change and time-of-use tariffs charge different rates at different times of day. Knowing your tariff will help you see if switching to a different one will save you money. For example, businesses that operate mostly off-peak might benefit from a time-of-use tariff.

3. Compare Rates and Plans

Use Comparison Websites

Use online comparison tools and websites. These platforms allow you to input your usage details and compare plans side by side. Websites like Uswitch, Canstar Blue and Electricity Rates have comparison features. These platforms often have filters to narrow down options by contract length, green energy options and price guarantees.

Analyse Rates and Fees

Look beyond the advertised rates. Consider base charges, peak and off-peak rates and any other surcharges. Make sure you know the full cost of each plan. Calculate your total monthly or annual cost by factoring in your usage patterns and all the applicable charges. Some providers have hidden fees for things like paper billing or late payments so be thorough in your research.

4. Contract Terms

Read the Fine Print

Read the contract terms. Look at contract length, early termination fees and renewal terms. Short term contracts offer more flexibility, long term contracts may offer more stability but could lock you in at rates that become unfavorable. Check if there are automatic renewals and what the terms are. Knowing if a rate increase can happen after the initial term can prevent future surprises.

Renewable Energy

If environmental sustainability is important to your business, consider plans that offer renewable energy sources like wind or solar power. Many providers now offer green energy plans that are competitive in price. Research any available incentives for businesses that choose renewable energy plans, like tax credits or rebates. This can make green energy options not only environmentally responsible but also financially attractive​​.

5. Customer Reviews and Ratings

Research Providers

Check customer reviews and ratings of different electricity providers. Real customer experiences can give you an idea of the reliability and customer service of a provider. Look for consistent feedback on billing accuracy, customer support and overall satisfaction. Sites like Trustpilot or Google Reviews can be good sources of unbiased customer opinions​.

Provider Reputation

Choose providers with a good reputation in the market. Long established providers may offer stability and reliability, newer providers may offer innovative solutions and competitive rates. Research the provider’s track record for service interruptions and response times to issues. A reliable provider means your business operations won’t be disrupted by power related problems​​.

6. Energy Brokers

Professional Support

Consider using a business energy broker. Brokers can simplify the comparison process by negotiating on your behalf and giving you access to exclusive deals. They can also help you understand complex terms and conditions​. Brokers often have inside knowledge of which providers offer the best rates and which plans are best for your business type.

Brokers vs Direct Comparison

While brokers can save you time, it’s also good to do your own research. Combining both can get you the best deal for your business. Brokers may charge a fee or get a commission from providers so make sure you understand any costs involved before you commit. Weigh up these costs against the savings they can get for you​​.

7. Switch

Switch Now

Once you’ve chosen your plan, switch. Contact your new provider or use the online platform to do it. Have all your documents and info ready​. The new provider will take care of the switch for you, including notifying your current provider and any paperwork.

Confirm the Details

Confirm the start date and end date of your new plan and your current contract to avoid any overlap or gaps in service. Tell your current provider you’re switching, according to your contract’s notice period​. Note any final bills from your previous provider and make sure all are paid to avoid disruptions or extra fees.

8. Check Your Energy Usage

Post Switch Review

After you’ve switched, monitor your energy usage and bills to make sure you’re getting the expected benefits. Regular reviews will help you spot any anomalies or areas to save more. Compare your new bills to the old ones to see if the switch has delivered the expected cost savings​.

Energy Efficiency Measures

Implement energy efficiency measures in your business to save more. Simple things like upgrading to energy efficient lighting, optimising heating and cooling systems and educating your employees on energy saving practices can make a big difference​​. Consider investing in energy efficient equipment and smart meters to manage and monitor your energy usage in real-time.

Conclusion

Comparing business electricity plans online is a smart way to manage your business costs. By knowing your energy usage, using comparison tools, reading the fine print and checking customer reviews you can find a plan that suits your business and budget. Also, professional energy brokers can help you navigate the energy market. Switching informed can save you big and reduce your business’s carbon footprint. This guide gives you the tools to take control of your business electricity costs. With planning and regular reviews, you’ll get the best rates and terms for your business and overall profitability.