Commercial Energy FAQ
At Commercial Energy Advisors, our industry experts are researching the energy market every day to ensure we have all the knowledge needed to consult and advise on everything related to commercial energy. Some of the more frequently asked questions have been categorised into topics and our responses are here for your support:
- What is a Standing Charge on my Bill?
- Why do I have other charges on my Energy Bill?
- What is RO on my Energy Bill?
- What does FIT mean on my Bill?
- How do I reduce my energy prices?
- Why do my energy costs keep rising?
- How do I get cheaper electricity/gas?
- How do I know my energy supplier?
- What does ‘A’ mean on my energy bill?
- What does ‘E’ mean on my energy bill?
- How do I find out when my electricity contract expires?
- Can I break my energy contract early?
- How do I cancel my energy contract?
- Where can I submit a meter read?
- Can I get a business energy contract with bad credit?
- Can I move energy supplier if I’m in debt?
- Can I get a business energy contract if I’m not a ltd company?
Understanding My Energy Bill:
How do I understand my Energy Bill? With the commercial energy market consisting of more than 90+ licensed suppliers for Gas and Electricity, there’s 90+ variations of a potential energy bill. As a result, understanding your bill may not always be that easy to explain, depending on your particular supplier’s template. At Commercial Energy Advisors, we offer various levels of bill validation, from pointing you in the right direction of where to look, to a comprehensive analysis making sure each and every bill is as expected, based on your current contract tariff and meter reads provided.
If you’re unsure on anything relating to your energy bill, complete our enquiry form below highlighting your concern and one of our experts will be in touch to discuss how they can help.
What is a Standing Charge on my Bill?
If your energy bill references a standing charge, then this forms part of the tariff you’re on with your current supplier. Most suppliers will include a ‘Standing Charge’ as this covers their costs to ensure ‘live’ energy is connected to your meter ready for when you require usage. It mainly incorporates minimum transportation costs and is charged by suppliers to ensure costs are recovered before usage. Some suppliers may list ‘Admin Fee’ on the bill but this is often the same charge just alternatively labelled.
Why do I have other charges on my Energy Bill?
Energy prices have changed considerably over the last few years with the introduction of multiple government levies. The total energy cost you pay consists of 2 separate elements, ‘Commodity’ and ‘Non-Commodity.
The ‘Commodity’ is the cost of energy from where it’s sourced to how it’s delivered. ‘Non-Commodity’ refers to government levies which are included in your energy costs for sustainability purposes.
The current ‘Non-Commodity’ costs are:
- Renewable Obligation (RO)
- Feed in Tariff (FIT)
- Contracts for Difference (CFD)
- Capacity Mechanism (CM)
- Transmission Loss (Tloss)
- Distribution Loss (Dloss)
- Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS)
- Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS)
- Distribution Use of System (DUoS)
Each non-commodity charge individually creates a fund that goes towards either maintaining the national grid in some way, or protecting the future infrastructure of the electricity market by investing towards future energy sources which can maintain the security of supply for the UK.
To understand more about why these charges are listed separately on your energy bill, please complete our inquiry for highlighting your concern and one of our specialist advisors will be in touch to support.
What is RO on my Energy Bill?
Renewables Obligation (RO) is one of a number of government levies which make up a percentage of the total electricity price. All licensed electricity suppliers are obliged to source a growing proportion of electricity supply from renewable sources, and the RO charge builds the fund which pays for the research and generation of renewable energy within the UK.
If you are seeing RO as a visible charge on your Energy Bill, then it’s being charged as an additional separate cost to your unit rate, and must therefore not be included at a ‘fixed’ fee within your contract. This will mean the cost is being ‘passed through’ at the government nominated cost and could be subject to change at any time.
To understand more about your contract and how much RO may cost, please complete our enquiry form online and one of our leading experts will be in touch to discuss in more detail.
What does FIT mean on my Bill?
Feed in Tariff (FIT) and the charge on your bill will contribute towards a government scheme which aims to provide payments to households or businesses generating their own electricity, usually through the use of methods that do not contribute towards the depletion of natural resources.
The tariffs have been introduced by the Government to help increase the level of renewable energy in the UK towards our legally binding target of 15% of total energy from renewables by 2020.
How do I reduce my energy prices?
We often get asked how can you reduce your energy prices? What’s the cheapest business tariff? Who’s the cheapest energy suppler? Etc… Unfortunately, the electricity market is a very complex place, particularly when it comes to business energy so finding the cheapest tariff or the supplier who can reduce your energy costs isn’t always the easiest task. With many variables including the type of contract you require ‘fixed’ or flexible’, the inclusion/pass through of the full ‘cost stack’, contract duration and further bespoke restrictions relating to your business (industry, location, credit score etc), it can often be a minefield trying to know where at start and who to talk too…
At Commercial Energy Advisor, we understand these complexities and know there’s no one singular answer that fits every business. By understanding the products and core benefits of every supplier and broker within the industry, we can offer a comprehensive qualification of your enquiry to ensure you’re provided with the best insight on how to potentially reduce your energy costs. Free from the bias of being a supplier or consultant ourselves, our aim is to support you in considering every avenue available to minimise your business spend, before referring you to a trusted partner who can work with you to reach your goal of cheaper energy.
To find out more, please complete our ‘enquiry’ form and one of expert consultants will contact you to discuss what you’re looking for in more detail.
Why do my energy costs keep rising?
We receive daily enquiries from customers who want to understand why their energy costs are rising year on year, and with the average energy spend having increased by 25% between 2015-2018, we can understand why.
The answer isn’t simple, but our Energy Cost Stack breakdown highlights the make-up of your energy costs and offers explanations as to what you’re paying for and how those costs can be controlled.
To understand more about the ways you can manage your ‘cost stack’ and potentially understand your projected energy costs over the next few years, please complete our online enquiry form and one of our expert consultants will contact you to discuss how controlling the cost stack may allow you to minimise your overall energy spend.
How do I get cheaper electricity/gas?
To understand this question, you first need to understand exactly what you’re looking for. Is it a cheaper electricity/gas contract/unit price, or cheaper energy bills and lower energy spend?
There’s 2 ways to lower you spend:
- Get the cheapest contract (Energy Procurement)
- Use less energy (Energy Management)
Within a rising energy market, obtaining a ‘cheaper’ contract than the one you’re coming out of may not always be possible (depending on how competitive your existing contract is), but with so many suppliers and consultants within the market place offering their own contracts and products, validating the ‘cheapest’ one in a like for like manner can be like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Energy prices are complex and with varying ways to purchase your energy, finding the right proposal for you requires expert analysis which can often be time consuming and unrewarding, especially when it’s not your core subject and you have your own business to run.
Commercial Energy Advisors can help! We aim to understand your business and understand the value we can add by using our expertise to point you in the right direction. Whether it’s analysing your current contract to make sure your renewal offers a reduction, or analysing your consumption habits and offering insight to behavioural changes that could see your spend reduced by using less or using differently, we aim to find the optimum solution that works for you and your business.
Please complete the below enquiry form and one of our Industry experts will be in contact to run through a bespoke checklist to ensure we can do everything available to identify the ways for you to achieve cheaper electricity and gas.
How do I know my energy supplier?
To identify your electricity supplier, you can contact your local distribution company and provide them with your full address which should allow them to use the national database and inform you who supplies your premises.
Alternatively, we can do this for you. Please fill in our enquiry form with your supply address and business name, and we’ll identify your current supplier on your behalf.
What does ‘A’ mean on my energy bill?
‘A’ stands for actual read meaning the charging period and costs associated are based on accurate meter readings being provided, therefore it should represent an accurate reflection of the energy that has been used.
What does ‘E’ mean on my energy bill?
‘E’ stands for estimated read meaning the charging period and costs associated are based on estimated meter readings. This is likely to mean your bill isn’t completely accurate and will require some form of reconciliation once the next meter read is added to the account.
How do I find out when my electricity contract expires?
Your current supplier has an obligation to provide you with this information over the phone or by email. It may however be visible on your invoices with the information sometimes present on the charges page, depending on the supplier.
At Commercial Energy Advisors, we can also obtain this information on your behalf providing a letter of authority has been signed to authorise this activity to be carried out.
Please complete the enquiry form below and we’ll arrange for a letter of authority to be emailed across.
Can I break my energy contract early?
This will depend on the t’s and c’s which accompanied your contract at the point of agreement. Within commercial contracts, it’s unlikely that you can willingly choose to break your contract without reason, however if you are legally vacating the premises, a change of occupier form can be completed and this will end the contract (usually without an exit fee) on the final day you occupy the premises.
Please fill in our enquiry form with your business name and contact phone number and one of our expert advisors will be in touch to discuss your options in more detail.
How do I cancel my energy contract?
You can provide termination notice to your energy supplier at any time during your contract but you cannot cancel your contract early unless you feel there has been a breach of agreement (usually opposing the agreed t’s and c’s), or as per the above, you are leaving the premises for where the contract is agreed.
Where can I submit a meter read?
This can usually be supplied over the phone by calling customer services and providing them with your Account number, meter number and relevant data protection information. It may also be able to be submitted via email or online depending on your energy supplier.
If you’re having trouble submitting a meter read, please complete our enquiry form with your contact details and one of our trained advisors will be in touch to support and provide the meter read on your behalf.
Can I get a business energy contract with bad credit?
The credit rating of your business makes a big difference to which energy suppliers you can go to for business gas or electricity and what rates you can secure. … Many suppliers will offer quotes but some may be subject to credit and therefore offers may change or be withdrawn depending on your credit status.
If you are unsure on your business credit history or you feel it may be an issue, too many credit checks carried out by energy suppliers could further damage your ability to obtain the most competitive quote, therefore it’s important to understand which suppliers you should try and approach first.
At Commercial Energy Advisor, we work with all leading UK suppliers and understand the varying levels of credit criteria within each supplier. As a result of this, we aim to understand your credit position before you approach the market so we can ensure you’re recommended and passed to the consultant or supplier who is most likely to offer you a competitive price based on your circumstances.
For more information, please complete the enquiry form below and one of our expert advisors will be in touch to discuss in more detail.
Can I move energy supplier if I’m in debt?
This will depend on various factors, most notably the value of debt and how long this has been outstanding. If you’re in debt and have a payment plan, most suppliers wouldn’t allow you to leave due to the difficulties and cost they may ensue when trying to chase for future payments if the payment arrangement isn’t kept. They do however have a duty to offer you a ‘reasonable’ contract rate whilst on supply. If you’re out of contract and have a payment plan, it would be worth trying to negotiate a new rate that could cover the remaining duration of the payment plan + ongoing usage costs. At the end of that period you should have cleared your debt, your contract will have ended and you should then be free to leave.
For more information on how to arrange a payment plan and extend your contract, please get in touch with one of our industry experts who will support.
Can I get a business energy contract if I’m not a ltd company?
Yes, all business contracts are subject to a credit approval so a sole trader, partnership or ltd company can obtain the same rates providing they meet the credit criteria of the supplier offering the contract.
If you have any concerns relating to your business status and the influence this may have on obtaining the most competitive energy contract, please complete our enquiry form and one of our leading credit consultants will be in contact to discuss in more detail.