What to do about your electricity and gas supply
When you're moving into business premises - whether it’s for the first time, because you're expanding or simply a change of location - you’re bound to be busy, and struggling under the weight of a huge to-do list. So it won't be a big surprise if electricity and gas get pushed to the bottom of the list.
Your energy supply may be easy to overlook, but doing so can be an expensive mistake. In this guide, we give you a simple set of steps to follow that will save you time, money and hassle.
1. Check the meters and connections
Before you move in, you should check if the premises are connected and have both electricity and gas meters if that’s what you need.
When moving into a previously occupied premises, you need to be wary of whether the premises has been disconnected, for example if the previous tenant got into debt. This can take both time and money to sort out so it’s good to know before you move in. In cases such as this you may be asked to pay a reconnection fee, and a deposit, even the though the debt that lead to the disconnection wasn't yours.
Case studies from Consumer Futures in these situations highlight the severity of the problem:
The owner of an Edinburgh restaurant discovered that the gas meter in his new premises had been removed because of the previous tenant’s debt. The supplier wanted a £2,000 fee for the reconnection plus a security deposit, which the owner could not afford to pay, so he had to go without gas.
A Wokingham-based entrepreneur looking to expand his chain of restaurants found that the premises he had leased had been disconnected. He made several calls to the supplier over the course of three months, but wasn’t able to get reconnected, so he had to give up his lease and find new premises.
New Build Premises
If you’re moving into a newly built premise, you may find that that the building has not yet been connected, or it might only have an electricity connection.
There is often a charge for being connected, so it’s good to know how much this will be and exactly what you’re dealing with before you move in, not only in terms of cost but also in the time it will take to get you up and running.
It pays to start thinking about these issues and your new business energy contract even before you move in. Business Juice, can not only help you get connected to get the supply your business needs but we can also get you the perfect business energy tariff for you from day one.
2. Find the right business energy contract
Even if you don’t need any connections work, it’s still a very good idea to get your business energy contract sorted before you move into your new premises.
You don’t need to wait until you move in to sort out a contract, you can do it beforehand - you just need a signed tenancy agreement, and proof that your business exists, like a website.
If you move in to a premise without a contract in place, you’ll pay what’s known as deemed rates. These won’t be the cheapest on the market and also leave you exposed to price fluctuations.
Worse still, you could end up paying out-of-contract rates if you don’t enter into a contract quickly. Out-of-contract rates are typically double the market rate, so you want to avoid this at all costs.
The best way round this is to notify your supplier immediately you move in or out to ensure you're fully covered contractually and not paying too much. Our handy CoT letters will give you a head start in this, feel free to use them, simply identify your supplier and download the relevant letter.
3. Ignore the cold calls
It is a sad fact that ‘movers’ data is a precious commodity in the business energy market. Unscrupulous tradesmen will sell your details on to ‘boiler room’ style energy sales companies and they will inundate you with calls from the moment you move in.
This is at best irritating, at worst fraudulent.
Don’t fall for their tricks. They may pretend to be from an official sounding business such as "The Meter Registration Agency", and to demand you change supplier immediately or lose your supply.
This is frankly rubbish. Even if such an organisation existed they would NEVER be involved in any sort of commercial matter and certainly wouldn't threaten disconnection!
Be firm with the cold callers; tell them you’re not interested and that you have already sorted your energy supply needs (even if you haven’t).
One good thing that will come of this is that if you had forgotten to sort your new business energy contact, at least these calls will prompt you to act, contact Business Juice and enter a deal on your terms.
Business Juice Top Tip
If you’ve just moved into a premise, never engage with a cold calling energy sales company. Only ever engage with a reputable business energy broker that YOU have located and chosen as your partner.
Happily, once you’re in the premise and contracted you are unlikely to be bothered again (until you next move!) however by entering a relationship with the broker of your choice you can be doubly sure that you are protected from the worst excesses of dodgy energy sales.
Even if you are not a Business Juice customer, and you have been bombarded with energy sales calls, we’d be happy to hear from you and to advise you as to whether you were being contacted by a reputable or disreputable organisation and provide you with some further tips on how to handle the nuisance calls.
4. Tie up the loose ends
On the day you move, make sure you take meter readings at both your old and new premises and give them to your old and new energy suppliers to make sure you get an accurate final bill. You don’t want to pay for the previous tenant’s energy usage!
Also make sure your old supplier has your new address, and keep your eye out for your final bill so you can pay it and close the account and that chapter of your business’s history.