Business energy suppliers operate a wide variety of policies with regards the payment methods they will accept from their customers. Combined with their credit score requirements and their preference for certain business sectors above others, it soon becomes quite a minefield to understand which suppliers offer contract terms that suit your business needs.
To help you navigate the market and identify the suppliers that best fit your business criteria we have put together a guide of who offers what payment terms and at what cost.
It is crucial to remember however that choosing Direct Debit terms with your business energy supplier will invariably be the cheapest way to enter a contract, and alternative payment methods such as Cash/Cheque terms will potentially carry an explicit or inbuilt premium.
Some suppliers even offer a discount for customers to select direct debit as their preferred payment method to reward the greater certainty of payment it brings for their business. Our advice would always be to choose direct debit, not only is it cheaper but it also opens up a much wider range of contract choices.
Mandated Direct Debit Payments
In order to explore the options for your business, firstly we'll focus on those suppliers who mandate that their customers MUST pay by Direct Debit and who do not accept any other method of payment. These are:
Direct Debit with Discount
Two suppliers currently offer an explicit discount for their customers who choose to pay by Direct Debit, these are:
- EDF who offer a 7% Discount
- E.ON who reward customers with a 4% Discount
Business energy suppliers also manage their Direct Debit payment terms in alternative ways:
Variable Direct Debits
The following business energy suppliers’ employ a variable Direct Debit policy under which the amount your business pays each month will changed based on your actual (or estimated) consumption:
Fixed Direct Debits
In contrast some business energy suppliers offer fixed Direct Debit deals whereby your business pays the same amount of money each month, regardless of consumption, providing increased clarity of cost and certainty of cash flow for your business. Please note however that the ‘fixed’ level will be reviewed by the supplier to ensure your business is covering the cost of its actual or estimated usage. In some circumstances therefore the ‘fixed’ level may be amended. The business energy suppliers who operate this policy are:
The final Direct Debit variable is the regularity of the charges or Direct Debit Frequency
The majority of business energy suppliers
stipulate Monthly Direct Debit; some however offer the option of Quarterly Direct Debit subject to certain criteria, and potential premium charges.
Monthly Direct Debit
Those suppliers who adopt a policy of Monthly Direct Debit are:
Quarterly Direct Debit
The suppliers who offer a Quarterly Direct Debit option are:
For business energy customers who don't want to or cannot pay by Direct Debit their options are much more limited, only three suppliers offer a Cash/Cheque payment method at no extra charge
Cash/Cheque Payments No Extra Charge
Cash/Cheque Payments at Extra Charge
A further two suppliers will offer Cash/Cheque terms however they will load additional charges into their product to address the loss of the certainty that comes with non Direct Debit payment. The suppliers who do this, and an indicative idea of the potential extra charges are:
- SSE who can charge up to 2% premium
- Total Gas & Power who adopt a policy of charging non Direct Debit customers £25 per month to cover additional collection and administration costs
Finally there are a limited set of additional suppliers who will consider offering Cash/Cheque payment terms on a case-by-case basis.
Limited Cash/Cheque Payments