The average small business spends £5,100 on electricity and £4,100 on gas each year, so hopefully you know where those bills are going and who exactly is keeping your lights on. However, businesses are among the least engaged energy customers, and it may have been years since you last assessed your energy provider.
While rates of switching among domestic energy market have soared, with 15.8% of households switching gas and/or electricity supplier in 2016, they’ve lagged in the B2B energy market, especially among SMEs – despite a growing number of online business energy comparison services. In 2013, Ofgem found that 40% of small and medium enterprises hadn’t changed their energy supplier in five years and those figures haven’t budged. This year utility consultancy Watt found that 64% of businesses don’t plan on switching supplier within the next 12 months.
So it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that you’re unclear who’s currently supplying your premise. Or maybe Dave knew and he’s retired or on holiday and it’s come to you to reassess your energy tariff and find out where all those kilowatt hours are coming from—and pounds going.
More understandably, you may simply have moved into a new commercial premise, either relocating from an old one or as part of a new venture. The lights are on, the staff and the Xerox machines are home, but who’s powering them? You’ll want to submit meter readings as soon as possible, so you’re not charged for a previous tenants’ use, but who do you contact once you’ve taken them?
Your first port of call will be the property’s landlord, who should be able to provide you with information about the premise’s current gas and electricity supply. Failing that you could contact the previous tenant, who likely set up the connection. After they vacated the premise, the supply likely won’t have stopped, but their contract did. You will generally be on a so-called deemed tariff, at a pricy default rate, with this old tenant’s supplier.
Eventually you’ll receive a bill from the supplier for the energy you’re using within these initial days, before you set up an energy tariff with your own supplier. Which you should always do, to save money and find a tariff and supplier that best suits your business’s needs. However, you shouldn’t wait the several weeks it will take for the bill addressed ‘Occupant’ to slide through your letter box and solve the mystery.
If you can’t get in contact with either the landlord or previous tenants, there are other avenues to determining a property’s current energy supply. Read on.
Who supplies electricity to my business?
To find out the current electricity supplier for your commercial premise, call your regional electricity distribution company, the numbers of which are listed below. Once connected, ask to speak to the meter point administration service (MPAS). They have access to the Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service (ECOES), a database listing the electricity supplier of every address in the UK, commercial and domestic.
|Region||Electricity Distribution Company||Number|
|North Scotland||Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks||0800 048 3515|
|Central and Southern Scotland||SP Energy Networks||0330 1010 300|
|North East England and Yorkshire||Northern Powergrid||0800 011 3332|
|North West England||Electricity North West||0800 195 4141|
|Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales & North Shropshire||SP Energy Networks||0330 1010 300|
|East Midlands & West Midlands||Western Power Distribution||0800 096 3080|
|South Wales & South West England||Western Power Distribution||0800 096 3080|
|London, South East England & Eastern England||UK Power Networks||0800 029 4285|
|Southern England||Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks||0800 048 3516|
|Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland Electricity Networks||03457 643 643|
Who supplies gas to my business?
Because dual fuel tariffs, with both gas and electricity, don’t exist on the commercial market, it’s likely that the gas supplier for the property will be different from the electricity supplier.
Again, you could simply ask the landlord or previous tenant who the gas supplier to the property is. You might get lucky and find the previous tenant has left bills behind identifying the supplier although, with the rise of paperless billing, you might not get a change to play detective, going through their bins.
If you can’t get in contact with the landlord or previous tenant or they’re unable to help, call the Meter NumberHelpline on 0870 608 1524. You’ll need to provide them with Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN), the unique 6 to 10 digit gas supply reference code. You’ll find it on your gas meter. If you’re unable to locate it, staff at the Meter Number Helpline should be able to guide you. This number will enable them to determine the current gas supplier for the property.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.