Business electricity suppliers and prices
Want to know which electricity suppliers are best for your small business, and find out how much to budget? Read on for all the answers...
As a startup owner, you’re likely to wonder which are the best electricity suppliers for small businesses. Plus, as electricity is a necessity for running your business, you’ll want to know if electricity is really expensive and what the costs are, to give you an indication of how much you should budget for this aspect of your business operations.
We’ll profile the best business electricity suppliers, as well as what you should take into consideration when comparing suppliers. We’ll also cover all things finance-related, from payment options to saving money. And since running a business in different parts of the country can be very different, we’ll also offer a guide to regional variations in business electricity prices.
Business electricity suppliers and prices: At a glance
|Supplier||Best for||Price per kWh||Standing charge|
|Utility Warehouse||Simple billing||Contact provider||Price on request|
|Bulb||Eco-friendly energy||From 12.05p+||27.40p|
|Opus||Returning customers||23.5p or 25.5p||95p or 300p|
To compare business electricity quotes, simply complete the form at the top of the page.
The best business electricity suppliers
In this section, we profile five of the best electricity suppliers for business, including details of which types of businesses are best suited to each supplier.
With a Trustpilot score of 7.8/10, Yü is one of the better rated business electricity suppliers out there. It offers both gas and electricity for businesses, as well as water tariffs. Its support team has a ‘three ring pick-up’ target, making Yü the best supplier for customer services.
It’s a green supplier, too, offering 100% certified renewable green energy across most of its plans. Its renewable electricity generation is supported by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates (REGOs), which is backed by an administered scheme from OFGEM (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets).
Supplier Rating: ★★★★★
- ‘Great’ Trustpilot rating of 7.8/10
- 100% renewable energy plans available
- A customer services team with a ‘three ring pick-up’ target
- Contract termination window depends on the size of the business: micro-businesses can terminate a contract at any time, whereas non-micro businesses have a termination window of 90-120 days before the contract end date
- Contract termination administration fees range from £200 to £350 (plus VAT), depending on circumstances
Supplying to over 400,000 UK businesses, British Gas is the leading UK energy provider. Such safety in numbers suggests that it’s very experienced in dealing with businesses of all shapes and sizes, which is why we think it’s the best supplier for businesses wanting to use an established provider.
Supplier Rating: ★★★★★
- Competitive rates
- Offers installation for a variety of meters, including smart meters
- One, two, and three-year contracts available (guaranteed rate protected against price rises)
- Great for multi-site businesses, offering dedicated multi-site plans and switching teams
- Minimum one year contract
- ‘Average’ Trustpilot rating (6.8/10)
- Only 43% of its electricity is generated renewably
Utility Warehouse is a great option for those starting a new business, because you can get your mobile, broadband, landline, gas, and electricity all in one simple bill – our startup prayers have been answered! With multiple services billed together, Utility Warehouse is the best for simple billing.
Top tip: If you’re already in a contract, opt for ‘gold status’ services as Utility Warehouse offers up to £200 towards exit fees that may be charged by your current provider.
Supplier Rating: ★★★★★
- One bill for multiple services
- ‘Great’ Trustpilot rating (7.7/10)
- Customer rewards and discounts
- Great for multi-site businesses
- UK call centre
- Quotes only available on request
Combining epic customer service with super low, yet super transparent rates, Bulb can prove its mettle as a business electricity supplier.
As the highest ranked energy provider on Trustpilot, its reviews speak volumes. Oh, and did we mention that its electricity is 100% renewable? With green credentials like these, we make Bulb the best supplier for businesses wanting to use an eco-friendly energy provider.
Supplier Rating: ★★★★★
- No exit fees
- No long-term contracts
- 100% renewable electricity
- Great for multi-site businesses
- Best rated energy supplier on Trustpilot (9.6/10)
- One tariff, for greater transparency
- Very competitive rates
- Bulb does not supply to sole traders
Having worked with businesses in the UK for more than 15 years, Opus Energy offers expertise when it comes to buying and selling energy.
With a customer service team that’s based in the UK, as well as online access to your account, it’s easy to manage your services with Opus. The company also claims that 90% of its customers remain with Opus year after year.
Supplier Rating: ★★★★★
- UK-based customer services
- 100% of its electricity is generated renewably
- Quotes only available on request
- ‘Poor’ Trustpilot score (4.7/10)
Key considerations when comparing business electricity suppliers
Be wary of dreamy discounts – they really can be too good to be true
The energy market is highly variable, and the region, size, and scope of a business will have a big impact on its energy bill. This means that there is no set rate that businesses of a certain size or scope will be charged, because rates vary so much from place to place – even with the same provider.
Energy providers will then use sneaky incentives to encourage businesses to opt with them over the competition. These incentives will often be in the form of a ‘direct debit discount’, or a ‘pay on time discount’ – offering electricity at a reduced rate for a specific period of time, as long as you pay on time or have a direct debit account set up with the provider.
So, how is this sneaky? Well, as this discount time period isn’t forever, it’s easy to forget when your discount ends – which can cause a nasty bill-shaped shock once you’re put into your provider’s ‘non-discount’ category.
In short, always read the small print of any contract. That way, you know exactly what’s going to come out of your account, and when.
Know your tariff
The term ‘tariff’ gets bandied around a lot when it comes to the energy sector, and basically refers to the type of electricity usage scheme you’re on.
Electricity prices can vary depending on the market price, as well as what type of plan you’re on.
Here, we explain some of the most common tariffs:
The unit price remains the same for a set period of time, which is usually between one and three years, although it can be as long as five years. This means you’ll know how much per kWh you’ll be paying for your electricity.
However, as this price is fixed at the market rate when you enter into the contract, if this should decrease while you’re still in contract, you won’t benefit from any price decreases. However, if it should increase, then you’ll be better off at the lower rate that you locked into at the start.
Note that it can be difficult – as well as expensive – to leave these types of contracts before the agreed end date.
Also known as a variable tariff, this type offers flexibility, both in terms of prices and conditions.
The unit price can fluctuate depending on the market price, so if wholesale electricity costs go up, so will your energy bill. Conversely, if market prices should drop, then the amount you’re billed should drop as well.
Plus, the flexibility of variable tariffs means that they’re not usually offered with a long contract, so you have the freedom to switch suppliers if needed. However, they ultimately provide less control over your electricity expenditure, as prices could change at any time.
These are the rates that your business will be put on if you don’t have a contract. They are often the most expensive rates, meaning it’s usually cheaper to have a contract of some kind in place.
These types of tariffs specifically offer electricity from renewable energy sources.
Knowing which tariff you’re on – or want to be on – can save you a lot of money. You’ll be able to see which types each provider can offer, and compare your business electricity options accordingly.
Check out the business electricity suppliers’ customer service ratings
To do this, you can compare business electricity suppliers online, read reviews, and even talk to other business owners to gauge their thoughts. It really pays to know that should anything go wrong, the person at the other end of the line (or composing your email) will really care about your business’ electricity query. You’re paying for a service – it’s not asking too much to expect a good one.
Friendly, helpful people on the phone lines are essential, as is an efficient chatbot/email response rate. It also helps to provide a plentiful amount of information online– if a company’s online resources are looking a little thin on the ground, this could be a warning sign.
How green is your provider?
The way we generate electricity, and the impact this has on the environment, are coming under increasing scrutiny.
If keeping it green is important to your company’s image, you’re going to want to do a little digging into how electricity providers generate their power to see if this aligns with your business’ conduct.
For more information, read our guide to how to run a carbon neutral business.
What about the little extras?
Some suppliers provide the power, and that’s it. Others come with an app, advice, and a whole host of other things to accompany your business electricity plan.
It’s worth thinking about this, as an energy app can be really useful in showing you quickly and easily where your business’ weak-spots for efficiency lie. This will help you make your business leaner by cutting down excessive, and unnecessary, electricity charges.
So, whilst some companies would rather you racked up a massive bill, others actually care about your energy expenditure and will provide you with the tools to maximise efficiency and minimise losses.
Business electricity: Payment options
Business electricity prices are influenced by several factors, including the size of the premises, the number of people in the building, the level of electricity consumed, and the location(s) of the business. Other factors include your company’s credit score, and any installation charges.
Your electricity bill will be split into two parts:
- Unit cost – measured in kWh (kilowatt hours), this is the amount paid per unit of electricity used by your business
- Standing charge – this is a daily fee that goes towards National Grid maintenance
Note: domestic users pay VAT at 5%, whereas businesses are charged at 20%. However, the unit price is usually lower on a business electricity plan.
The tariff refers to how your bill is classified (and therefore calculated) by your energy company. There are two main types of tariffs:
Fixed rate – the price you pay will be set for the duration of your contract
Flexible – the charges will change with the market
Your tariff is based on how much energy you use, and your energy use is measured by a meter. This information is sent to your energy provider, who calculates your bill accordingly.
Business electricity meters come in a variety of forms. Here, we profile some of the most common ones:
|Type of meter||Description|
|Half-hourly meter||Used for large, high energy consumption businesses. Provide readings at 30 minute intervals. Great for intricate energy analysis.|
|Multi-site meters||One business doesn’t always mean one building. A multi-site meter will ensure that all sites are operating from one tariff.|
|Smart meters||A time-saving device that sends your meter readings to your supplier automatically, so you don’t have to remember to take regular readings.|
Cheap business electricity
When it comes to electricity, every business wants to get the most bang for its buck. But because of the variable nature of business electricity, it’s nigh-on impossible to say which provider would be the cheapest option for you. No two businesses are the same, and neither are electricity bills.
However, we can provide some hints and tips on how to get a cheaper deal:
Direct debit discounts
There are lots of providers that will offer a discount when you pay for your electricity via direct debit. This is also a good option for when cashflow is limited in the early startup days.
Keep your eyes peeled for startup-friendly services
When you’re new to the startup scene, a no-strings contract is ideal. You don’t want to be tied into a plan for years on end, and you definitely don’t want any early termination charges. Always read the small print, and definitely conduct business electricity comparisons.
Figure out your electricity pain points
Consider what you spend, and where you spend it. There’s no magic spell that’ll fix your energy expenditure – you’re going to have to do a little bit of analysis yourself.
Start with time and place: when, and on which appliances, are you most likely to spend the most on electricity?
For example, if you run a takeaway that’s only open in the evenings, you might be better off with an off-peak tariff. On the other hand, if it’s lighting that eats most of your electricity, then consider switching to low-energy or LED bulbs.
Survey the scene
Your energy contract will probably renew automatically, and it can be tempting to just let that happen. However, you could be missing out on some sweet deals in the meantime. Always check your options before accepting automatic renewal.
Hop to the top of the page to fill in the form and compare business electricity quotes today.
I run my business from home – what should I do about business electricity?
Running your business from home will probably mean that you don’t use enough energy to qualify for a business electricity tariff. In general, you’d need to use 50% or more of your electricity for your business to qualify for business electricity rates, although this can vary depending on the supplier.
Therefore, it’s fine to stay on your domestic rate with your domestic provider. However, the above advice still applies, insofar that it’s always best to conduct business electricity comparisons to make sure that you’re on the best plan possible.
|Supplier||Price per kWh||Standing charge (pence per day)|
|EDF Energy||From 23.92p+*||80.00p|
|Opus Energy||23.5p or 25.5p||95p or 300p|
*Based on London region figures
**Based on non-half-hourly metering
The above table demonstrates the way in which energy companies calculate an electricity bill. The company will take the price of the energy itself, then take the cost of delivering the energy to you, and add them together. Except for Bulb (which offers one type of rate), these figures are based upon deemed (out of contract) rates, and take into account a variety of meter and tariff types.
However, as each bill is specifically tailored to each business' specific requirements, we can only provide you with a rough, generalised figure.
For more information, or to receive a business electricity quote for your business specifically, simply fill in the form at the top of the page.
The cheapest business electricity suppliers
Here, we profile some of the cheapest business electricity suppliers that featured in the list above.
|Supplier||Price per kWh||Standing charge (pence per day)|
While some were easy to determine, such as Bulb, others we figured would balance out – for example, while E.ON’s standing charge may seem high, the unit price is relatively low. And while there were a couple of options around a similar unit price, it was Scottish Power’s lower standing charge that saw it make this list.
How to save money on your business electricity
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to determining how much your startup can expect to pay for electricity, here are some cost-cutting tips:
- Pay by direct debit – many providers offer discounts when customers pay this way. Additionally, this payment method is a good way to budget, especially in the early days when cashflow may be limited
- Consider which payment methods you need – while direct debit may be popular, your business may need alternative ways to pay, such as cash or cheque
- Look for plans specifically made for new businesses – these are designed with the needs of startups in mind, and so may feature lower daily charges and shorter contract lengths, as well as no or low fees for early exits
- Think about your business’ electricity consumption – work out when your company uses the most and least amount of electricity, and find the suppliers and tariffs that match the needs of your business
- Assess all options – while it may be tempting to just accept the renewal offer, it’s wise to find out all of the options available to your business before making a decision
Compare business energy quotes – fill in the form at the top of the page
Regional business electricity price variation
Electricity prices can vary considerably between regions. This is caused by a number of factors, including the demand for power in the area, as well as location and supply.
The figures below are for British Gas’ deemed, half hourly, low voltage business rates.
|Region||Price per kWh||Standing charge (pence per day)||Capacity charge (p/kVA/day)*|
|Merseyside and North Wales||26.38||135.43||2.51|
*Pence per kVa per day. This refers to the charge for the amount of electricity used at peak times; kVa stands for per kilovolt-amps.
How to switch business electricity suppliers
You may be wondering why you should look into switching suppliers in the first place. While every business will have its own unique requirements for a provider, some reasons to switch include:
- Cost – if you can find the same supply at a more competitive cost, then this is likely to be a huge driver for many businesses to switch
- Type of tariff – if another supplier is offering a tariff that wasn’t previously available to your business, this could be a deciding factor
- Customer support – the ways in which you can contact the supplier and access your account can help make the decision for you. For example, does the supplier offer multiple forms of support, such as via email or an app? Or are they only available over the phone?
- Eco-friendly – you may want to look for a ‘green’ electricity provider, whether that’s to match your business values, or to simply help look after the planet
In the UK, there are six companies that dominate the energy market. Collectively, these are referred to as ‘The Big Six’. They are:
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
You may consider signing up with one of ‘The Big Six’ suppliers, as they’re hugely experienced energy providers. You may also think about working with one of the newer, independent suppliers that are out there, as many focus on small businesses.
It’s useful to know that even if you change providers and enter into a new contract with a different supplier, the same equipment and power lines can be used, so there’s no need to worry about disruptions. When you switch, it’s the new provider that organises the changeover, with the process usually lasting a few weeks.
When the time comes to switch, you’ll need your electricity bill. It contains the information required to set up with another provider and enter into a new contract. This includes information such as your current supplier’s details, as well as the type of electricity your business receives and how much it uses.
It’s important to note that business electricity contracts don’t have a 14-day cooling off period, unlike their domestic counterparts.
Switching suppliers: A step-by-step guide
- Locate your electricity bill
- Compare quotes from different providers
- Select the most suitable tariff
- Review any charges that may apply (e.g. exit fees)
- Choose a new contract
- Inform your current provider of intended switch (if applicable)
- Settle your account with your current provider
- Await the supply to begin with your new provider
Fill in the form at the top of the page to compare business electricity quotes now.
Next steps: Compare business electricity suppliers
From reading this article, you’ve learned more about business electricity suppliers and prices, including which suppliers are best suited to different types of startups and what’s involved in the switching process.
Alternatively, for more information based upon your specific business needs, fill in the form at the top of the page to compare business electricity quotes.
Business electricity suppliers and prices: The FAQs
Here, we’ve answered some of the main queries about business electricity.
1. How much electricity do businesses consume?
In general, small to medium-sized businesses in the UK could use anything from 5,000 kWh to 30,000 kWh+ of electricity each year. However, this is a very rough figure, as consumption depends on the size, location, and type of business, amongst other factors.
2. How do domestic and business electricity rates compare?
The unit rates for business electricity tend to be cheaper than the domestic ones. However, businesses usually pay more VAT (20%), while domestic customers are charged less (5%). Businesses are also subject to the Climate Change Levy (CCL), although, there are certain exceptions for VAT and CCL.
3. Which supplier is best for small business electricity?
Many factors influence which supplier is best for your business’ energy requirements. These include the type and price of tariffs offered, as well as the nature of your business and how it needs to be powered. Therefore, a business energy comparison service could be helpful.