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Small business energy comparison

Getting to grips with your gas and electricity contracts is a great way to improve your bottom line

Fast-growing, energy-hungry businesses consume a lot of fuel – and if you don’t keep track, those gas and electricity costs can really stack up.

Business energy prices can vary wildly from supplier to supplier, and no two firms’ energy usage is going to be the same. Factors like size, location, business type, sector, and even credit rating will influence which supplier you choose, and how much you’ll pay for your energy.

Savvy business owners will constantly shop around for a better deal. Don’t fall into the trap of paying more than you need to because of inaction – compare energy quotes, find yourself a better deal, and change suppliers today.

Below, we’ll compare five business energy suppliers, looking at:

  • What’s covered by your gas and electricity providers
  • What you should be looking for with your business energy tariffs
  • What you need as a small business
  • What you should expect from a business energy quote

Small business energy comparison: At a glance

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of each supplier, here’s an overview: 

SupplierBest forPrice (pence/per kWh) (out of contract)Standing charge (pence/per day) (out of contract)
EDF EnergyBusiness freedomElectricity - 18.18, gas - 4.246Electricity - 22.93, gas - 26.52
British GasTrusted serviceElectricity - 23.95, gas - 6.19 Electricity - 78.40, gas 160.26
BulbGreen energyElectricity - from 12.05 (in London), gas - from 3.08 (north-east England and Yorkshire)Standing charges for both electricity and gas are 27.40
Yü EnergyAttentive customer serviceElectricity - from 22.05, gas - 5.53 Electricity (fixed daily charge price) - 159.00, gas (fixed daily charge price) 349.00
E.ONScaling your energy use as your business growsElectricity (base rates for London - normal): 23.92, gas (annual use less than 73, 298 kWh in London - normal): 7.14Electricity (London) - 104.00, gas (annual use less than 73,298 kWh) - 117.00

To compare quotes for business energy, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

Small business energy comparison: A deep dive

In this section, we provide detailed insight into some of the best energy companies for small businesses.

edf

EDF Energy

One of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, EDF has a focus on low-carbon electricity.

The company offers a range of competitive fixed and flexible contract rates for both large and small businesses, as well as flexible, short-term electricity contracts for new businesses or those moving into new premises.

For customers that don’t want to commit to a fixed term contract, EDF’s Freedom for Business tariff gives you the option to move onto a different tariff at any time, with variable pricing, no fixed end date, and no notice to leave.

Your business is considered a small business by EDF if you spend less than £30,000 per year on energy (i.e. electricity or gas).

Positives- EDF works with your business to find the best plan for you, offering flexibility and time to decide where needed
- Ideal for startups and businesses looking to move premises
- No end-of-contract fees
Negatives- Query phone lines are only open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm
Best forBusiness freedom and flexibility
CostBased upon the standard meter charges for the London region, paid by direct debit.

Out of contract (deemed) electricity from:

Unit rate (pence/per kWh) 18.18p + daily standing charge (pence/per day) 22.93

Out of contract (deemed) gas from:

Unit rate (pence/per kWh) 4.246p + daily standing charge (pence/per day) 26.52

British gas

British Gas

The UK’s largest supplier of energy, British Gas for Business claims to supply gas and electricity to more customers than any other business energy supplier, with over 350,000 business customers in the UK.

British Gas classes businesses that spend less than £100,000 a year on energy as small businesses, while those over this amount are categorised as large businesses. 

The company offers both fixed term and variable price plans, including a 30 day Rolling Energy Plan and plans specifically for commercial landlords.

Positives- Designed for small and medium-sized businesses
- Lock-in tariffs that last for up to three years for electricity and five years for gas
- You can manage your account online
- Specific plans and custom charges for switching multiple locations
- A popular, well-known business with a reputable history
Negatives- Aimed at small businesses that are settled, rather than just starting up
Best forTrusted service, stable business
CostOut of contract (deemed) electricity rates for non-half-hourly and half-hourly whole current meters:

Unit rate (pence/per kWh) from 23.95 and standing charge (pence/per day): 78.40

Out of contract (deemed) gas rates:

Unit rate 6.19 (pence/per kWh) and standing charge 160.26 (pence/per day)

bulb

Bulb

One of the newest kids on the block, Bulb is a 100% renewable electricity and 10% renewable gas supplier that offers prices which are around 15% lower than the deemed tariffs from the Big Six (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, npower, Scottish Power, and SSE). All of Bulb’s electricity comes from independent renewable generators across the UK.

Bulb is a great option for businesses that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their image as a climate-conscious company. For more information on how to develop a greener company ethos, take a look at our pages on green and social business.

Positives- No contract needed
- No exit fees
- Provides 100% renewable electricity
- Keep things simple with tariff transparency
- Support team is based in London; dedicated account manager for each business customer
Negatives- Bulb doesn’t currently serve sole traders
- More geared towards low volume energy use – larger, older, and more established businesses with higher rates of energy consumption will probably find cheaper deals elsewhere
Best forGreen energy, cost efficiency and transparency
CostElectricity prices:

From 12.05 (pence/per kWh) (in London)

Gas prices:

From 3.08 (pence/per kWh) (north-east England and Yorkshire)

Standing charges for both electricity and gas are 27.40 (pence/per day).

yu energy

Yü Energy

With a focus on innovation, Yü Energy is an energy supplier dedicated to providing gas and electricity for businesses.

Yü Energy offers fixed plans across electricity and gas, and can also provide water services. Yü Energy also gives each customer their own personal account manager, in a bid to provide a more customer-centric experience than its larger rivals. 

If your business uses up to 100,000 kWh of electricity or 293,000 kWh of gas per year, then it’s considered to be a small business.

Positives- Great customer service
- Yü Energy really values each business as individuals
- Fixed energy prices
- Plans can be tailored to individual business needs
Negatives- No other plan options apart from fixed plans
Best forCustomer service
CostElectricity prices:

Deemed single rates from 22.05 (pence/per kWh), fixed daily charge price (pence/per day) 159.00

Gas prices:

Deemed rates (for annual quantity less than 730,000 kWh) - unit price: 5.53 (pence/per kWh), fixed daily charge price: 349.00 (pence/per day)

e.on

E.ON UK

Formally known as Powergen, E.ON UK is one of the Big Six energy suppliers. It caters to all businesses, no matter the size, and has a range of electricity and gas tariffs to suit a variety of business needs. 

E.ON UK also gives small businesses a boost with online account management, as well as its new connections scheme, which provides meter installations and energy supply contracts for new premises and housing developers, among others.

Plus, it has your back for when you decide to scale up. For larger businesses, E.ON UK provides risk management strategies and a portfolio manager, making energy purchases on a massive scale much less daunting.

The energy industry can be a complicated place, and E.ON understands that. This is why it makes buying your business’ energy as easy and transparent as possible.

Positives- Very supportive towards businesses of all sizes
- Clearly communicated information about the industry
- Plans come with a fixed unit rate to help with budgeting
- Flexible approach that allows you to take market conditions into consideration, giving you time to consider your options
- Now provides Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) backed supply
Negatives- Vast company that places a lower value on customer service than others
Best forScaling your energy use as your business grows
CostElectricity prices:

Out-of-contract (deemed) base rates for London - normal (pence/per kWh): 23.92 and standing charge (pence/per day): 104.00

Gas prices:

Out-of-contract (deemed) rates for annual use less than 73, 298 kWh in London - normal (pence/per kWh): 7.14p and standing charge (pence/per day): 117.00p

bas energy

BAS Energy

BAS Energy claims to be one of the UK’s leading independent energy consultancies, and has worked with more than 20,000 businesses since 2006. As an energy consultancy, BAS Energy offers services including electricity and gas procurement, carbon management, and energy audits, as well as help with compliance.

Operating from the basis of seven commitments, BAS Energy aims to provide advice, products, and services, as well as offer transparency to its customers.

It’s partnered with several energy companies, working with E.ON, npower, British Gas, and Total. BAS Energy splits its offering between small and medium businesses and large businesses.

Positives- Partners with some of the biggest energy providers
- Splits its offering between small-medium businesses and large businesses
- Focused on business’ requirements
- Multiple energy services offered
Negatives- Limited contact options
Best forOffering split between small-medium businesses and large businesses
CostPrices on request

power solutions

Power Solutions

Power Solutions is a business energy consultancy company, offering energy check and energy efficiency services, amongst others. It has been in existence since 2005, and has worked with businesses of varying sizes, including those operating in the hospitality, sport, and charity sectors. Power Solutions also offers advice for free.

Power Solutions works with a range of providers, including British Gas and EDF, to name just a few. In addition to its business energy services, Power Solutions also offers services for broadband and business water. Its gas and electricity services include energy checks and fixed contracts, as well as site-works and metering.

Positives- Free advice
- Works with 20+ energy suppliers
- Established company
Negatives- Limited contact hours
- Doesn’t focus on business energy exclusively
Best forRange of partners
CostContact provider

make it cheaper

Make It Cheaper

Make It Cheaper is an online switching service dedicated to business rates for electricity and gas, as well as other services businesses may need. It can help you find rates for one contract, or multiple. In fact, Make It Cheaper claims it’s the top utility service for small-medium sized businesses in the country. Make It Cheaper can also assist with broadband, insurance, and phone services for businesses.

Interestingly, Make It Cheaper offers a ‘Do It For You’ service, which also takes care of your yearly contract renewals. This makes it easier to find – and keep – the suppliers that are best suited to your business needs, both now and in the future.

Positives- Can assist with multiple contracts
- Online service
- Four star Trustpilot rating
- Small business focus
- Multiple services available
- Contract renewals
Negatives- Doesn’t specialise in business energy services only
Best forContract renewals
CostContact provider

Key considerations for choosing a business energy supplier

There are a number of factors that affect which business energy supplier you should choose:

  • Compare options – while the Big Six are the biggest and most established suppliers in the country, there are many other options out there, so research and compare to find the best match for your business
  • Review prices – as well as checking the unit rate and standing charge, look to see if any discounts are available and if any additional fees apply, such as those you might be charged if you wish to leave a supplier
  • Check contracts – unless you’re a completely new business, it’s likely that you have a current energy contract. Be sure to understand the process for changing to a new tariff, deal, or supplier entirely, depending on your circumstances
  • Energy requirements – assess how your business uses energy, such as the times of day, type of fuel consumed (do you mainly use electricity, gas, or a combination of the two?), and the type of business you run
  • Sustainable choices – depending on the above, your business may want to use an eco-friendly provider, so make sure to check where a supplier gets its energy from

Compare business electricity

From providing light to powering the hardware or equipment your company needs to operate on a daily basis, businesses tend to use a lot of electricity.

This means businesses can afford to negotiate a better deal on their electricity contract, but risk being hit with higher wholesale prices.

The table below provides an idea of how much you can expect to pay for electricity, depending on the size of your business.

Business typeAverage annual usageAverage electricity price (per kWh)Standing charge (daily)Average annual price
Micro business5,000 – 15,000 kWh14.4p+23-29p£1,000+
Small business15,000 – 30,000 kWh14.2p+23-28p£2,150+
Medium business30,000 – 50,000 kWh14.13p+23-27p£3,355+

For a more comprehensive account of what you can expect from your electricity provider, take a look at our page on business electricity supplier prices.

Compare business gas

Whether it’s for hot water, heating your premises, or fuelling kitchen equipment, gas is an essential fuel for the daily running of your business. 

Unlike domestic customers, businesses are able to access gas at a lower per kWh price because they generally use more of it; however, they will usually pay a higher rate of VAT.

The table below provides an idea of how much you’ll expect to pay for gas, depending on the size of your business.

Business typeAverage annual usageAverage gas price (per kWh)Standing charge (daily)Average annual price
Micro business5,000 – 15,000 kWh4.7p+23p+£483-£1,147
Small business15,000 – 30,000 kWh4.3p+23p+£1,180-£1,939
Medium business30,000 – 50,000 kWh4.0p+25p+£2,072-£3,159

Has your gas bill got you in a grumble? Looking for the best deal for your business? Then have a read of our business gas comparison page.

Top 10 UK sectors that spend the most on energy bills

For businesses looking to save costs, you could fall into a high energy category if you’re in one of the below sectors, according to data published by Gazprom in 2018:

  • Private offices
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • Food products manufacturing
  • Hospitals
  • Non-metallic mineral manufacturing
  • Basic metals manufacturing
  • Rubber and plastic manufacturing
  • Small shops
  • Paper products manufacturing

So, if you want your next business venture to be as low-energy as possible, try to avoid the above stated industries.

It’s also notable that in the manufacturing and industrial sector, gas is the most commonly used energy source. Gas is less expensive than electricity; however, since gas is a fossil fuel, it is nowhere near as sustainable. This is because it is possible to generate substantial amounts of electricity via renewable means.

The below chart demonstrates the percentage of energy that will come from each source if your business is part of the manufacturing or industrial sector:

business energy

On the other hand, businesses in the service sector use energy very differently. See the below infographic for details:

business energy consumption

Business energy quotes: All you need to know

Make sure you’re informed about the most important elements included in a business energy contract, so you can understand whether the deal you’re getting is a good one. Here’s what you should be looking out for:

  • Unit rates – this is the set amount your business will pay per unit (kWh) of energy that it uses
  • Standing charge – this is a fixed daily cost that covers the expense of accessing an energy supply
  • Agreed supply capacity – the maximum demand that a business needs from its supplier, ensuring that amount (and no more) is continuously available
  • Maximum demand (MD) – measured in kWh, this is the highest value of energy a business could use in a half-hour period, taken from the highest demand recorded during a calendar month or billing period and multiplied by two to give an hourly MD. Penalties can be incurred for exceeding this
  • Cooling off period – a period of time after signing a contract in which customers can cancel without financial penalty (rarely offered to business customers)
  • The billing period – the period of time that a bill will cover, which can be negotiated for favourable terms with your supplier
  • The renewal window – this comes at the end of your contract and is a 60 or 120-day window, giving you time to find a better deal or stick with your current supplier

In order to get the best energy quote for your company, you should have the following information to hand:

  • Do your research – you need to understand energy contracts if you want to get the best deal
  • Read reviews – see how other consumers have rated potential suppliers. There are plenty of credible online sources where you can compare
  • Know your current numbers and consumption pattern – work out when your peak energy consumption times are, and find out your Meter Point Reference Number (MPR) for gas and your Metering Point Administration Number (MPAN) for electricity
  • Shop around for quotes – don’t just go with the first attractive offer – keep shopping around for a better one, and make sure you get the best deal for your business

Once you’ve agreed to a business energy contract, you’ll be locked in for the stated time, so make sure it’s definitely the right one for you before committing.

Next steps: Compare business energy suppliers and prices

We’ve covered the information you need to know to compare business energy prices, including profiles of some of the top energy companies. Plus, we’ve provided the factors to take into consideration when making your decision, and revealed which sectors spend the most on energy. 

Now you’re fully clued up on what you can expect from your small business supplier, as well as the rough financial implications of your energy bill, it’s time to compare energy quotes from suppliers. To do this, simply fill in the form at the top of the page.

Business energy comparison: The FAQs

Here, we answer some of the most common queries you may have about business energy for small businesses.

Is my business a high energy consumer, or a low energy consumer?

A business is regarded as having low energy consumption if its average electricity consumption is:

  • Less than 33 kWh per day

or

  • 1,000 kWh per month

Generally, businesses will be subjected to a 20% rate of VAT on their energy bill, though this can be reduced if they meet the supplier’s requirements for low energy consumption.

You could pay by unit pricing, which is based on the size and consumption of your company, or a fixed business gas price plan, which sees you pay a set price for a fixed period of between one and three years.

Unlike domestic energy costs, business energy prices are driven by the market, meaning they can vary wildly even from day to day. Using an expert comparison service is the best way to ensure you get a good deal on your business energy.

What is reasonable to expect from a small business energy provider?

If you’re wondering about the normal expectations you can have for your small business energy provider, then you’re not alone. The energy industry is quite a complex place, and knowing what you can reasonably demand from your supplier can seem a little daunting.

Here are four key things you should expect your small business energy company to offer:

  1. Affordability – your energy needs to be affordable – otherwise you’ll be running your business in the dark, for fear of racking up a massive bill! 
  2. Environmental sustainability – There’s no denying it: cleaner and greener energy sources are the future. Your energy company should be showing at least some signs that they’re living up to their responsibility and doing their bit for the planet
  3. Scalability – Small businesses don’t stay small forever, and it’s important that your energy company can keep up with your rate of growth. Check that your energy company also caters for bigger businesses with higher energy requirements, whilst keeping costs reasonable.
  4. Flexibility – When it comes to business energy, the market is highly variable, and there is scope to make some serious savings if you’re savvy enough. This is why you don’t want to be locked into a contract, and ideally will have an arrangement that doesn’t feature any end-of-contract fees.

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Scarlett Cook attends and reports on many industry events for Startups.co.uk, particularly those relating to communication, equality and diversity in entrepreneurship.

Since joining the team in 2018, she has developed our telephone systems and business mobiles topics as well as ‘how to’ guides, with her work having been referenced by brands such as Hiscox. Previously, she has written for audiences across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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