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How to Get a Better Deal from Your Business Energy Provider

Energy costs account for a large portion of a company’s expenses, and can have a direct influence on how profitable a business is. Thankfully, it’s also an area where it’s possible to make some significant savings. You can make quick changes to your operations, reduce your energy spending, and be more responsible with your consumption. Another thing you could do, however, is to arrange for a better deal with your current provider. Here is how you can renegotiate your energy costs with your current energy provider.

Look Around

The first thing you should do is look around so you’ll at least have some options and be able to come to the table with a point of reference. You could use a tool like Utility Bidder to compare business energy suppliers. Let them know how much you could save by switching and see if they’ll lower their rates to match it when you ask for a renewal quote. Turn on the charm as you ask for discounts and better rates; you won’t win this fight by being aggressive or angry.

If you decide not to switch contracts, you can still benefit from the information when you switch suppliers at the end of your contract. If you don’t know when the contract ends, ask. Some suppliers print the termination window on their invoices. Note that you have the right to know this information.

Give Yourself Time

There’s a good reason to know your contract expiration date as soon as possible – it gives you, not the energy company, leverage. If you only have a few days left in the termination window, the energy supplier has the advantage. Start shopping around for new energy providers a month or more before the contract termination window ends. This gives you more leverage when negotiating with the current energy supplier.

Pay Attention to Your Monthly Direct Debit

Monthly direct debit is a good way to pay your energy bill as long as the fees are reasonable. The company estimates how much you are using and sends you a bill based on that estimate. Unfortunately, if they overestimate your usage, you’re going to be overcharged. Check the usage you’re being billed for against the usage reported on your smart meter. If there is a discrepancy, call up the vendor and ask them to bill you for what you’re using. Talk to customer service, since you may be owed a refund for the over-billing, too. Simply ending direct debits can also stop the slow steady rise of the bill that the energy company may be sneaking in instead of charging you for your actual usage.

Check for Credits and Refunds You’re Owed

Many people forget about the credits they may be owed, though this could offset future energy bills. Whether it is refunding a utility deposit or credits you’re owed for energy savings, ask for all such credits to be applied to your bill. On the flipside, if you are owed credits and don’t do anything about it, you could lose it when you switch to another supplier.

Look at Your Contract Terms

Energy contracts vary widely. You can often get a better deal by locking yourself into a longer contract. However, this isn’t always the case. Do your homework so that you always get the best energy rate possible. You don’t want to sign up for a five-year contract and see yourself over-paying because energy prices dropped. You have to be careful of exit fees that may be charged if you switch suppliers before your current contract ends, too.

You’ve probably negotiated with car dealers and the cable company for discounts and deals. Don’t forget to do the same with your energy supplier. You can’t afford not to.

Claire James

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