J Constant
James Constant

Member Article

Energy doesn’t have to be a minefield

James Constant, chair of Energy Forecaster shares his expertise on the energy market.

In order for a business to save a potential £868 each year, all it has to do is switch energy supplier. It sounds pretty simple, but surprisingly 30% of businesses say it’s so confusing that they don’t know where to start.

At Energy Forecaster we spoke to 500 businesses with between 1 and 249 employees and it turns out that not only are a large chunk of them confused, but more than 300,000 of them say they could be forced to shut up shop if energy prices continue to rise as they have done in recent years.

This isn’t massively surprising though, as the entire market, both business and domestic, is in a period of change. For domestic customers, regulatory changes are starting to make the market a fairer place. For example, following the government’s ‘historic agreement’ with the Big Six energy suppliers, domestic customers will get a letter from their supplier once a year to tell them what the best tariff for them is.

On the flipside – change in the business energy market is a lot slower. The only changes in this area are as a result of energy suppliers and brokers taking action themselves, for example E.ON now puts contract energy dates on business energy bills as part of its Reset Review, and the Third Party Intermediary Code of Practice has been introduced.

It’s understandable then that businesses may get lost in the minefield of business energy rules and regulations. But our findings also showed that 4% of those we spoke to have no idea which company supplies their energy – despite the fact they’re the ones in charge of making the decisions about energy in the company. Now that’s a serious concern.

It’s clear to see that businesses need to start actively engaging in the market and paying attention to what’s going on around them if they want to start dampening their concerns. One in ten businesses told us that they’re not sure of the exact date their energy contract is due to end, and one in five is not confident they know how much notice they need to give to cancel their contract -this puts them in huge danger of being automatically rolled over to an uncompetitive energy tariff, possibly without even realising it!

Although they’ll never be able to control actual energy prices, they can certainly have some control over their bills, and this includes taking the time to research and switch suppliers. Businesses that have switched say they feel more in control of their energy costs than those that don’t. Perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of their book.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by James Constant .

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