The cost of energy is a major business expense these days, which can also have an effect on your bottom line. Even so, it’s an area where you can still manage to save money.
While it’s possible to reduce the company’s consumption, make changes to the way the business operates, etc., it’s also possible to renegotiate energy costs with your energy supplier.
Here are some things you can try to cut down on energy costs this winter:
1). Shop around: just as individuals can comparison shop for their energy providers, your business can do the same. You can use a tool such as Utility Bidder to compare business energy suppliers’ rates. The site is fast and easy to use. Just tell them how much you can save by switching suppliers and see if they can come up with lower energy rates. Don’t hesitate to ask for better rates and discounts—it can’t hurt to ask. However, remember it’s better to avoid being hostile or aggressive, as these behaviors won’t get you anywhere.
Even if you end up not switching suppliers, you’ll still have gathered the information necessary to switch providers at the end of your contract. In fact, now’s a great time to find out when your contract ends. You might find the information on the termination window on the energy supplier’s invoice. If not, then call and ask them when your contract ends. You have a right to this information.
2). Take your time: knowing when your contract terminates is handy knowledge to have well in advance of the date. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to take your time to begin looking for a new supplier for the business. It’s a good idea to begin looking for your next energy provider about a month or more before the contract ends.
Think of it this way—you have the leverage if you know the termination date, and then give yourself time to find a new supplier at better rates. However, if you wait until a few days before the contract ends, your energy supplier will have the leverage. The goal is for you to keep the leverage on your side of the net and use the knowledge to find a better deal on energy. This is a good way to cut energy costs for your business.
3). Are you owed refunds or credits? This is another good way to get the leverage on your side of the field, giving you the advantage. Many businesses tend to overlook credits they are owed. So, now’s a good time to check to see if the energy company owes your business any refunds or credits. If you don’t find this information, you could lose those credits after switching to a new energy supplier. The credits and refunds from your former supplier will not move with you.
4). Review your contract terms: contracts with energy suppliers can vary, so it’s a good idea to review your current energy contract, then use this information to get a better contract when it’s time to switch.
Many times it’s possible to save money with a long-term contract. However, you have to think ahead and avoid being locked into a contract that could eventually see you paying higher energy rates later. Or just the opposite—you may be stuck with a certain rate, only to end up paying more when energy prices drop in the future. It can happen.
Another important point to check is exit fees—be sure to check what exit fees may be charged if you do choose to change energy suppliers before your contract ends.
Some people don’t believe it’s possible to deal with the energy company to get better rates. However, it is possible and it does often result in a better deal, with lower costs for your business. Just like you negotiate with a car dealer, you can do the same with your energy company. Just remember not to be aggressive, etc. Instead, be pleasant and work with the provider for a better rate.
5). Check your monthly direct debit: this is a great way to pay your company’s energy bills, at least if the fees are reasonable. The supplier will estimate how much the energy the business uses and then can send you an estimated bill. The only problem is that sometimes this method can lead to you overpaying for your energy use.
It’s a good idea to check your energy usage against what your smart reader shows. If there’s a difference, be sure to call up your supplier and request they bill you only for what you’re using.
It’s also a good idea to check and see if you’ve been overbilled. If so, then request a refund to cover the overpayment(s).
If you find this problem frequently with your direct debit payments, then it may be better to end direct debit payments. This will keep the company from incrementally overcharging your business for energy and you’ll instead be paying only for the energy your company uses.
These are a few ways your company can save on energy costs. Don’t hesitate to check if the energy provider owes you a refund or a credit. And be sure to negotiate with them for a better deal.