If it ain’t broke, then why fix it, right? Well, in the case of changing energy suppliers, sometimes not. Indeed, utility rates are in a constant stage of chop’n’change, and if you don’t keep an eye on your contracts, your company might end up paying more than it should. Though it may seem like a huge amount of hassle to change, switching to another provider can sometimes save you money on your company’s overhead expenses in terms of power, gas, and water. With this in mind, here are 5 IDEAL tips for switching your business utility supplier.

BEWARE OF OUT-OF-CONTRACT FEES

First things first, you need to find out when your contract ends. Utility providers will usually give notification of when your contract is about to expire. However, if you don’t take any action, a utility provider will automatically renew your tariff, but on their out-of-contract rates. Yep, you guessed it; you’re going to be charged higher rates for continuously using their service without being in a contract with them. The cheeky gets. Sometimes, these rates can be a whopping 50% more than what you’re paying on your current contract. As you can imagine, this means that there is very little incentive for your current energy supplier to make you aware that your contract is up. For a business, this can massively reduce your profit margin, so be aware of this and keep well abreast of when yours end.

SEARCH AND COMPARE

It’s not just the leaders in the utility industry that you need to consider, but other players too, because they might offer better deals that might fit your needs. There are various ways to find a new provider. You can do a manual search on your own, call the providers one by one, discuss their plans, and compare.  Whichever way you find your information, it’s imperative you get a breakdown of unit rates and any standing charges so you can easily compare what you’re being offered.

Another option is to hire a broker that can help you through the entire process with minimum fuss. You do of course need to pay this broker for their service; it’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it. If you decide it is, use a utility comparison site to quickly compare utility providers without spending anything. Utility Bidder is a trusted comparison site that does the legwork for you. Just enter the information required, and you’ll be provided with an overview of the best deals. That’ll do nicely.

BE PREPARED TO HAGGLE

Nailing the best price is all about haggling. Indeed, this technique isn’t just for Bangkok and backstreet bazzars. If you want the best deal, be prepared haggle, haggle, haggle. Brazen as though it may sound, start with calling up and simply asking for a better deal. Say you’re paying too much or a rivals’ deals are cheaper and you’ll be surprised with just how quickly a cheaper counteroffer arrives. Often times, they’ll be more than willing to undercut a competitor to get you on side.

However, don’t become obsessed with lowering only the unit rate per kWh. While some tariffs may have low unit prices, their standing charges may be really high. Some energy suppliers also offer additional discounts if you pay your bill by a monthly direct debit, usually up to 5%, so don’t forget to investigate that line of enquiry too.

GO GREEN

Most energy suppliers offer ‘green’ electricity tariffs which seek to support renewable energy. These green energy tariffs works through the supplier promising to match all or some of the electricity you use with renewable energy. All the renewable electricity produced is supported by Government schemes which in turn require electricity suppliers to buy some lean, clean and green energy.

SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE

Once you select your new provider, it’s time to sign a contract with them. Make sure that you clearly understand the contract and that it’s the best among all your options. The new service will only start once your contract expires with your current provider.

When moving to a new contract, be sure to consider both a fixed or variable rate tariff. They have their advantages and drawbacks, so make sure you analyse your options. Fixed rates, as the term suggests, will remain the same throughout the contract period. You will be protected from any increase in utility prices, but your rate will still stay the same even if the price decreases. Variable rates, on the other hand, will let you enjoy low rates when the prices drop, but they will also go up when prices increase.