It seems like every month there is another business energy supplier auction going on. The big reason for changing, however, is usually for a better deal, although many businesses tend to find themselves in a perpetual state of flux or perpetually overpriced contracts, that keep them on rollback or never-ending renewal. This is good for business-owner’s who get what they want, but not when their supplier is not obligated to renew at all their best prices. In some cases this means they have to pay more for the power they sell.
The good news is that it’s a buyers’ market out there. And there are more than enough business energy suppliers competing for your business. The trick is knowing how to find the right one. A large percentage of auctions don’t end up producing any contracts at all, and it is the business owner’s job to determine what percentage of the number of bids received mean they’ve made a good choice. And the real key is knowing the real competition.
The competition consists of several factors, but probably the most important is the type of service offered. Many small business energy suppliers are set up as an independent contractor (like Enron) and sell electricity to homeowners and commercial customers alike. They bill hourly, so you can do your own math to determine how much you could save each month on your electric bill. Some companies offer a flat rate, and some have a T&E rate added on. Either way, they are going to charge you for the work they do.
Another option for a business energy supplier would be to switch to a utility owned by a larger company. If you own more than half of a large distribution network, you are eligible for what’s called a wholesale energy contract. This means that you can count on your electricity bill to stay low, because the utility will send you a portion of the profits from your wholesale customers, who are typically bigger than the transmission and distribution companies.
The only problem with wholesale energy contracts is that they don’t always come with the best rates. It would be difficult to determine who the wholesale rate providers are without doing some kind of meter reading. Luckily, there are options to help you find out who the best rates are for your business. Call a residential meter installation company or call a commercial meter installation company, and ask them if they provide a “meter first” or “rollover” rate quote for new customers.
“Meter first” rates are for clients who buy their electricity supplier’s meter and assign their account to the company. “Rollover” tariffs are for clients who leave their current electricity supplier and take their meter with them when they switch. Either way, both deals result in the client paying for a bulk quote from the new business energy suppliers. With a “meter first” deal, the client is required to sign a two-year contract that will be deemed contract by the meter reading company for both the period during which the client receives the tariff and the period immediately following the tariff being terminated. If the customer decides to cancel his tariff before its expiration date, he will not be charged any fees. However, the customer will not be able to get another “meter first” or “rollover” quote from the new business energy suppliers for three years.