Business Energy FAQs

A Half Hourly meter, or HH meter, is designed to send an accurate, up-to-date usage reading to your energy supplier every 30 minutes.

Designed especially for businesses, half hourly Electricity Meters are connected to a phone line which automatically sends accurate updates to your energy provider. Half hour metering takes the worry out of needing to check your usage regularly.

To help ensure your business is using energy as efficiently as possible, these meters can also provide a detailed breakdown of exactly how much energy you are using and when you are using it. Very handy if you are using specialist machinery.

If your business uses a high level of energy and has a maximum demand of at least 100kW in any half hour period, you’re required to have a half hourly meter fitted as standard.

The types of businesses that require half hourly electricity tariffs are usually more energy intensive, such as assembly plants, department stores, manufacturing plants and printers.

To check whether your business is already using a half hourly meter, take a look at the Profile Type on your recent energy bill.

The Profile Type will be shown in a small box containing six different multi-digit figures. If the top left number reads 00 then your business is already on a half hourly meter. (see below example)

Meters described as half-hourly are for businesses that are energy intensive, which have had an average peak electricity demand above 100kW in any three months over the past year.

The more meters you have, the more contracts you have to renew or renegotiate. For most businesses, this is something that rarely gets the attention it deserves – although it might not seem like a priority, overpaying for energy across multiple sites can soon add up to take a sizeable chunk of your turnover.

A multi-site energy deal means you can consolidate all of your energy supply into one package, with one supplier and one renewal date – a simple way to save on potentially large business energy bills.

If you run a business over multiple sites, you should be able to save time and money by taking a deal that covers all meters on the one bill, in much the same way domestic energy users can take out a Dual Fuel deal to have just the one bill for both gas and electricity. Often, suppliers will offer better deals if you combine your plans into one manageable package.

If your business has multiple site, the ideal situation would be to have a single supplier, bill and contract with an end-date that all falls in line together but getting to this point can be time consuming.

Keeping track of your multisite meters can be confusing. Depending on how many premises you have this task can grow more and more time consuming as your business expands.

The best way around this potential headache, is to bring all your energy deals in line with each other. And the simplest way to do this is to allow each plan to expire and renew them all together, this will not only save you time but ultimately money.

When you check your bill, you’ll find there are a few separate charges that make up the total amount you have to pay, including:
· Wholesale energy costs
· Transmission Use of System (TNUoS) charge (HH)
· Distribution Use of System (DUoS) charge (HH)
· Climate Change Levy (CCL)
· VAT

Your bill is made up of the costs your energy provider pays to buy your gas and electricity from wholesale suppliers – to make sure you don’t run out of gas or electricity during your contract, providers buy the energy they expect you to use in advance of it starting.

Although this means there’s no way to exit your energy deal early, at least not without having to pay up your remaining contract, these fixed-price deals protect against any increase in wholesale prices, so they won’t have an immediate impact on your bills.

Transporting and distributing energy isn’t cheap, so the costs that suppliers incur for doing so are also included in your business electricity and gas bills.

With providers also having to cover the expense of maintaining and upgrading the National Grid, these charges are worked into the bills you pay too. It’s worth noting these will vary depending on the location of your business, as different zones place different levels of demand on the network and are billed accordingly.

These costs are applied by the Distribution Network Operators (DNO), which are companies that are licensed to distribute electricity in the UK. The charges are applied for a range of factors, including day and night charges and the maximum supply requirements of sites that make up the network.

The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a tax which was introduced by the government in 2001, to encourage various sectors to improve energy efficiency and cut their greenhouse gas emissions and paid by non-domestic energy users on a per-unit basis.

Some companies are exempt from paying the CCL, depending on the amount of renewable energy they use and the type of business they are E.g. Charities

VAT on business Gas and Electricity bills is usually charged at a rate of 20%, but some businesses will be able to pay a reduced rate of 5% this if they use less than 33 kilowatt hours of electricity – or less than 145kw hours of gas – per day.

This is when your contract automatically renews when your current deal expires – if you don’t terminate them with a letter of notice within a specific timeframe, they will renew and you may not even know about it. Caution it has been known some of the smaller energy suppliers may still fix you into a new 12 month rollover contract leaving you with extremely high energy costs for the next 12 months.

Getting a rollover contract entirely depends on the energy supplier you’re with, as each of them have different and often complex rules regarding when you can cancel your contract. There are many factors to consider to prevent a roll over contract but keep these two in mind:

1. Keep an eye out for a letter from your supplier that tells you when they intend to roll you onto a new contract.

2. It’s then up you to terminate your contract before a set date. If you miss the switch period then you’ll be locked into another deal for a set period of time, and this process then repeats itself, meaning you’ll pay higher bills year after year.

If you miss the switch period then you’ll be locked into another deal for a set period of time, and this process then repeats itself, meaning you’ll pay higher bills year after year.

If your business has not attempted to switch suppliers since the market was deregulated in the early 1990s, you may be on a 28 Day supply contract and paying variable rates. These are usually expensive, which is why we recommend being on a fixed-rate, fixed-term deal. However you only need to give 28 days’ notice if you want to cancel and switch your supply.

A deemed tariff rate is applied usually when a business moves into new premises with no contract in place, and without switching to a new provider.

Similarly, out of contract rates apply when a contract comes to an end and no alternative rate is put in its place, resulting in the business being charged at the existing energy suppliers’ rate. The good news is you can get out of these contracts with just 28 days’ notice.

If you’re new to your business premises and don’t have your own energy contract in place, you’ll be supplied by the same provider as the previous tenants, and placed onto an out-of-contract or deemed rates which are higher than average until a new agreement is put into place.

Smart meters work much like energy monitors, in that they keep track of the gas and electricity you use, so you can keep a handle on exactly how much energy you’re using, as well as how and when you’re using it. This can help both businesses and households to be more energy efficient.

The main difference between and smart meter and an energy monitor is that smart meters relay all this real-time usage information directly to your supplier, so you can be sure you’re billed accurately for the energy you use.

The benefits of smart meters for gas and electricity aren’t simply limited to pricing. Problems with the service can be recognised earlier due to the more constant and accurate supply of information on your premises. As a business, this early diagnosis could make the difference between your business staying open or shutting down temporarily in the event of an energy issue.

Smart meters can be a great way to control and monitor your energy costs. Here are some of the key benefits:

· Your bills will be more accurate. This will save you money and hassle.

· You can reduce your energy usage by identifying and spreading out times of high energy usage.

· Your supplier will be able to give you more tailored, personal energy-saving advice.

Installation of a smart meter at your business premise is free.

An energy supplier requires 30 days notice of intention to switch, in this time the new chosen supplier will request the data flows from your current supplier in order to set up an appropriate billing account, providing a 30 day notice of termination was issued and the new supplier received the required data flows they will take over the supply at the agreed contract rate.

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