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Business Energy vs Domestic Energy: The Key Differences


The energy which powers your business is the same as that which powers your home, so you may assume that the commercial energy market operates in the same way as the domestic energy market. In fact, there are a number of key differences between the two. Knowing about these differences will help you understand how to find the best business energy deals, so we’ve put together a brief summary below.

Contract Length

In most cases, domestic energy contracts are rolling contracts with no definitive end date. Business energy contracts, on the other hand, are almost always fixed term deals. The fixed term is usually a period of one, two or three years, but can be as long as five years. There are some fixed price or fixed term deals available to households, but rolling contracts are most common amongst domestic customers.

Price

Business energy prices are linked to ever-changing wholesale prices, so they change daily. Contrastingly, domestic energy prices do not shift with underlying market price changes, and are only likely to change once or twice a year.

There are a number of factors which make energy typically cheaper for businesses than households. The fact that there are much higher volumes of energy involved in business deals, for example, means that suppliers will sell it to businesses at much lower rates. Suppliers also offer bespoke prices to each business, making the market much more competitive. Conversely, domestic customers are charged the same for their energy as everyone else in their region – negotiation is not an option.

Businesses also save a lot of money on energy over time because of the nature of fixed term contracts. Their energy prices are usually fixed for the duration of their contract, meaning they’ll be unaffected by any significant rises in wholesale prices which occur during that period.

VAT and Climate Change Levy

Another way in which business and domestic energy prices differ is that businesses and households pay different rates of VAT on energy. Domestic energy rates are subject to 5% VAT while business energy rates are subject to 20% VAT. Businesses are also required to pay the additional charge of Climate Change Levy on gas and electricity.

Cooling Off Period

After entering a domestic energy contract, there is always a cooling off period during which the customer is free to cancel that contract. However, when it comes to the vast majority of business energy contracts, there is no such safety net. Businesses are deemed fully capable of entering a contract willingly and in full knowledge of the terms, so cooling off periods are not a feature of the market.

Contract Termination

Businesses are not only denied a cooling off period – they’re usually completely unable to exit a fixed term contract any time before its end date. Domestic energy contracts can typically be ended any time because they simply keep rolling until the customer chooses to switch to a new one. Even in the less common cases where domestic customers have some type of fixed price or fixed term deal they will most likely have the option of ending their contract early for a small cancellation fee. This means that as a business owner, it’s much more important to be aware of and completely happy with the terms of any energy contract you’re about to enter.

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Excellent, / 10

an absolute disappointment

"I have been using switch my business for many years re the business energy deal. Normally one of the team member would contact me about 2 months before the contract terminated and look for another deal. Last year it was done by James Bainbrigge for a 1 year deal. This year I have not heard from anyone and therefore started to contact James by email and also leaving messages on his phone. After many unsuccessful attempts, I called the 0800 and 0808 numbers. I have done so more than a dozen times. Each time I was left on hold for up to ten minutes and then got cut off. I also email to sales team and received no response. In desperation I contacted customer service team twice by email, received the acknowledgment email and nothing further. My contract is running out this Saturday and therefore at the beginning of this week, I sent in a quotation. No one has contacted me to date. I cannot do anything more than what I have done. What a shamble!!!"

This review was posted by anthony on the 03rd of June 2021

Kay was extremely helpful and…

"Kay was extremely helpful and efficient, in terms of both advice and setting up our account. Would recommend 100%."

This review was posted by customer on the 24th of November 2020

After Scottish Power changed our…

"After Scottish Power changed our business rates half way through the contract we were in set up by Switch My Business, we spoke to Natalja and she helped us sort this issue. Unfortunately, Scottish Power wouldn't play ball and were not agreeing to let us out the contract. Natalja worked extremely hard to sort this out for us and even put a claim in with them for the out of contract rates they put us on as one advisor at Scottish Power said they would refund the difference then another said they would not, along with plenty of other issues and broken promises along the way. It was a long and pretty painful process but Natalja did not give up and we have won the claim against Scottish Power. Very happy with the service Natalja provided."

This review was posted by Sara on the 19th of November 2020

Prompt & efficient service from Stephen…

"Prompt & efficient service from Stephen who really went into all the details in a very short period of time. I would definitely use SMB again. Thank you Stephen!"

This review was posted by Jackie on the 18th of November 2020

Highly recommended!

"Dealt with Bhavni, she was also extremely helpful, patient and dealt with my case in a very professional way. Answered all my questions promptly and got the best rate for our business. Highly recommended!"

This review was posted by S. Amin on the 17th of November 2020