Don't get rolled over on business energy bills
Published on : 18/04/2012
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Gas and electricity price comparison site UK Power is warning small and medium sized business: "Don't get rolled over".
Many small and medium-sized businesses in the United Kingdom are still unaware of the practice of automatic contract renewal for business energy deals – also referred to as being rolled over.
When a company is nearing the end of its current business energy contract, if they do not contact their supplier to renegotiate, or leave, within a given timeframe, their contract will automatically be renewed.
Being rolled over can cause a problem for businesses, as rolled over energy contracts can result in firms paying a much higher rate for business energy, whilst being prevented from shopping around for the best possible energy deals – which in the current economic state is a vital step for business efficiency.
If a business energy contract does get rolled over, and the firm is unaware, or decides to sign a deal with a new supplier anyway, they could be subject to legal action as it technically constitutes a breach of contract with the previous energy company.
Earlier in the year, Ofgem introduced new regulations, specifically designed to protect small and medium-sized businesses from automatic business energy contract roll overs.
One of the key threads in the regulation will require suppliers to explain important terms and conditions of contracts to the each business before they sign up; essentially resizing the usual contractual small print so it's far clearer to see and understand.
Energy suppliers are also now obliged to send a written copy – produced in plain language, and free of confusing jargon – within ten days of the contract or renewal being agreed – meaning all businesses will have a hard copy to consult.
Businesses already on contract must be contacted at least 60 days before their deal is due to end with a statement containing the renewal agreement. In this statement, the supplier must also explain that the contract will automatically be rolled over if no action is taken, and how the customer can prevent this from happening.
Despite these regulations, there are many businesses unaware of when their current contract comes to an end – leaving them open to an automatic, and potentially more expensive roll over.
It is important for small and medium businesses, in particular, to ensure they find out when their contract is due to end – as they could be missing out on the chance to shop around using an energy price comparison service, such as UK Power.
Many suppliers have varying termination notice periods – ranging from 30 days to 120 days; these periods should always be checked by businesses when planning to make a switch.
However, it is possible for businesses to sign a new contract with a new supplier up to three months before the end of their current contract – allowing a seamless transfer at the end of the contract from old to new supplier.
As part of their Don't Get Rolled Over campaign, UK Power has produced a checklist, designed to help businesses when signing a new business energy contract:
• Make sure you know when your renewal date is.
• Shop around for a competitive deal with an energy comparison site.
• Provide your supplier with the correct termination notice.
• Thoroughly read all paperwork, including terms and conditions of the contract, before signing.
• Ensure you understand the pricing structure of the deal, as well its terms and conditions. Any paperwork related the contract should also be stored in a safe space.
To ensure your small or medium sized business won't get rolled over into a new, more expensive business energy contract, contact UK Power on 0800 320 2066 or visit the website, http://www.ukpower.co.uk.
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