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"Don't switch" is good advice for households. But business energy is different and there's no price cap to protect you*. "Compare now" is good advice for businesses!

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*with no price cap in place for businesses, some out of contract rates are up between 15% and 120%

The importance of regular meter readings

Accurate gas and electricity bills are an important factor for business. Without regular meter readings, energy companies estimate usage and if more has been used more than estimated, businesses can fine themselves with large, unexpected bills. This can be a real problem for businesses, especially when businesses switch gas and electricity suppliers.

Switching business energy supplier is an easy way for businesses to reduce costs, especially with rising energy costs. There are some great deals to be had. But if businesses are in debt to their current electricity and gas suppliers, they may not be able to switch until the debt has been repaid.

Why take regular meter readings?

Ensuring that you take regular meter readings and give these to your energy supplier is an easy way of reducing the chance of getting unexpected bills and finding yourself in debt.

Unlike domestic users, most businesses are tied into fixed business energy contracts. This means that businesses can usually only switch at the end of the contract. If the business is in debt with the energy supplier and they miss the opportunity to be able to switch, they could find themselves on out of contract rates, or rolled over onto a new contract, which could cost the business far more than if they had switched supplier.

Many energy suppliers now offer online services where business gas and business electricity customers are able to enter their own meter readings at any time of day, cutting out the need for estimated bills and helping customers keep a track of their weekly, monthly or annual consumption – important for budgeting in some companies, where previously estimated meter readings usually meant an educated guess at the budget to be set for gas and electricity.

Energy suppliers are also now starting to look at the possibility of introducing "smart meters" to businesses, to help with reading data from businesses automatically via a data link.

Businesses should make sure that any debts are paid off before their contracts come to an end in order to ensure that they can reduce energy bills.

UKPower.co.uk offers a free contract renewal reminder tool.