FAQs

Please review our FAQs below. Please use the Search Box to find specific information or contact Energy4 by Email or Telephone for further questions

CCL will be shown separately on your bill, is subject to VAT and cannot be reclaimed from HMRC.The Climate Change Levy (CCL) was introduced in 2001 and is a government tax on businesses energy usage; this covers agriculture as well as the public sector.  The aim of the levy is to encourage commerce and industry as well as the public sector to reduce greenhouse emissions and improve one energy efficiency

 

Any supply from renewable sources is automatically exempt from CCL, as is domestic or charitable non-business use. If your organisation is defined as an energy intensive user or a horticulture user, the supply may also qualify for partial exemption

Deemed or also known as out of contract rates are considered the worst in the industry, often they apply to businesses that are new or that have terminated a contract and have not switched a supplier. However, like the 28 day contract, you also have 28 days notice period is required to switch to the cheapest electricity prices. At the moment the prices around about 45 pence/day Standing charge and 26.5 p/kWh Day Rate depending on the type of meter you have in the property

Businesses that don’t or have not done a comparison of energy prices since market deregulation in the 1990’s often find themselves locked in to a 28 day supply contract.  The prices for energy in these contracts often fluctuate up and down with the market situation and are rarely competitive.  We usually recommend that businesses switch to fixed term, or fixed rate contracts and have them for a minimum of one year sometimes with the same supplier fortunately as the name 28 day suggests a switch can happen anytime by giving 28 days notification of intention to switch which is good news for you

Half hourly meters are for those companies that are energy intensive and their average peak for electricity demand is higher than 100kWh over a three month period for the year previous.

Two simple ways to check of you are a half hour customer:

– Half hourly meters have a communications link to the energy supplier which can be read remotely on a daily basis and the information is then sent back to them

– Check your energy bill, if you are on a half hourly meter you will see that your bill begins with 00

Our specialised team can arrange for the cheapest prices from suppliers especially those that cater for the half-hourly meter market

To qualify for VAT exemption the site has to be either:

  • •For domestic use
  • A building, or part of a building, which consists of a dwelling or number of dwellings
  • A building, or part of a building, used for a residential purpose
  • A home or other institution providing residential accommodation for children
  • A home or other institution providing residential accommodation with personal care for persons in need of personal care by reason of old age, disablement, past or present dependence on alcohol or drugs or past or present medical disorder
  • A hospice
  • A residential accommodation for students or school pupils
  • Residential accommodation for members of any of the armed forces
  • A monastery, nunnery or similar establishment
  • An institution which is the sole or main residence of at least 90% of its residents
  • Except use as a hospital, a prison or similar institution, a hotel, inn or similar establishment
  • Self catering holiday accommodation
  • A caravan
  • A houseboat
  • A charity otherwise than in the course of furtherance of a business
  • Where there is a supply of goods or services partly for domestic or charitable endeavours
  • If at least 60% of the goods or services qualify (meet the aforementioned criteria the whole shall be treated as meeting the criteria)

There are two more common types of contracts for businesses, 28 day rolling contracts and the Deemed Rates contracts

If you have recently moved into a property, then your electricity and gas suppliers will be the same as the previous tenants. It’s important you do this shortly after taking occupation of the property as your supplies might be on out of contract rates which are much higher than conventional business energy rates. Contact Energy4 now to see what we can do to help you

Energy4 do most of the work in regards to the switching process but you need to send a letter of termination to your existing supplier in order to avoid being rolled over by them

You need to find out what your suppliers rules are about termination as each supplier has their own T&C’s you signed up to

The easiest way to switch suppliers is to let us do the work and you sit back and look after your company

NO. If you give sufficient notice according to your energy supplier’s rules then there is very little likelihood of an objection, however, your suppliers could object if you have outstanding debts or a contract that may still have a period to run. Contact Energy4 now to see what Energy4 can do to help you

Unlike other cost reduction companies, Energy4 is registered and regulated by 15 ENERGY SUPPLIERS – perhaps one of the biggest portfolios in the UK. We are able to identify from the sheer number of tariffs the most competitive for your business

We work diligently and ethically on your behalf taking out all the stresses and wasted resources from your business

Because our background is in Cost Reduction Analysis we validate everything in your energy account you can be assured that we have looked very closely

Be aware of the renewal letter window period for termination (For example: “if you wish to terminate your electricity or gas contract you must contact us in writing no sooner than 120 days and no later than 90 days before the anniversary of the contract signing date”)

If you opt out during the renewal period no charges are applied. If notice is not given for cancellation, you will be automatically signed up for another year or agreed duration. The Renewal Letter will also state when you will need to tell you current supplier you wish to leave them

A business energy contract is a legal agreement between two or more parties. A rollover contract is signed at the beginning of your business energy contract and should be read carefully before signing. It details what happens if you don’t renew your contract in the renewal period. A rollover contract gives you information on how to notify for cancellation or non-renewal

Yes, In our experience energy suppliers try to renew contracts at prices which are typically around 25-30% more than the market rate. This is why our services are so important to helping your business reduce costs where possible

With renewals of existing contracts (verbal or written) there is no ‘cooling off’ period and the contract is binding immediately on your confirmation with your energy supplier. Where we might be able to help is if your contract has been automatically renewed without your confirmation. Contact us for more details about how we can submit a Notice of Termination on your behalf to ensure you’re not automatically renewed and become free to move to a different supplier

Court summons for a disputed utility bill, can Energy4 help?

Yes, Depending on how far the process has progressed we might be able to intervene to ensure all the correct procedures have been followed. Because the energy supplier will have applied to the Magistrate’s Court to have your meter disconnected.

To help prevent progression to a court summons make sure you contact us at:

contact@energy4.co.uk
If you receive any demand from your energy supplier, the quicker we can assess the situation the easier it is to be able to start negotiations where appropriate

Energy suppliers are demanding large payments for back dated usage, can Energy4 help?

Yes, we can and we are very experienced in analysing and managing this type of situation, often to a favorable resolution for our clients

Sometimes energy suppliers make mistakes and we are experts at identifying any errors to provide you with independent checks. We can confirm if the demand is valid, and if so, assist in negotiating appropriate terms to settle the outstanding amount

It’s much easier to begin negotiations to a successful outcome earlier in the process so it’s best to contact us as soon as you’re aware of any issue

No, We strongly advise never to confirm anything verbally over the phone with any supplier / energy broker. In our experience this only benefits the supplier and often means an in-depth process has not been fully completed to support your business

You can have confidence that Energy 4 will always provide you with all the options, advice and recommendations to make an informed and systematic decision based on facts

Energy supplier confirms I am on the best tariff for my usage! how can I be sure?

DO NOT take tariff information from only one supplier, It may the best tariff that your current supplier can offer, but not necessarily the best on the market to meet your needs

Never discuss your tariff with only one supplier, you as the customer, must talk to ALL suppliers for the best deals

The truth is that many suppliers have provide incorrect information to customers, this can be found via OFGEM

Energy4 on your beghalf, can check ALL suppliers for the best deals

Energy4 provides a free, honest and independent service to check your supplies, providing expert help you can trust

Energy suppliers take credit issues very seriously with their customers. There are number of solutions that Energy4 can look at and see what Energy4 can do to help you move to another supplier

Yes, ALL businesses are free to choose ANY energy utility supplier that operates within the UK based on your locality. Specific Green Energy suppliers and Local CHP suppliers can ONLY supply to local customers

However, business customers must:

  • End the contract with the current supplier as per Contract Terms and Conditions e.g.
  • Pay ALL outstanding debts
  • Notify suppliers 4 months prior to the end of the contract that you the business owner are looking for another supplier both in writing and in email

YES. Energy4 have a selection of suppliers to cater for your needs depending on your locality

With our buying power and knowledge through our consultants. What we do depending on the number of suppliers you use and the size of your business the process of analysing, reviewing and negotiating to make sure you are on the best tariff can be very time consuming, stressful and often results in frustrating outcomes. Our skills and experience provides us with the ability to strategically analyse your invoices and usage and then find the best solutions to help you reduce costs. We have expert negotiating skills for obtaining any rebates due to you for backdating incorrect tariffs and we do all this on your behalf, leaving you to concentrate on running your business

YES, The wholesale price of gas and electricity is not easily predictable and continually fluctuates influenced by world events and the supply and demand of the world’s producers and consumers

Fluctuating wholesale prices mean that the price of gas and electricity offered to UK commercial customers by the 15 or so supply companies is never the same

By constantly monitoring the changes in the energy market, we can help the customer identify the most competitive gas and electricity prices for an individual business or site

NO. Energy4 DOES NOT work with preferred energy suppliers.

Energy4, is a TPI (Third Party Intermediate), Not a sales consultant or sales contractor working on-behalf or for a specific energy supplier

Energy4 provides an non bias service that is client focused, supplying clients with all the energy utility options available

Energy4 receives commission from ANY supplier that your business decides to selects, based on price, tariff or personal preference

Energy4 DOES NOT ADD, Secondary and Third charges to your bill. If this is found, please contact Energy4.

The supplier that your business decides to selects will NOT place, Secondary and Third charges to your bill on our behalf. If this is found, please contact Energy4.

NO, businesses can have ANY supplier they prefer based on cost, tariff, personal preference and locality.

Businesses NO LONGER need to acquire both gas and electricity from ONE supplier

Energy4 will provide you with a report, looking at your accounts and find out which options would be best for your business needs

Contact us, If you have your recent energy bill or a renewal letter handy we can quote immediately by phone, this will be based on our comparison of the cheapest prices with energy suppliers. Our live system is regularly updated daily with the latest prices across the market; we include the ‘Big Six’ energy companies on our books

When we give a quotation, we detail the savings you could make, give you the various options to choose from, once you have decided on the package that is best suited to you, we will arrange the contract that will be between the supplier and you, we will also keep on top of the situation to make sure that the transfer is smooth and trouble free

Our hours are from 8.30am to 5pm, we are available Monday to Friday. Contact us on 01642 888814 & 88816 or you can email us directly at quote@energy4.co.uk

Each supplier has different termination requirements

  • Please review your Terms and Conditions for cancellation contracts
  • Please pay all outstanding debts
  • Some suppliers demand both a letter and email to confirm a request for change. Please send Energy4 your contract if you cannot identify this.
  • Specific suppliers will offer 28 days to change suppliers

Energy4 will NOT at no point is your energy supply interrupted. We do not abandon you after the switch; we will keep in touch and also remind you before your contract is due to end so you have the options to look at prices again before signing up another contract term

This can depend on the supplier and the market. We are notified directly by suppliers when their prices change. These are then immediately input into our pricing matrix to make sure that the prices you see are as up-to-date as possible. Prices for some suppliers may change every day whilst other suppliers’ prices may not be change for a week

Our company is 100% independent, we do not favour one energy company over another, and we work with all the energy companies. We also put the various different quotes into perspective by creating a spreadsheet and a financial forecast. We take your estimated annual usage from your bills, calculate the annual spend using the quotes we have sourced for you and detail your annual spend

This makes it easier to establish the best deal, as all suppliers vary the standing charge and unit rates but using your business patterns of usage will show you the best savings

Some of our rates are exclusive to our company and consumers will often not be able to negotiate such rates themselves. Our commitment to our customers is to offer them the best value for money with deals that will benefit our customers the most, we do not favour one supplier over another nor do we offer a particular supplier because their commission is better than another as some brokers and consultants do. Our commitment is to our customers first, we believe their savings is important

Energy4 analyse all your energy usage and with 15+ ENERGY SUPPLIERS we are registered with help you find the best one for your business needs

Energy4 can assist you with this, if you do not have the time to review your contacts

Because we simplify the process as much as possible we only need a minimal amount of time from you or the person who deals with this in your business normally its the Decision Maker. It’s really easy and very quick for you to receive a no obligation Free Quote. Just follow these few simple steps

Step 1 – Latest Copy of Invoice

Just provide us with a up-to-date full copy (both sides and all pages) of your latest invoice in respect of ALL your electricity and gas supplies. If you have multiple sites, we need the latest invoice for each site.

To streamline the process please write your latest meter readings on each of the invoices

Step 2 – Letter of Authority

Energy 4 needs your permission to speak to energy suppliers so all we need is a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) on your headed paper which we can send to you by email or fax (the LOA covers both electricity and gas accounts)

Step 3 – Send to Energy 4

Return the copy invoices and your LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) and we will complete the Free Account Quote for your business. You can post, fax or scan the LOA and invoices. The process takes 2 – 3 weeks so will be in touch with you as soon as possible . If however you have your renewal letter to hand and we don’t want to get rollover then please tell us and we will make it a priority and start working to get the best unit price from the suppliers

NO. Just as with residential customers, if a company changes to a new supplier, nothing changes other than the price that is paid for the gas or electricity flowing through the meter. The paperwork, meter and network all remain the same, it is only the company which reads the meter that changes

Energy4 offer a number of suppliers, who will accept contracts signed. We use a well established verbal system as well as written contracts which are legally binding

Your MPAN is the unique identifying number of the Electricity meter at your property. Meter Point Administration Number, also known as MPAN, Supply Number or S-Number, is a 21-digit reference

 

Your MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) is the unique identifying number of the Gas meter at your property. It is usually a 6 to 10 digit number, sometimes referred to as an “M” number, and can be found on your gas bill (generally on the back of the bill)

Feed-In Tariffs were introduced on 1 April 2010 and replaced UK government grants as the main financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies. Most domestic technologies qualify for the scheme, including:

  • solar electricity (PV) (roof mounted or stand alone)
  • wind turbines (building mounted or free standing)
  • hydroelectricity
  • anaerobic digesters
  • micro combined heat and power (CHP)

The UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) makes the key decisions on FITs in terms of government policy. The energy regulator Ofgem administers the scheme

KVA which stands for kilo Volt Amps, is used to refer to the measure of power in a transformer. It is as a result of the product of voltage and power. The kilo Volt Amps is mainly used for the purpose of showing the output capacity in a generator

The RO came into effect in 2002 in England and Wales, and Scotland, followed by Northern Ireland in 2005. It places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources

Most of the energy suppliers require a minimum credit rating for your business therefore, with a good credit score you have the best chance of getting the best prices.

Some of the other variables that determine the eligibility for cheaper energy prices include:

1) Type of business are sole trader, limited company etc, what sector, such as manufacturing, retail etc.

2) Post code

3) Direct debit payment terms are the best way to pay and this also shows the supplier you will pay on time.

4) Your meter profile is the first two digits on your meter reference number, the range is between 00 and 08, this classification is related to your consumption as small business has an average 03/04 profile.

5) Your annual consumption as SME is averages about 20,000 kWh annually

If you are unsure of your contract status, you can find out from your supplier by asking them to check your end date, or you could instruct us to do so on your behalf with a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA)

Energy 4 receives introductory fees from the winning energy supplier when tendering your energy. This means we are completely INDEPENDENT and best placed to help you reduce costs and make efficiencies. We work for our clients NOT for energy suppliers

I already have an energy broker, so why do I need Energy4?

Energy brokers and Energy consultants are not all the same and operate in different ways.

Some work indirectly for energy suppliers (so the same energy supplier is always put forward)

Some only have access to 2 or 3 energy suppliers so their quotes are similarly limited

Energy4 go beyond this and put your tender out to all the suppliers which include the Big 6

It is the term used by the energy industry to describe giving notice that you do not want to be automatically renewed at the end of your current contract normally they ask this to be done by writing or email

Does it mean my electricity or gas will be disconnected? NO you will not be disconnected

Energy4 can help log your Notice of Termination with your Energy supplier at the right time

With our buying power and knowledge through our consultants . What we do depending on the number of suppliers you use and the size of your business the process of analysing, reviewing and negotiating to make sure you are on the best tariff can be very time consuming, stressful and often results in frustrating outcomes. Our skills and experience provides us with the ability to strategically analyse your invoices and usage and then find the best solutions to help you reduce costs. We have expert negotiating skills for obtaining any rebates due to you for backdating incorrect tariffs and we do all this on your behalf, leaving you to concentrate on running your business.

Energy4 simplifies the process as much as possible we only need a minimal amount of time from you or the person who deals with this in your business normally its the Decision Maker. It’s really easy and very quick for you to receive a no obligation Free Quote. Just follow these few simple steps

Step 1 – Latest Copy of Invoice

Just provide us with a up-to-date full copy (both sides and all pages) of your latest invoice in respect of ALL your electricity and gas supplies. If you have multiple sites, we need the latest invoice for each site.

To streamline the process please write your latest meter readings on each of the invoices.

Step 2 – Letter of Authority

Energy4 needs your permission to speak to energy suppliers so all we need is a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) on your headed paper which we can send to you by email or fax (the LOA covers both electricity and gas accounts)

Step 3 – Send to Energy4

Return the copy invoices and your LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) and we will complete the Free Account Quote for your business. You can post, fax or scan the LOA and invoices. The process takes 2 – 3 weeks so will be in touch with you as soon as possible . If however you have your renewal letter to hand and we don’t want to get rollover then please tell us and we will make it a priority and start working to get the best unit price from the suppliers.

We strongly advise never to confirm anything verbally over the phone with any supplier / energy broker. In our experience this only benefits the supplier and often means an in-depth process has not been fully completed to support your business.

You can have confidence that Energy4 will always provide you with all the options, advice and recommendations to make an informed and systematic decision based on energy market data, real facts and help you identify false information sold by the energy market

It may the best tariff that your current supplier can offer, but not necessarily the best on the market to meet your needs. Why waste time checking with other suppliers when you can leave it all to Energy4, for the free, expert help you can trust, with current energy market prices

Yes, Energy4 can and we are very experienced in analysing and managing this type of situation, often to a favourable resolution for our clients.

Sometimes energy suppliers make mistakes and we are experts at identifying any errors to provide you with independent checks. We can confirm if the demand is valid, and if so, assist in negotiating appropriate terms to settle the outstanding amount.

It’s much easier to begin negotiations to a successful outcome earlier in the process so it’s best to contact us as soon as you’re aware of any issue.

Depending on how far the process has progressed we might be able to intervene to ensure all the correct procedures have been followed. Because the energy supplier will have applied to the Magistrate’s Court to have your meter disconnected.

To help prevent progression to a court summons make sure you contact Energy4 at:

contact@energy4.co.uk

If you receive any demand from your energy supplier, the quicker we can assess the situation the easier it is to be able to start negotiations where appropriate.

In Energy4’s experience energy suppliers try to renew contracts at prices which are typically around 25-30% more than the market rate. This is why our services are so important to helping your business reduce costs where possible

With renewals of existing contracts (verbal or written) there is no ‘cooling off’ period and the contract is binding immediately on your confirmation with your energy supplier. Where Energy4 might be able to help is if your contract has been automatically renewed without your confirmation. Contact us for more details about how Energy4 can submit a Notice of Termination on your behalf to ensure you’re not automatically renewed and become free to move to a different supplier

No, you will not be disconnected – it’s just a term used by the energy industry to describe giving notice that you do not want to be automatically renewed at the end of your current contract normally they ask this to be done by writing or email . Which Energy4we can do this for you and make sure it is logged at the right time.

No, you will not be disconnected – it’s just a term used by the energy industry to describe giving notice that you do not want to be automatically renewed at the end of your current contract normally they ask this to be done by writing or email . Which Energy4we can do this for you and make sure it is logged at the right time.

On receipt of a customer’s signed contract, the energy supplier will normally write (at some point) to confirm details and enclose the T&Cs. Sometimes this is known as the ‘Welcome Pack` or a letter. At the same time, the new energy supplier will apply through an independent agency, to take over the supply. The old energy supplier may object because of a debt on the account, or because the customer is still in contract on the day the new energy supplier has applied to take over, or because no TERMINATION NOTICE was received, received too early, or received too late.

On further checking, the date issue can normally be resolved, but an aged debt must be settled before the old energy supplier will release a customer. If timely TERMINATION NOTICE was not provided, then the old energy supplier is normally entitled to block the transfer.

We contact you 7 days before the transfer date to request a meter read. We also ask you to forward a copy of your final billing, which we reconcile with the first bill from your new supplier.

In our experience around 30% of transfers have meter related problems – so we carry on checking until we are satisfied.

Why do I need Energy4? I already have an energy broker!

Energy brokers and Energy consultants are not all the same and operate in different ways.

Some work indirectly for energy suppliers (so the same energy supplier is always put forward)

Some only have access to 2 or 3 energy suppliers so their quotes are similarly limited

Energy4 go beyond this and put your tender out to all the suppliers which include the Big 6

If you are a business consumer, switching energy supplier or setting up a new account as soon as you move into new premises can make a big impact on cutting your bills
Whatever your business, the following hints and tips will help you when you’re comparing deals and switching to a new supplier

Talk to suppliers
Ask your own supplier if it has any better offers. This will give you something to use as a benchmark when looking at other deals. Note that if you are consuming energy on a default – or deemed – tariff, your supplier has an obligation to take all reasonable steps to tell you about other available contracts and how you can get information on these

Check your meter
Taking regular meter readings will help build up a picture of your consumption over time. You may need to know your consumption so that other suppliers can provide a quote for you
Your meter has unique registration numbers: the MPAN (meter point administration number for electricity meters) and MPRN (meter point reference number for gas meters). Give these to your new supplier. You can find them on your meter, as well as on your bill

Know your contract
Make sure you know the terms of your current contract.
For example, how long before your existing contract ends can you tell your supplier that you want to switch? Many contracts will only allow you to do this at certain times
When you are talking to a competing supplier ask them to explain the terms and conditions of their deal so you can make sure you fully understand them before you sign up
Most business deals do not offer a cooling off period (this is the option of cancelling a contract within a certain amount of days after it is agreed). This includes when you have agreed to the contract over the telephone. So be sure that you are fully happy with all the terms and conditions before you agree to it.
Further information on energy contracts for business consumers is available in our factsheet

Some businesses choose to use Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) to help them compare their current deals with those of other suppliers.
If you do decide to use a TPI, ask them:
which suppliers they represent (so you know whether they will compare the whole market for you)
how their services are paid for (for example, will its commission be included in the prices you are quoted or will they charge a one-off fee?).
If you have any concerns about the actions of a TPI you can talk to your local trading standards department which, along with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), has enforcement powers which may apply to some forms of misleading information and communications

1 First Steps
You should contact the energy company directly. The phone number and website will be on your energy bill.
2 Talk to them
Explain to the energy company what the problem is and what you want them to do about it.
3 Support
The Citizens Advice consumer service can help you through the process if you can’t find the energy company’s details or need support. They will give you information and advice, and lend you their expertise if you need it.
You can call them on 08454 04 05 06 Or visit their website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
4 Taking it further
Ombudsman Services Energy can investigate if: the complaint hasn’t been resolved to your satisfaction after 8 weeks; or the energy company deadlocks the complaint (they say they can do no more to resolve it) before 8 weeks are up
You can call them on 0330 440 1624 Or visit their website: www.os-energy.org

If you have a complaint or enquiry about an energy supplier or network operator you should contact that company directly in the first instance. When you contact them, explain the issue and ask them to resolve it. You can make a complaint by email, in writing or on the phone.
All companies are required through strict complaints handling standards to deal proactively with complaints from micro business consumers. They all have complaints procedures detailing how they do this.
The energy company should respond and try to resolve your complaint. You then need to decide whether you think their response is reasonable and will solve the problem you have. If it doesn’t, tell them.

If you have a complaint or enquiry about an energy supplier or network operator you should contact that company directly in the first instance. When you contact them, explain the issue and ask them to resolve it. You can make a complaint by email, in writing or on the phone.
All companies are required through strict complaints handling standards to deal proactively with complaints from micro business consumers. They all have complaints procedures detailing how they do this.
The energy company should respond and try to resolve your complaint. You then need to decide whether you think their response is reasonable and will solve the problem you have. If it doesn’t, tell them.

Posted in:

Ombudsman Services: Energy (OSE) is the free independent scheme set up to investigate complaints from micro business consumers that the energy company cannot resolve (after eight weeks or deadlock). OS:E can require the company to correct the problem, apologise, explain what happened, and make a financial award. Its decisions are binding on the energy company but not the consumer.

Citizens Advice consumer service is the government funded service offering advice and information by telephone and online on a range of consumer issues, including gas and electricity. As well as being able to offer practical, impartial advice, it can refer consumers to bodies that are better able to assist.

You can contact Citizens Advice consumer service on: 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

Citizens Advice consumer service is the government funded service offering advice and information by telephone and online on a range of consumer issues, including gas and electricity. As well as being able to offer practical, impartial advice, it can refer consumers to bodies that are better able to assist.

You can contact Citizens Advice consumer service on: 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

Citizens Advice consumer service will refer all consumers it identifies as being vulnerable or potentially vulnerable, threatened with disconnection, or who have been disconnected, to the extra help unit in Consumer Futures.
You can get further information about Consumer Futures by visiting its website at: www.consumerfutures.org.uk
Its powers include the right to investigate any consumer complaint about actual or threatened disconnection and to investigate complaints from vulnerable consumers.

Ofgem’s don’t have a direct role in dealing with individual disputes between customers and energy suppliers. Ofgem collectS information from a range of sources as part of our market monitoring activity, and keep markets under review to ensure that all licensees comply with the relevant legislation and licence obligations.
There are circumstances in which a dispute between a network company and a customer may be referred to the Authority (our governing body) for determination. These circumstances are set out in statute, in particular, the Gas Act 1986 and the Electricity Act 1989 (the Acts) and in the licence obligations on network companies.

So that the smallest firms know when they can compare the market, we require suppliers to put the end date and notice period on all bills for fixed term contracts. We also allow smaller businesses to tell their supplier they want to switch at the end of their deal at any time before the notice period.

If your supplier does not have the full information about your business you may be asked for information on the number of employees (full-time equivalent), the turnover and energy consumption. Your supplier is required to take all reasonable steps to identify whether you are a micro business or may decide to automatically treat you as a micro business.

In the first instance you should approach your supplier with the supporting evidence that you do qualify. Your evidence should include number of employees and annual turnover or consumption. You should also remind them of their obligation to take all reasonable steps to identify whether you are a micro business.

Complaint letter if energy supplier overcharges

[Your address]

[Energy provider]

To [the Complaints Manager]

Account Number: [Details]

I write in connection with the above account.

On [date] I received a bill for energy usage between [start date] and [end date] and I have been charged the sum of [state amount that has been charged].

[The energy consumption/ meter reading] stated on the bill is inaccurate because [give reasons for challenging the bill and provide any information that could help support your complaint eg what your quarterly or monthly consumption would ordinarily be or what the correct meter reading is].

I would request that you review this bill and send me a revised, accurate bill in its place along with confirmation [that your records have been amended accordingly/ of the sum that has been credited to my account].

I look forward to hearing from you within the next 14 days

Yours faithfully,

If you failed to tell your supplier of your intention to end a contract before the notice period, it is possible your supplier has rolled you over onto a new contract. For micro businesses we only allow suppliers to rollover a contract for a maximum period of one year

You should:
consider what energy contract is suitable for your business needs, shop around and compare suppliers’ offers. Read the section on switching for advice on how to do this make sure you understand the key aspects of your contract read the full Terms and Conditions of your contract when you receive them and the Statement of Renewal Terms. Keep them for future reference
keep copies of all correspondence, in case of any disputes with your supplie

A deemed contract is normally in place when any type of customer moves into new premises and starts to consume gas, electricity, or both, without agreeing a contract with a supplier. A deemed contract may also exist where an existing contract comes to an end but the customer continues to consume energy. This second possibility could arise in two ways:

1. If a contract is terminated (by either the supplier or the customer) but the supplier continues to supply the customer, there is likely to be a deemed contract if:

the original contract does not expressly say what will happen after termination. For example, if it does not say that the original contract terms must apply when you are ‘out of contract’
the existing customer continues to consume gas, electricity, or both at the premises
2. Where a contract expires but the customer is still using gas, electricity, or both from the same supplier, a deemed contract is likely to exist if:

the original contract does not expressly say what will happen after expiry, (eg it does not contain renewal provisions or state that the original terms still apply)
the existing customer has told the supplier that they don’t want the original contract to continue.
Your rights when you are on a deemed contract

If you start taking supply on a deemed contract, your supplier must:

take all reasonable steps to provide you with the Principal Terms of the deemed contract including the charges or fees
provide you with a copy of the full contract if you ask for it
take all reasonable steps to tell you about other available contracts and how you can get information on these
take all reasonable steps to ensure that the terms of its deemed contract are not unduly onerous.
If you are a business customer using energy on a deemed contract, the supplier cannot:

prevent you from switching to another supplier, for any reason or at any time, (ie they cannot object to you transferring for reasons of debt or contract)
require you to give notice before terminating the contract or charge you a termination fee.
For more informtaion see the full electricity supply licence conditions, setting out the terms relating to deemed contracts.

The Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) scheme is an environmental programme introduced by the government to promote widespread uptake of a range of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies.

It is available through licensed electricity suppliers, requiring some of them to make tariff payments on both generation and export of renewable and low carbon electricity.
To find out more about renewable electricity generation and how to join the FIT scheme, your initial point of contact should be the Energy Saving Trust which can be contacted on 0300 123 1234 (England and Wales) or 0800 512 012 (Scotland).
FIT Licensees are required to take applicants through the registration process. FIT Licensees are also the main point of contact with accredited customers for the submission of meter readings and are responsible for making payments based on meter readings.
Applicants wishing to receive FITs for renewable generation are advised to contact their supplier in the first instance.
Information on FITs policy (which is set by the government), including guidance on complaint procedures and processes, can be found on the web pages of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Information on our operational role in delivering the FITs can be found in the Environmental Programmes section on our website.

ANSWER 1: TPIs are organisations or individuals that give energy related advice or help you to procure energy or manage your energy needs. They act as an interface between consumers and energy suppliers and can help you to make better energy choices. Switching sites, energy brokers and energy efficiency advice providers are some examples of TPIs.

As the market develops we expect TPIs and their services to continue to evolve. TPIs will enable consumers to engage effectively with the market and help make positive choices.

Many businesses choose to use TPIs [1], as they require contracts tailored to their specific needs. Choosing your TPI carefully can help you get a better deal, although some TPIs may contact you directly. Whether you approach a TPI directly or not, you should not feel under pressure to use their services.

There are some important points to consider if you are using a TPI:

  • Different TPIs operate in different ways: some work independently and some work on behalf of one or more suppliers.
  • If you use a TPI, you may pay them directly or, more often, indirectly through your supplier. In that case your supplier may charge you a fee linked to your consumption, or a flat rate. This fee may not be shown separately on your bill: it can simply be included in your overall charges.

ANSWER 2:

Are TPI services free?  No, TPIs always receive a payment, directly or indirectly.  There are instances where not for profit organisations may not charge the consumer.

Do TPIs always research the whole market? No, some TPIs research the whole market, whereas others represent one or more suppliers.

Will a TPI always find the best energy deal for you?  No, TPIs are not necessarily required to find the best deal for you.

Is agreeing to a contract over the phone binding? Yes, your verbal agreement is binding.

Are you always obliged to accept an offer from a TPI? No, always ensure you understand the terms and conditions before you accept.

Does a TPI supply your energy? No, your energy supplier provides your energy.

ANSWER 3:

Know your rights

We do not licence TPIs. Instead, TPIs have to follow consumer protection rules, including those which relate to business customers. In addition, some TPIs voluntarily decide to follow self-imposed rules, but with no official endorsement.

For example, the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 prohibits misleading advertising to businesses.

Currently the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards Services have powers to enforce these rules. If you think a TPI has mis-sold you a contract, you can contact them. However, this year we made a case to government to acquire these powers.

In June 2013 we issued a micro business consumers to seek stakeholder views on our assessment of the current TPI market. Additionally, alongside this factsheet, we have published an Open Letter on TPIs which outlines our activities in the TPI sector.

If things go wrong: if you are not satisfied with your TPI you can approach both the TPI and your energy supplier, or get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service. Irrespective of who your TPI works for, micro business consumers can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline on 08454 040506.

ANSWER 4:

Important questions to ask a TPI before you consider using their services

Your choice of TPI:

• What service/s do they provide?

• Do they work only with certain suppliers, or independently and with all energy suppliers?

Your money:

• How are the charges for the services broken down?

• Will those charges change over time?

Your contract:

• How long would you be locked into the contract?

• Is there a termination fee?

Always take your time to consider your options before committing to a contract.

The amount that a customer would have to pay for gas, electricity or both over one whole year