Can online brokers be a cheap way of gaining better rates for business electricity?

By | January 5, 2012

Saving money and reducing overheads is always an important consideration for businesses operating in various sectors. Negotiating the most affordable deals for business utilities such as gas, electricity, water, phone lines and broadband should be a priority when setting up or upgrading a business premises. Even a seemingly minor difference in the cost of tariffs could add up to significant expenses over time and you might also want to consider how changes in the energy markets could affect the price you pay for business electricity over time.

Some businesses with particularly high electricity needs consult brokers to help them negotiate better deals, rather than speaking directly with energy suppliers themselves. There can be advantages and drawbacks to dealing with brokers, depending on each situation – but regardless of whether your company chooses to go with a broker or not, consulting an impartial advisor could help you understand how energy tariffs work and advise you on the options that could be best suited to you.

The rates charged by energy brokers vary, and finding out what their services will cost you is an essential first step – especially if the reason you’re hiring brokers is to obtain a lower price on your business energy and save money. There are also other factors you need to check, including the credentials of the broker and their experience and success rate at helping other companies arrange lower energy rates in the past. You can ask brokers to provide examples of up to six previous contracts to help you make your decision, and you might want to confirm whether brokers are affiliated with regulators such as the utilities intermediaries association (UIA) in the UK.

The role of brokers is to offer advice and explain how changes in the energy markets could affect your business, such as providing warnings of predicted price increases in the near future based on their expertise at analysing market trends. Brokers will require information about your company’s current energy usage and your electricity contract, and they can take care of all the paperwork and communications involved in dealing with suppliers or helping you switch to a new supplier so that your company can start enjoying the benefits of cheap business electricity.

Brokers need not be viewed as essential services however, especially if you have the time and resources to carry out research into the energy markets independently. If you have been with the same energy supplier for a number of years, you may also feel you are in a better position to speak to them directly and negotiate the best tariff for your company.