Finding the Best Gas Supplier for Your Small Business

Finding the Best Gas Supplier for Your Small Business
Finding the Best Gas Supplier for Your Small Business

Whether you’re using gas to keep your radiators on and shop cozy during the cold winter months or to power appliances and cookers in your gastropub, you’ll want to ensure your supply is reliable and affordable, and provided by a company with a good customer service record.

At home, you might have a dual fuel tariff for your gas and electricity, meaning you have one contract, one supplier, and one bill for both utilities. You can’t get dual fuel tariffs for businesses, so you’ll have to seek out a separate gas supply. However, you might find that your electricity supplier offers you a discount for using their gas service. But it pays to shop around for a more competitive rate, rather than just automatically using your electricity supplier or allowing your previous gas contract to rollover.

What to Consider When Choosing a Gas Tariff

  • the size of your business and how much gas you use: When seeking our quotes, you’ll need to specify how large your business is and how much gas you use. If you’re an established business, you should have an idea from your previous bills about how much gas you use each year, but if you’re a new entrepreneur or opening a new larger premises with different heating and cooking needs, you may want to speak to suppliers. They may be able to help you project your gas use for the year and tell you whether they’ll be able to meet your needs.
  • contract length: Business energy contracts generally last longer than domestic tariffs, which may allow you to lock in a price for years, but also gives you less flexibility if you want to switch. However, if your business moves premises or shutters, you’ll be able to exit your contract without penalty.
  • the rate you pay for gas: Generally, commercial gas contracts consist of two parts: the per unit charge, levied in pence per kilowatt hours (kWh), and the standing charge (more about that below). As with domestic gas contracts, the rate you pay for unit of gas can be either fixed, meaning it’s locked in for the term of your contract, which will be more expensive initially but will insulate your bills from fluctuations in the energy market; or variable, which will change according to the wholesale price of gas—and ultimately the operating costs and whims of your supplier. Unlike domestic gas customers, businesses can obtain gas on flexible contracts, which allow them to purchase large chunks of wholesale gas, giving businesses with high or changing energy needs more control over how much energy they purchase and when.
  • standing charge: The standing charge is a daily toll your gas supplier adds to your bill, reflecting the cost of maintaining your supply, servicing your account, and reading your meter. This can range from 25p to £1.30 a day, or £90 to £475 a year, and will depend on your supplier and size of your business. You might be able to avoid a standing charge, but will likely pay a higher rate per kWh for your gas as a result. However, if you operate a seasonal business and don’t want to be locked into daily payments for a gas service you’re not using, you might want to consider a gas tariff without a standing charge.
  • where your business is located: many suppliers operate only in certain areas of the UK, so you’ll need to enter your postcode when searching for a supplier and possibly seek out a different supplier for your new branch.
  • how many locations you have: Some suppliers offer multi-site tariffs, giving you one bill and one contract for your various business premises. Other may not bundle the sites under one contract but can offer you a discount for using their service for multiple locations.
  • protections for micro businesses: If you run a micro business—meaning you use less than 293,000 kWh of gas per year or have a fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than €2 million—you’re entitled to some protections under Ofgem regulations. Your gas supplier cannot automatically renew, or rollover, your gas contract unless you’ve been given between 60 and 120 days notice and received a letter notifying you of your old rate, new rate, and annual use in kWh—better enabling you to negotiate or seek out a better deal elsewhere. Additionally, your supplier can only automatically renew contracts that last fewer than 12 months and you can cancel your tariff with 30 days notice.
  • green gas: Unlike electricity, there are no suppliers of 100% renewable gas. However, many eco-friendly energy suppliers are expanding their offerings of ‘green gas,’ biomethane produced by the anaerobic digestion of organic waste (like manure, sewage, and grass) by bacteria in ‘green gas mills.’ Ecotricity’s gas is currently 12% biomethane and Bulb’s is 10% ‘green.’