What you need to know about business energy when moving premises

24 April 2018

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What you need to know about business energy when moving premises

Factor in your business’ energy use and contracts, and the hassle of the relocation process is set to increase accordingly. Though it may be tempting to do nothing – which you can easily do – you risk taking a blow to your bottom line as a result, so it’s worth making sure the due diligence is done properly when it’s time to move premises. 

To make the process go as smoothly as possible, we’ve written up this helpful guide to what you need to know regarding the issues surrounding business energy when it comes to moving to new premises. Navigate using the quick links provided or scroll down for the full guide:

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A word on deemed rates

When a tenant moves into a new property without signing a new energy contract, they will pay for deemed rates; sometimes more than double the cost of those you could be paying with a contracted energy deal. It’s imperative that you take the appropriate action with a supplier as soon as you can, otherwise you could be faced with some sizeable bills for your gas and electricity. 

For more information on deemed rates, check out our help and support guide here.

What happens when you move out?

When you move premises, your current energy contract ceases from the date you move. Business energy contracts are linked to the supply point, meaning that your current deal won’t transfer over to your new address. Whether your energy deal costs more or less at the new premises depends on the supplier, meter size and consumption.

If you choose to cancel your contract, you may want to leave any existing direct debits, as there could be a final bill. You might even be due a refund if you overpaid on any previous bills. Either way, give your energy provider at least a month’s notice of your planned moving date to help things go as smoothly as possible. In most cases, energy providers will process your Change of Tenancy notification after your moving date, so that they can bill you accurately.

Tying up loose ends is key to a more streamlined process of moving premises; on the day you move out, take a meter reading of both your old and new premises and give them to your old and new energy suppliers in order to get an accurate final bill.

What happens when you move in?

If you’re continuing with your current supplier at your new premises, be sure to let them know your new address and the date your lease or ownership starts. This way, your supplier can determine whether they already manage the energy supply of this new location. If this is the case, you’ll be asked whether you want them to supply both gas and electricity. As we mentioned earlier, if the connection is already up and running, don’t be tempted to leave it as is, as you’ll likely end up paying over the odds for energy. 

In some circumstances, the current energy supplier may need supporting documentation to clarify that you are the new tenant and are now responsible for the energy contracts. Often, this involves contacting the previous or incoming tenant to request proof of the move, which can take the form of Premises Licences or information on current Business Rates.

The supply might have been disconnected

When you move into your new premises, you might find that the supply has been disconnected. This is probably due to the previous tenant not paying their bills or cancelling their contract. In this case, you may have to pay a reconnection fee or an additional deposit. 

If you’re unsure as to whether the meter is disconnected at your new premises, contact our Metering team who can check this information for you. In some cases, the meter may be capped but not disconnected, meaning you’re liable to cover the standing charge – so it’s vital that you check this as early as possible.

The connection was never set up

If it’s a new build you’re moving into, then you’ll be levied with a connection charge. Also, please be aware that it can take a while to get connected. If you’re moving into a new build, then it’s wise to compare market prices and choose a provider ahead of time.

Ignore the cold calls

During the early stages after your move, you may receive sales calls from energy firms who, having recognised that the premises is currently out of contract, are eager to sign you up for one of their business energy deals. These calls may or may not be legitimate, so be wary of offering too much information about your business before you’re sure they’re the real deal. 

Our advice would be to only engage with reputable providers and energy brokers that you’ve found yourself or through word-of-mouth recommendation. In some circumstances, the cold caller may use fraudulent tactics to lure you in, such as demanding that you sign a contract soon or risk losing your supply. While this happens in only a minority of cases, it’s something to be aware of when setting up shop on a new site.

Check the terms of your tenancy

Whatever you’ve chosen to do, be sure to give your tenancy agreement a thorough read, as this could have a profound impact on the amount you pay while in your new premises.

“I pay my energy bills directly to my landlord” 

If this is the case, your landlord will deal directly with your supplier. Energy rates will be decided by them, and included in your rent. Since your landlord is in charge of your energy bills, you won’t be able to switch suppliers, though you can request them to do so if you wish. 

It's worth noting that, while energy bills can be included in your rent, the current tenant is ultimately liable for the utilities being paid on time. Be vigilant of ‘bills included’ deals, read the small print carefully on your tenancy agreement, and if in doubt, talk to your landlord about how the utilities are paid and managed.

“I am wholly responsible for my energy bills”

 Without a landlord as the middleman, you’ll be able to switch suppliers to make sure you’re getting a fair deal, as long as you’re not in breach of any terms of the contract. This is especially important in order to avoid paying costly deemed rates.

In any event, it’s important to check your tenancy agreement when moving premises or switching suppliers.

Relocation issues

Be aware of other obstacles that you could be faced with when moving premises. Even after you’ve moved in, you could get caught out by one or two unexpected things. We’ve already talked about reconnection and connection fees, but be mindful of a few other roadblocks before you make the move.

Early termination fees 

If you move into your new premises before the contract at your current premises has expired, you may be levied with an early termination fee. It should be mentioned in the terms of your contract, so be sure to check before you make plans to move. On the other hand, if you continue to purchase energy from the same supplier at your new location, they may waive the early termination fee.

Energy efficiency and feed-in tariffs

There may be energy efficiency options available at your new location. In which case, you could carry out an independent energy audit. Contact the building’s owner, who should be able to provide you with an Energy Performance Certificate, which provides information on the building’s energy, as well as what you can do to improve its efficiency.

If you had solar panels installed at your previous premises, you may be able to take them with you to your new location. If you benefit from feed-in tariffs, then there’s no reason not to bring solar panels with you.

After all, moving property can be a great opportunity to optimise your energy supply, and ensure your energy contracts are working for you.

We hope that you found this guide useful To find out about SEFE Energy's range of business energy services, visit the homepage or call us today on 0161 837 3390. 

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