The UK commercial energy supply market

Getting the cheapest business energy quotes for electricity and gas is just 60 seconds away. The main electricity suppliers in the UK all provide online quotes no matter what size of business you run. Whether you're a small business or large commercial organisation over at least 25 suppliers can quote for your business.

Comparing business electricity suppliers online

Electricity Suppliers

You could make substantial savings by switching your current supply to another provider. In a deregulated market, simply getting up to date rates for the cheapest tariffs should keep your bills low. Your energy supply will not be interrupted during the switching process. If you manage your account online or pay by monthly Direct Debit, then additional savings are available.

Switch and reduce costs

If you simply stay with your current supplier without renegotiating your contract, then your prices are likely to increase as you'll enter into a rollover contract. You must get new rates each year even if you want to stay with your current energy company.

By getting a quote, you'll find the best available prices. Bear in mind the cheapest rates are usually only available online. Comparison websites usually provide the Big Six energy suppliers' tariffs together with some independent companies. You could also visit each website in turn for an individual online quote.

Average kWh prices since deregulation

Since the deregulation of the Energy Industry in the UK in the late 1990s, energy prices have become dependent on the global supply market. The UK energy industry employs a traded market position. This strategy was not the case before 1998 when government monopolies existed in the energy supply.

The UK government still has an important role in meeting the energy demand of business despite the deregulation. The industry watchdog OFGEM also plays an important part in regulating market prices and competition.

The UK is not only a consumer of energy but is also a producer. In 2006, the UK was the world's ninth-largest consumer of energy and the 15th largest producer. In 2007, the UK had a total energy output of 9.5 quadrillion BTUs (British Thermal Units) from oil, natural gas, coal nuclear and renewables. Production has declined over recent years with the UK now a net importer of energy. This position makes the country more susceptible to price fluctuations in the market.

The fluctuation of energy prices

The price of energy supplied to UK markets is more volatile and has fluctuated over the last ten years with an upward trend.

The amount your business pays for energy depends on the type of fuel you use, your bargaining power as a user, the length of your contract, and external factors such as crude oil prices.

Fluctuations in the price of crude oil affect the prices of domestic and industrial fuels in the UK. The price of crude oil changes for a variety of reasons including:

  • Oil shortages (1973).
  • Political instability (1990/1).
  • Over-supply and weaker Far East demand (1998).
  • Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina (2005).
  • Geopolitical tensions and a weak dollar (2007/8 and 2013/4).

In July 2008, average monthly crude oil prices hit a new high, 10.5% higher than in the late 1970's. By January 2009, oil prices had dropped back to around $40/barrel due to concerns over poor global economic performance following the recession. By June 2009, prices had increased again to around $70/barrel. These changes were due to supply concerns in Nigeria together with indications of increased demand in the US and China.

Global changes saw a 50% reduction in oil prices towards the end of 2014. Stable oil prices during 2015 have not significantly reduced the retail prices paid by the end user.

Average prices 1999 - 2016 for non-domestic users

  • Average coal prices increased each year from 1999 to 2005, with the exception of a fall in 2003. Prices fell again in 2006 but increased in 2008.
  • Average oil prices have increased every year from 2001 to 2014 with vast reductions since.
  • Average electricity prices fell during 1999 to 2003 but rose again over the period 2004 to 2006. Since 2007, prices have risen each year.
  • Average gas prices rose between 1999 and 2006, with the exception of a fall in 2002. Since 2007, retail gas prices have risen each year.

During 2012 to 2015, retail energy prices have stabilised. Many companies now opt for three and five-year deals to lock in long-term savings.

The Big Six suppliers

In reality, there are just six suppliers in the UK providing gas and electricity services. Smaller specialist providers also exist providing additional competition in a crowded market.

The Big Six suppliers are British Gas, Southern Electric, Eon, EDF, ScottishPower, and RWE npower. Prices vary between geographic regions so could vary greatly from business to business. Therefore, it's always best to get quotes from them all to see which one will provide the best for your business.

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