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Running a business is tough, and to pile on the pressure, energy prices are now through the roof. There’s zero shame in admitting you’re finding it difficult to pay your energy bill, especially during the dark, frosty winter we’re enduring at the same time as a cost of living crisis.

You’re not alone. Thousands of small businesses are facing the same situation this winter, but the good news is there’s help out there. We’re going to discuss some potential solutions for anyone in this position, and share some tips which might help your business.

How do I check if my business has any options with its energy supplier?

The very moment you find yourself facing the prospect of not being able to pay your energy bills, immediately contact your supplier. The earlier you do it, the better your chances of coming to an agreement.

Remember, if they can’t collect money from a customer, it’s as much their problem too, so it’s in their best interests to help you arrange a payment plan. Together, you’ll be able to map something out, which is much better than having letters come through your mailbox prompting you to take action.

After all, they can’t fix an issue they don’t know is there, and it looks so much better if you address it as soon as you can, and show a willingness to resolve the problem.

When you talk to your energy supplier, they can go over:

  • An overview of your account and your usage
  • The opportunity to extend your payment deadline or to set up a payment plan
  • Payment breaks or reductions
  • Access to hardship funds

We understand there’s a chance you won’t come to an agreement with your supplier, and if that’s the case, try contacting Citizens Advice.

If the situation between you and your energy provider escalates to the point that you may be disconnected, contact the consumer helpline who can offer support and may be able to help you resolve the issue. Again, if you need an energy supply to generate income in your business (and therefore pay your bills), it’s in their best interests to keep you connected!

Shop around for a new supplier

If you’re not satisfied with the help or service your current supplier is offering, then you’re perfectly entitled to shop around elsewhere.

This could make a huge difference, with the Business Comparison website stating a quick energy comparison could save your business up to 40% per year on its energy costs.

As accountants we usually recommend that businesses regularly review suppliers anyway, to make sure you’re not paying more for goods or services than you need to.

Running a business already means you have lots to think about, but adding this to your quarterly task list will help you stay on top of your costs, without losing out on quality.

It’s also well worth monitoring your financial reports on a more regular basis too. It will help you spot spending patterns, and identify areas which could be more efficient.

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Look for other finance schemes and grants

It’s very common for energy companies to offer schemes and grants that help you with your energy efficiency, which in turn reduces your bill. You’ll need to speak with your supplier to see what they have on offer (which is why contacting them immediately is a must).

If you find your supplier has nothing to offer, there are other options:

  • Ask your local council about small business funding
  • Use GOV.UK business finance and support finder
  • You can seek help from charities by checking their free grants scheme (Grants Online) or go on Let’s Talk and see if there are any business funds you can apply for

Get as much advice as you can

This is brilliant for two reasons. One, you might be offered a potential solution and two, speaking to someone about your situation and knowing you’re not alone can be very beneficial to your mental health. Running a business can be very rewarding, but it can also sometimes feel a bit lonely.

Have a chat with your accountant for more advice and support or visit Business Debtline.

Side note: Be wary of scams

Let’s face it, scammers are calculated, and they’re always one step ahead with new ways to catch people out. They have lots of different personas and use them as a way to get hold of your personal information. Some examples are:

  • Pretending to be a supplier offering a refund
  • Saying they’re from the government, local council, or another trusted company asking for your data to apply energy bill relief
  • Offering energy-saving devices
  • Offering a cheaper prepayment meter

You might encounter other scams too, such as emails claiming to be from HMRC.

Does something feel too good to be true? If the answer is yes – it’s likely a scam. If you’re ever asked to send money or personal information such as your bank details or PIN, avoid at all costs.

Learn more about how we can offer support for small businesses like yours. Call the team on 020 3355 4047 or get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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