Seven tips for choosing the right business energy retailer

When it comes to selecting an energy retailer and energy contract for your business, it’s important to navigate through the myriad of options and make the best choice. Here are some essential tips to guide you in choosing the ideal energy retailer for your business.

1. Understand your business’ energy usage

Before deciding on an energy retailer and contract, it is important to ensure you have an accurate picture of your energy usage. By understanding your current energy consumption and future business plans, you will be able to forecast your future energy consumption. This information, in turn, empowers you to have more accurate conversations with your retailer about your business’ continued energy needs.

This information includes:

  • Current contract end date;
  • Current charges and costs;
  • Annual consumption; and
  • Any planned changes to the way you consume energy (such as adding or removing equipment, change of location, plans to install solar panels, changing business operations, etc.)

2. Reach out to an energy expert for advice

Some businesses prefer to negotiate their electricity contract directly with their preferred retailer, while others prefer to engage a broker or consultant to source the best energy contract for their needs.

An energy advisor or broker can help identify the right electricity agreement for your business by getting to know your energy needs and researching which available contract options would best suit these needs. They can also engage with a mix of retailers to source a variety of quotes. Many brokers can also provide insight into what retailer may be the best choice for your business, dependant on the range of solutions the retailer offers, such as electricity and gas contracts, and energy efficiency expertise.

If you’re a Shell Energy customer, your dedicated account manager already has access to your business’ energy data so is well placed to help you assess your energy needs and explore your recontracting options.

3. Consider your contracting options

Fixed-price energy contracts aren’t the only contracting option available: your business may be better suited to a flexible contracting option or a product that allows you to progressively purchase energy in smaller parcels over a period of time, such as Shell Energy’s Progressive Purchasing products.

Our Progressive Purchasing products are designed to help businesses reduce their exposure to energy price fluctuations by enabling the strategic purchase of energy during the contract period. One of our progressive purchasing products is STEP (Strategically Timed Energy Procurement) Online, which provides eligible customers with the ability to lock in energy prices in parcels as small as 5% progressively over their contract period, instead of locking in 100% of prices upfront at the time of contracting. STEP Online is perfect for those looking for greater control and choice in how they buy their electricity.

4. Understand the level of data access your retailer provides

Having access to accurate data is vital to understanding your energy needs and ensuring that your energy contract is the right fit for your business, now and into the future. While all retailers can provide access to energy data, not every retailer does so to the same depth that Shell Energy does – particularly when it comes to your billing and energy consumption data. That’s why it’s so important to look for an energy retailer that gives you access to your energy data.

Shell Energy provides customers with a number of platforms where customers can access, better understand and manage their energy data. Our secure, online customer portal offers access to quality data to help monitor your energy consumption and costs. Along with a raft of helpful reports providing data points to assess your energy profiles, better understand your invoice and provide updates on the energy market, our customer portal has everything you need to manage your energy needs right at your fingertips.

For those with more complex sites and energy needs, the Energy Management Centre (EMC) is an investment worth considering. The EMC is a resource management solution, powered by software and backed by our team of expert energy engineers, designed to help you gain deep insight into your energy environment and identify opportunities for energy efficiency at a micro-level. With the EMC, it becomes possible to access data at the deepest levels of your operations and thus access all the information you need to make better informed energy decisions.

For more information on our portal click here or click here to learn about EMC.

5. Be aware of load tolerance

Business energy needs change regularly but unfortunately not all energy retailers offer flexibility in their load tolerance to accommodate these changes. An energy contract that sets upper and lower energy usage thresholds, with additional charges for breaching these thresholds, may not be the right choice for your business.

Look for an energy retailer who offers load tolerance, which means that if your energy consumption does change – for example, when improvements have been made in energy efficiency or changes have been made to production, then you will not be surprised by any unexpected charges on your energy bill. Shell Energy does not have load restrictions, meaning that there are no penalties for consuming more or less energy than expected. Click here to get in touch and learn more about how we can help.

6. Consider the level of service you would like

Outside of price, our customers tell us that billing performance is one of the most important things they want their retailer to get right. Many organisations devote a significant amount of time resolving issues resulting from an inaccurate or untimely energy bill. That’s why choosing an energy retailer that delivers highly accurate and timely energy bills is so important.

A dedicated account manager who understands the complexities of your business and is an energy expert can offer support and can quickly resolve any issues so you can get back to business.

7. Research whether your retailer actively looks for cost saving opportunities

As the energy market is constantly changing, your energy retailer should be actively looking for ways to ensure you are getting the most out of your energy spend. Shell Energy helps its customers ensure they are on the right energy network tariff through our Network Tariff Optimisation (NTO) program.

Network tariffs are regulated charges set by the network distributor, and passed through to you, to cover the cost of building, maintaining and operating the poles and wires that deliver electricity to your business. Since network charges can make up around 30% of a large business’ energy bill, we regularly analyse our customers’ network tariffs to identify potential savings that could be realised by changing tariffs. These potential savings can amount to thousands of dollars and directly reduce our customers overall energy costs, by reducing their network charges with no impact on their retail energy contract.

If you’d like to learn more about how Shell Energy supports our customers and ensures they are getting the most out of their energy investment, click here and a member of our expert team will be happy to help you learn more.

You can also click here to learn more about the renewable energy options, such as GreenPower and environmental certificates.

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