Dealing with your small business energy bills

Mae'r cyngor hwn yn berthnasol i Cymru. Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Lloegr, Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Gogledd Iwerddon, Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Yr Alban

If you work from home

If your business is based from home, you'll usually be a domestic energy customer instead of a business customer. Check what to do if you’re struggling with domestic energy bills.

There are no current government schemes to help with your business energy bills.

You might be able to save money by switching energy supplier.

There are other steps you can take if you're finding it hard to pay your microbusiness's energy bills.

What you should do depends on if:

  • you're already in debt to your supplier

  • you've been sent a bill you can't afford

  • you're regularly struggling to pay your bills

Check if something is an energy scam

Some scammers are pretending to be from energy companies to get your personal information.

If you think something might be a scam: 

  • don’t give out any personal information or bank details

  • don’t use any contact details from the possible scam

You can check if something is a scam.

Check if you can save money by switching energy supplier

You can shop around for a better deal as long as you aren't in debt to your energy supplier.

It's usually worth switching if:

  • the fixed term of your contract has ended - you'll be in a 'roll-over period' or on an 'end-of contract' tariff

  • you're on a tariff you didn't choose to be on, for example if you've taken over a new premises - you'll be on a 'deemed' tariff

These tariffs are often very expensive. You usually won't need to pay a fee or give notice to switch.

Check if you can switch to a different energy supplier.

If you're in debt to your energy supplier

If you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.

Your supplier should help you come to a solution. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you.

It's important to act quickly - your energy supply could be disconnected if you don't make arrangements to deal with the debt. Your supplier might have to get permission from a court before they can enter your property to disconnect your supply. If this happens you'll get a letter telling you when the court hearing is.

If you don’t try to negotiate with your supplier, they might threaten to disconnect you. If you're disconnected, you'll normally have a disconnection fee added to the money you owe. You'll need to pay another fee if you're reconnected. 

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone, online chat or by email.

You'll need to give information about how much money you owe - it's worth gathering any bills or letters from your energy supplier before you call. 

You can also get help and advice on the Business Debtline website.

If you’ve been told you’ll be disconnected

If you haven’t paid a bill, your supplier might say they're going to disconnect your supply if you don't pay the bill. You’ll usually have 28 days to pay your bill. Check your contract to see exactly how long you get to pay and when you’ll be classed as being in debt.

If you don’t pay your debt within the time allowed, your supplier usually only has to give you 7 days notice before your supply is disconnected. But it’s likely your supplier will contact you by letter or phone before it gets to that stage. You should speak to your supplier straight away and try to arrange to pay off the debt. If you don’t give your supplier permission to enter your property to disconnect your supply, they’ll need to get permission from a court. If this happens you'll get a letter telling you when the court hearing is.

If you’ve already been told your supply will be disconnected, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

If you can't afford to pay a bill

If you think the bill is wrong you should challenge it - call your supplier and ask how it's been calculated.

If the bill is right but you can't pay it, ask if you can arrange a payment plan. Work out a budget before you call so you know you can afford the payments.

Contact the consumer helpline if your energy company won't let you arrange a repayment plan.

If you think you've been overcharged

If you're a 'microbusiness' you can only be billed for energy you've used in the last 12 months. Check if your business is a microbusiness.

If you think you've been overcharged, call your energy supplier and complain.

Explain that because you're a microbusiness you can't be billed for energy used more than 12 months ago.

If you're struggling to pay your bills

If you often find it hard to pay your energy bills there are things you can do to try to reduce them.


If your energy supplier goes bust 

Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. You might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens. 

Read our advice about what to do if your energy supplier goes bust.

Make sure you're being billed accurately

If your supplier is estimating your bills you might be paying more than you need to each month.

Take regular meter readings and send them to your supplier. Set up a monthly reminder on your phone or calendar so you don't forget.

Check if you can get a smart meter

If you don’t have a smart meter you could ask your supplier to install one. If you rent your business space, check with your landlord. 

A smart meter will automatically send accurate readings to your energy supplier so you’ll only pay for the energy you use.

If you have a smart meter installed you’ll usually get an in-home display (IHD) - sometimes called a ‘smart energy monitor’.

You can use the IHD to track how much energy you’re using and the estimated cost. Check how to get a smart meter

Make your business energy efficient

There are ways to reduce how much electricity and gas you use - for example, you can:

  • switch off computers and other equipment overnight if they aren't being used

  • use energy efficient light bulbs

  • make sure your premises are insulated against drafts

  • only use as much hot water as you need and fix any leaking hot taps

Contacting your supplier about a problem

If you’re having a problem with your energy supply, call or use webchat to contact your supplier straight away. You can get their contact details from their website.

Tell them what’s happening, and what you want them to do about it. They might be able to sort it out then and there. You should note down the:

  • date and time you get in touch

  • person you speak to

  • problem you talk about

If your supplier doesn't solve your problem while you're on the phone or webchat, send them an email or letter repeating what you said. This means you’ll have a record of your conversation with your supplier.

When you write to your supplier include your account number and any case reference numbers you have. This makes it quicker and easier to sort out your problem.

Complaining to your supplier or broker

You might want to complain to your supplier if for example they:

  • won't fix a problem with your meter or energy supply

  • keep billing you the wrong amount

You might want to complain to your broker if for example they:

  • misled you about a contract they sold you

  • weren't clear about their fees

  • charged you more than they said they would

The first thing you should do is gather any supporting evidence. What you’ll need depends on your issue - for example you could:

  • take photos of a faulty meter

  • get together copies of unusual bills

  • gather notes from phone calls you’ve had

  • look for emails from your supplier about the problem

You’ll also need details of your complaint and your energy account number to hand. You can find this on a recent bill.

When you’re ready, you can complain over the phone, or in writing by email or post. It's a good idea to complain in writing so you can keep a record.

You can usually find your supplier or broker's complaints procedure on their website.

What happens next

Your supplier will get in touch with you if they need any more details about your complaint.

They should send you a ‘decision letter’ or ‘letter of deadlock’ within 8 weeks. This explains how they’ll deal with your complaint.

Complaining to the energy ombudsman

You can complain to the energy ombudsman after complaining to your supplier if you:

  • have a letter of deadlock and aren’t happy with the decision

  • didn’t get a decision letter or letter of deadlock within 8 weeks

If you’ve had a deadlock letter you can complain to the ombudsman within 12 months of getting it. If you didn’t get a deadlock letter you might be able to complain to the ombudsman after more than 12 months.

You can complain to the ombudsman on the Ombudsman Services website.

If you need more help

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone, online chat or by email.

The advisers can give you unbiased advice about microbusiness energy contracts and your rights.

If you’re finding things difficult

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You should talk to your GP if your money problems are affecting your mental health. 

You can find other ways to get help with your mental health on the Mind website.

If you need to speak to someone right now you can call the Samaritans for free.


Helpline: 116 123 (Monday to Sunday at any time)

Welsh Language Line: 0808 164 0123 (Monday to Sunday 7pm to 11pm)


You can also text 'SHOUT' to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained Shout 85258 volunteer. Texts are free, anonymous and confidential from anywhere in the UK.

If you think it's an emergency

If you think your life or someone else’s is at risk, you should call 999 or go to A&E if you can.

You can also find a list of urgent mental health services on the Mind website.

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Adolygwyd y dudalen ar 30 Medi 2022