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Electricity

You know things have got bad when Ofgem feel the need to protect micro-businesses from abuse. There are horrific stories of mis-selling and multi-year tie ins at eye watering rates on line. Please check out your broker or supplier before you sign anything.

Some of the weasel words to watch out for in electricity contracts include:
  • automatic rollover - if you forget to stop the contact it carries on for another year - or longer!
  • playing silly whatsits when accepting a change of tenancy or letters of authority - so you are stuck with a silly rate for longer.
  • hard to hit notice clauses - your chance to give notice to end the contract must be given within a highly proscribed timetable - or you're stuck with the supplier again. And the price has probably gone up.
  • price rises - you can get stung for price rises during the contract and yet be stuck with the supplier - or be charged more on a rollover.
  • unexpected contract changes - you get new contract terms foisted upon you, perhaps because of some 'change' of circumstances - or just because the supplier can!
  • unexpected ending of supply - even though you have a contract, the supplier stops supplying you because his price has gone up
Often, the hardest thing is getting these guys to answer the phone if you have a problem!
We are happy to support suppliers who comply with the smallprintbrian principles:

  • you can give reasonable notice to terminate at any time after your initial contract period - even after any rollover starts
  • there is no unbreakable rollover period so you can change rate or supplier after a rollover starts
  • there is a clear tariff and no price rise during any agreed contractual period
  • no changes in other contract terms without reasonable notice, and you can terminate if you don't like them
  • to continue to supply you as agreed for the contract duration
  • contracts in plain English

If you would like us to help us source electricity for your business just telephone us on:

020 8798 0707


or email brianandfriends@smallprintbrian.com

Please be sure to read all your contracts - seek advice if in doubt. It could save you heartache and cash! We recommend oldstreetlaw.com

Remember - you'll almost always lose your supplier if it goes bust, whatever your contract says!


Electricity Clauses

Here's some small print we read earlier - feel free to send us yours!

British Gas have pretty much got rid of their 'out of contract' rate and replaced it with a 'variable rate' which applies if your contract ends. Pleasingly, you can now give British Gas 30 days notice at any time if you're outside your contract period, to flip onto an agreed 'Fixed Term' rate or go somewhere else. You just can't find their tarrif anywhere.

  • Watch out if you take over a property with British Gas already supplying the power. You will find yourself on their 'Deemed Rate' until you agree a rate with them or go somewhere else.
  • After 2014, British Gas have limited their 'backbilling' period (ie how far back they can go to claw back any undercharged microbusiness power) to 12 months (assuming it's not your fault!)
  • Here are all the British Gas T's and C's

Note: If you miss a notice period with Total Gas and Power you are tied in for another year. We do not like rollover contracts.

  • An 'Early Termination Payment' calculated by reference to your profile class applies as follows: £300 [1 & 2]; £750 [3 & 4]; £1,875 [5 & 6]; £3,000 [7 & 8] if you find yourself rolled over by missing the notice window (Clause 5 Attachment 2).
  • 28 days notice must be given of intention to vacate a site BUT this does not mean that the supplied party is not liable for the rest of the contract period - including any rollover period. (Clause 5 Attachment 2).
  • Contract terms - including contract price - can be changed by Total Gas and Power on notice (Clause 7 Attachment 2).

Haven Power act on behalf of other network operators and electricity is delivered through a third party.

  • Haven Power require 7 days advance notice before the ceased occupation of any premises they supply. (Clause 11.2)
  • Haven Power have a single 'deemed' and 'out of contract' rate. At time of writing it's 23p.kwh and 50p daily standing charge, both of which can be changed on 1 day's notice. Yep - 1 day's notice.
  • Charges must be paid within 7 days of the date of invoice to avoid 7% interest and a late payment fee of £100 and 15% of the amount owed. (Clause 4.7). Let's hope it's posted first class. Oh - and charges for a year can be increased by 25% if payment is not in accordance with the contract (Clause 4.8).
  • Haven Power can stop a transfer to a new supplier if all these payments have not been met (Clause 4.17).
  • It is not clear to us how a customer gives notice to terminate a supply contract (Clause 8) and go somewhere else. We would welcome clarification.
  • To give Haven Power notice write to their registered office at Drax Power Station, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 8PH.

These guys are big on their 'Deemed Prices' at the beginning and end of contract periods - and they are pretty eye-watering!

  • Here are NPower's T's and C's for small and medium size businesses.
  • If you thought NPower's 'Deemed Prices' were high, check out their even higher 'Default Prices'. Why they need both we do not know!
  • Can't find where to give notice to NPower? It's here! Email business.terminations@npower.com or call them on 0800 975 7983
  • NPower will send a renewal notice 60 days before the fixed period ends explaining how to terminate, contract options and prices (Clause 4).
  • Payments must be made within 14 days or an admin fee may be charged (Clause 6.9).
  • NPower are the only supplier we've found with all their rates and T's & C's all in one place, just here. Nice.