What are my options if my landlord manages my business energy?

What are my options if my landlord manages my business energy?

If you only deal with your energy supplier via your landlord, it may leave you feeling powerless when it comes to switching

Having control over your energy supplier is one of the perks of owning your own business, but if you don’t also own your premises, this can become tricky. If you’re a tenant on a leased property, it can be harder to change suppliers.

It’s important to note that we said “harder” there, not “impossible”.

If you’re in a rented workspace, your energy contract is probably handed in one of two ways.

Either, you pay your bills directly to your supplier.

Or you pay your landlord and they pass the cost on for you.

Switching can be frustrating if your landlord holds all the power, but we’re here to shed a little light on how you might get around the problem.

If you pay your energy bills directly to your supplier…

This is the simpler of the two scenarios to find yourself in. As a tenant, you have a right to switch your business energy supplier and your landlord can’t stop you from doing that. You just need to make sure you check the tenancy agreement when moving business premises for a ‘preferred’ or ‘default’ supplier.

A default supplier is the company your landlord wants you to use for your business energy, and this should be clearly stated in your tenancy contract. If you have not yet signed a contract, you can negotiate this clause with your landlord.

But even if you have signed a contract, and it does include a default supplier, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with them. You can still switch suppliers provided you are paying the suppliers directly. So don’t be afraid to switch — just be sure to read the small print first.

If your landlord pays your energy bills and invoices you for them, or includes them in your rent…

Having your landlord act as the middleman between you and your supplier makes things more complicated. When your landlord oversees the paying of your bills it’s common for businesses to not even be aware of who their supplier is or what tariff they’re on. This leaves your business very vulnerable to paying unnecessarily high rates.

Under the Electricity and Gas Regulations, 2011, you have the right to compare and switch energy suppliers if you aren’t happy with the current situation. This means that you can request information from your landlord if you don’t know who your supplier is at the minute. Your landlord must acknowledge your request within 10 days, either by agreeing or explaining why they object.

If you’re one of many businesses in a large property complex, things can be even trickier. Your landlord may buy energy in bulk in order to fix prices, so your request to switch may be rejected by your landlord due to the financial burden it could place on them.

Landlords also have a right to reject switching requests if the cabling to your business doesn’t have the capacity to withstand alterations to supply.

If you feel like your landlord is being unreasonable by not letting you switch your tariff, you should first try to discuss things with them and come to an agreement. If these negotiations don’t go well though, you can contact the Ombudsman to help you handle the situation.

Want to find the best energy tariff for your business. Let The Energy Check help. We make switching business energy suppliers quick, easy and rewarding. Start comparing prices today by clicking here, or get in touch via phone by calling 0191 691 18 02.