Traditionally SMEs would be automatically liable to commit to an additional term with increased prices of at least 35%. The industry terms these as "rollover contracts". If your original arrangement spanned three years, then another three-year obligation would be legally extended.
As a legally-bound transaction, it can not be amended under any circumstances, although we know of discretion cases in some situations.
Additionally, you would be required to provide a written termination notice of between eight and 12 weeks to make changes to your original agreement. This practice will now cease with all six main providers in terms of exit penalties although higher prices may still prevail.
British Gas was the first to announce changes to their practices on 24th July via their Twitter feed.
The table below shows when each supplier stopped selling these types of extensions. Increases are still likely, but monitoring your conditions is still critical. Although contracts continued to get rolled over on unfavourable terms outlined in your renewal letter, you are now free to switch to a new deal at any time after the rollover event.
|Supplier||New Customers||Existing Customers|
|British Gas||Sept. 2013||June 2014|
|E.on||April 2014||April 2014|
|SSE||April 2014||April 2014|
|ScottishPower||April 2014||Dec. 2014|
|Npower||April 2014||Nov. 2014|
Contracts will effectively continue to be rolled over on the following terms:
All customers should continue to monitor their contracts as a new variable rate tariff could still be much higher.
Improvements through the OFGEM code of conduct have brought traditional rollover contracts to an end. There's now no automatic renewal for an additional fixed term. However, all suppliers will effectively place you onto a new tariff that could increase charges by 35%-40%.
The good news is you can now immediately renegotiate terms and move with limited notice with the following provisions:
There are certain measures you can action to ensure you're placed on the most appropriate tariff each year. Below is our five-point plan that should be reviewed internally within your organisation at least every 12 months. If you can't find your original documents, contact your supplier or our team for further guidance.
If you need any help with managing this process, then please get in touch either through our contact form or telephone 0800 690 6508.
If you take over an existing business, the incumbent supplier will charge you their deemed rates before a change of tenancy comes into force. These are the highest fees charged in the market, and you should get new quotes as soon as possible. Listed below are the current deemed rates charged by each supplier for 01-04 profile meters.
|Supplier||Unit Cost p/ kWh||Daily Standing Charge|
Note: E.on, Bulb and npower have regional pricing for deemed rates. The rate shown for cost per kWh is an average of all regions combined. The graph below shows the above data pictorially.
With the current average tariff at 13.8p/kWh with a 25p daily standing charge, you can see just how expensive these charges are. If you have just undertaken a change of tenancy, it's critical you move off these tariffs quickly.
Similarly, if you're out of contract for any reason, then you're also placed on special "out of contract" tariffs. For example, you submitted your termination but didn't agree on a new contract in time. The charges for British Gas are even higher than deemed rates.
Daily charges are 34.19p with 19.81p per kWh for meters with a profile class of between 01 and 04. For those customers with a meter number starting in the range between 05 and 08 then the charge increases to 100.66p per day and 21.11p per kWh. Half-hourly customers could be paying up to 894.02p per day and 24.04p per kWh depending on their regional location.
Therefore it's critical if you've changed a tenancy, moved to new premises, terminated a contract and forgot to renew that you take action now. The good news is that you can enter a new contract without a penalty, although you will incur these higher rates until your new contract comes into force.
To avoid rollover contracts, deemed rates or out of contract rates, please contact us as soon as possible. Either call our team on 0800 690 6508 or enter your details on our online quote form, and we'll help you get on the right tariff for your business right away.
Ensuring you maintain visibility of your terms, protects you from falling into various pitfalls of commercially based contracts. Rules dictate certain communication channels are open, but this affects a small proportion of UK businesses.
Setting up renewal reminders provides complete peace of mind and avoids above-inflation rises if you forget to renew or choose an uncompetitive contract. Contact us today for further information.