Written by Sabrina Dougall Reviewed by Heleana Neil Updated on 3 March 2023 On this page The best small business energy suppliers What small businesses should look for in their energy providers Energy supplier reviews 1. ScottishPower 2. British Gas 3. Octopus Energy 4. E.ON Next 5. EDF Energy 6. SSE Energy Solutions The small business energy market How did we conduct our research? Next steps FAQs Expand We know that there's never been a more worrying time for businesses when it comes to energy bills. The average unit price of electricity for small/medium businesses in the UK rose 86% between Q3 2020 and Q3 2022.Prices increased steeply in 2021, and have only climbed higher since then. We know you want to find the best energy deal possible – and need crystal clear info to do so. When your contract ends, you should look to negotiate a better deal with your provider or switch to a new one.So we're here to guide you, with the results of our new research into the best energy suppliers for small businesses in 2023. What are the top 5 small business energy suppliers? These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Use our cost comparison tool to find the best value service for your businessScottishPower – Best for cheapest gas + electricityBritish Gas –Best for cheapest electricityOctopus Energy – Best for cheapest green electricity or gasE.ON Next – Best for customer supportEDF Energy – Mid-market The six best small business energy suppliers:Here's an easy comparison chart that shows a summary of each company's prices, support options, and green energy: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward ScottishPower British Gas Lite Octopus Energy E.ON Next EDF Energy SSE Energy Solutions Sample fixed rate electricity quote £6,937.78/year Sample fixed rate electricity quote £6,895.60/year Sample fixed rate electricity quote £7,800.26/year Sample fixed rate electricity quote £7,466.85/year (variable) Sample fixed rate electricity quote £7,170.33/year Sample fixed rate electricity quote £8,075.28/year Sample fixed rate gas quote £1,886.37/year Sample fixed rate gas quote £2,066.25/year Sample fixed rate gas quote £1,950.69/year Sample fixed rate gas quote £2,172.66/year (variable) Sample fixed rate gas quote Unavailable Sample fixed rate gas quote £2,155.56/year Green energy as standard? Green energy as standard? Green energy as standard? Green energy as standard? Green energy as standard? Green energy as standard? Phone support? Phone support? Premium plans only Phone support? Phone support? Phone support? Premium plans only Phone support? Looking for pricing clarity? We'll put you in touch with energy brokers to discuss deals for your business Request quotes Unavailable tariffs EDF Energy couldn't give us a gas tariff due to “ongoing energy market volatility”, their website said.E.ON Next could only offer us flexible tariffs, and their online tool didn't show any fixed contract pricing.As a small business owner, nothing is more important to you than finding the best energy price possible. So we've kept that as our top consideration, and chosen our top energy companies based on their best offer of a fixed rate one-year contract.If you want to find out more, simply click to read about how we've gathered our research. What small businesses should look for in their energy providers:Here are the features you should look out for when thinking about which energy company to go with:✓ A competitive priceYou'll have to compare suppliers to see who's willing to give your business the lowest overall bills. You should pay attention to which charges are included in your quotes, and which aren't. For instance, will there be installation fees to switch provider? Remember VAT will be added onto the bill.✓ Good customer reviewsYou want a supplier you can rely on to be consistent, fair and honest. You want to be able to contact them easily if need be, and a good way to find out if you'll be able to is to read customer reviews.✓ Eco-friendlinessIf you choose a renewable energy plan, you can sometimes avoid extra costs added onto your energy bills because of environmental taxes, such as the Climate Change Levy.✓ Tariff choiceMost of the time, a longer contract with a fixed rate will end up being the cheapest. However a new startup might not be set on staying in their premises for long, so it would be better to choose a flexible tariff option. That means a contract you can leave at any time without exit fees. Energy bill breakdown A business energy supplier will charge your business two main fees:Standing charge. Sometimes referred to as the “daily charge”, this covers the cost of maintaining your connection to the power network. In other words, it's a fixed fee the supplier charges you to cover their running costs.Unit rate. This is what suppliers charge for each kWh (kilowatt hour) of energy you use. You can opt for a fixed rate (which stays the same for the duration of your contract) or a variable rate (goes up and down in response to the market). Either way, the total amount you pay will depend on how much energy you use. 1. ScottishPower ScottishPower Pricing Fixed rate electricity quote: £6,937.78 Quick overview ScottishPower gave us the cheapest price for gas, and the lowest combined price for electricity and gas. That's worth bearing in mind if you're running a business like a restaurant, any kind of manufacturing (such as a workshop or kiln), in agriculture (greenhouses and livestock), a gym, a hotel or a healthcare facility. Read more + Read less - Strengths Cheapest gas Cheapest combined gas and electricity Phone, webchat, and email support Weaknesses Just 3.2/5 on Trustpilot No sign language video support Pricing See more See less PlanDaily Charge (p)Unit Charge (p/kWh)Annual Total 1 year fixed rate term For Liverpool nursery (online, direct) March 2023 Electricity: 71.72 Gas: 25.58 Electricity: 33.38 Gas: 8.97 Electricity: £6,937.78 Gas: £1,886.37 What's ScottishPower customer service like?ScottishPower has three out of six possible customer support channels available to business customers:Phone line (open Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm)Webchat (also available on its phone app)Email supportThis is a decent offering, with more options than British Gas Lite, SSE, and EDF Energy. But it's not as good as E.ON Next or Octopus Energy, who offer one and two more channels than ScottishPower, respectively.With a Trustpilot score of 3.2/5, we reckon there's some room for improvement with assisting business customers.How green is ScottishPower?ScottishPower doesn't offer renewable backed energy as standard, so it's a bit behind on the market trend towards greener energy supply. You'll have to pay around £200 more per year for a tariff that supports renewable energy.How does ScottishPower pricing compare to competitors?ScottishPower provided the most lowest pricing for combined electricity and gas bills for a small business. It also gave us the cheapest gas tariff. For that reason, businesses seeking the best deal on business energy should look first to ScottishPower.What kind of businesses should use ScottishPower?If you use moderate amounts of electricity and gas, you're likely to get a good deal with ScottishPower. If you run a café, nursery, dance studio, small school, religious premises, garden centre, gym or similar, then check out ScottishPower.We wouldn't recommend this as the top choice for restaurants, who would probably use more gas than the average small business. Restaurant owners should check out our guide to the best business energy suppliers instead. Petrol gets cheaper Although gas and electricity prices are high right now, premium unleaded petrol prices have been falling every month between July 2022 and February 2023. 2. British Gas British Gas Lite Pricing Fixed rate electricity quote: £6,895.60 per year Quick overview British Gas is the best choice of supplier for many small businesses purely because it has the lowest electricity price. But this comes at the cost of very limited customer support options. The online only customers of British Gas Lite won't get phone or email support – in fact there's only webchat support available for you. Read more + Read less - Strengths Cheapest electricity Weaknesses Green energy costs extra Only webchat support on cheapest plan Scored 3/5 on Trustpilot Pricing See more See less PlanDaily Charge (p)Unit Charge (p/kWh)Annual Total 1 year fixed rate term For Liverpool nursery (online, direct) March 2023 Electricity: 45.37 Gas: 45.37 Electricity: 33.65 Gas: 9.51 Electricity: £6,895.60 Gas: £2,066.25 What's British Gas Lite customer service like?British Gas Lite customer service is, well, light. Very light, in fact. In order to benefit from the cheapest electricity prices on the market right now, you've got to sacrifice the ability to speak to a human assistant on the phone. Only premium plan customers get that kind of luxury. Instead, you get a webchat support channel.Its customer service offering is as bad as EDF Energy, which are both worse than SSE Energy Solutions, Octopus Energy, E.ON Next and ScottishPower.British Gas Lite gets 3/5 on Trustpilot, which would suggest some customers are less than enchanted with the limited support available.How green is British Gas Lite?British Gas Lite is green… if you're willing to shell out for it. Another cost of cheaper electricity is reliance on fossil fuels, which obviously isn't sustainable in the long-run. But we can understand choosing a less sustainable option when finances are particularly tight.Of its regular tariffs, just 24% of British Gas' fuel mix is sourced from renewables.How does British Gas Lite pricing compare to competitors?British Gas Lite provides the lowest overall business electricity pricing compared to rival energy companies. We understand that there aren't any “cheap” electricity prices around at the moment, but for a small business, British Gas Lite might be the best you can do.What kind of businesses should use British Gas Lite?If you don't use any gas at your business premises (either for cooking, heating, hot water, and so on), then British Gas Lite is the best option. Businesses best suited to British Gas Lite include: cinemas, night clubs, high street shops, IT centres, small garages, salons, print shops, photography studios, and certain offices for professional services (such as law and accounting). Compare tailored quotes from the energy suppliers that can offer your small business the best rates Get free quotes 3. Octopus Energy Octopus Energy Pricing Fixed rate electricity quote: £7,800.26 per year Quick overview This is our top choice for small businesses with green values: Octopus Energy provides the cheapest energy from renewable sources. It has a good range of customer support options, and the highest Trustpilot score of any Big Six provider. Read more + Read less - Strengths Cheapest green energy High Trustpilot score: 4.8/5 Four customer support channels Weaknesses Second most expensive overall No webchat support Pricing See more See less PlanDaily Charge (p)Unit Charge (p/kWh)Annual Total 1 year fixed rate term For Liverpool nursery (online, direct) March 2023 Electricity: 173.59 Gas: 36.74 Electricity: 35.83 Gas: 9.08 Electricity: £7,800.26 Gas: £1,950.69 What's Octopus Energy customer service like?It's pretty fantastic, by all accounts. Here are all the customer support channels you'll get access to with Octopus Energy:Phone support: 9am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-4pm FridayEmail support (answered seven days a week)Sign language video chatThat's not as many channels as E.ON Next (which has all of the above plus a Whatsapp service and online forum). However, Octopus Energy has the highest Trustpilot score of any energy company we've ever seen: 4.8/5. That's better than E.ON, which scored 4.2/5.How green is Octopus Energy?It's green ✅ Octopus Energy provides renewable backed energy to all of its customers, and won't charge you extra. That makes it stand out compared with British Gas and ScottishPower, which both charge extra for a business energy tariff that funds renewable power.How does Octopus Energy pricing compare to competitors?If your small business prioritises green energy supply, then Octopus Energy will likely give you the best price on the market. At least, it did in our research. The combined electricity and gas bill quote from Octopus Energy 5% cheaper than the one we got from SSE Energy Solutions (another green business tariff).That said, it's not the cheapest overall on the market. If you go with Octopus and ignore its green credentials, you're looking at the second most expensive provider of the Big Six. Octopus Energy is therefore pricier than British Gas Lite, ScottishPower, and EDF.What kind of businesses should use Octopus Energy?Sustainable, eco, green, vegan or earth-friendly businesses should choose Octopus Energy, as it's the cheapest renewable business energy supplier on the market. Compare tailored quotes from the energy suppliers that can offer your small business the best rates Get free quotes 4. E.ON Next E.ON Next Pricing Fixed rate electricity quote: £7,466.85 per year (variable) Quick overview E.ON Next couldn't provide a fixed tariff quote for us online, instead giving us a variable tariff. That means we can't accurately compare this tariff to other suppliers. On the plus side, E.ON Next provides the most customer support options as well as renewable energy as standard. Read more + Read less - Strengths Most customer support options Renewable energy as standard Weaknesses No fixed tariff quote available online No out of contract rates available No webchat support Pricing See more See less PlanDaily Charge (p)Unit Charge (p/kWh)Annual Total 1 year fixed rate term For Liverpool nursery (online, direct) March 2023 Electricity: 48.6 Gas: 28.48 Electricity: 36.45 Gas: 10.34 Electricity: £7,466.85 Gas: £2,172.66 What's E.ON's customer service like?E.ON has the widest range of customer support options compared to all other Big Six providers. These are:Phone support: 9am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-4pm Friday, then an out-of-hours numberSpeech or hearing limited customers can use text relayEmail supportSign language video supportWhatsApp support (8am-10pm, seven days a week)Community discussion forumIt seems the above channels are run pretty well, given E.ON Next has a Trustpilot score of 4.2/5.How green is E.ON Next?E.ON is a market leader in supplying all of its customers electricity which funds renewable energy. It's better than EDF Energy, ScottishPower and British Gas Lite, which all charge extra for green business tariffs. But it's not the only one – SSE Energy Solutions provides all customers with green energy too, and it's investing in much larger renewable energy projects such as wind turbine construction.How does E.ON Next pricing compare to competitors?It's impossible for us to compare E.ON Next pricing to its Big Six rivals because we couldn't get any fixed tariffs online. E.ON couldn't provide any out of contract pricing either, stating: “Our rates can change daily and vary by area too”. But we noticed rivals like British Gas Lite and ScottishPower published their out of contract (also known as “deemed”) tariffs online. They include regional breakdowns too, showing it's not impossible to do so.We did get a variable tariff from E.ON. Next – which means it's going to change throughout the year – but it was actually only mid-market value for money. Even the variable rate wasn't as cheap as the fixed rates of British Gas Lite and ScottishPower. That indicates E.ON Next could be a slightly more expensive provider on the UK energy market today.What kind of businesses should use E.ON Next?Anyone who's struggled with long waiting times to get through to human support from energy suppliers should consider switching to E.ON Next. Reason being there are just so many help channels that you're likely to get answers to your electricity and gas supply questions faster than with other Big Six rivals.Similarly, if you're an inexperienced business leader and could do with more in-depth help, E.ON Next is also a good choice for you. Given its green energy tariffs, small organic shops, ethical fashion retailers, vegan manufacturers and eco campaign groups would be wise to consider E.ON Next too. Compare tailored quotes from the energy suppliers that can offer your small business the best rates Get free quotes 5. EDF Energy EDF Energy Pricing Fixed rate electricity quote: £7,170.33 per year Quick overview EDF Energy quoted us the third best price for electricity, and it has the joint second highest Trustpilot score (equal to E.ON Next). It's got just one customer support option for online-only customers (webchat), the same as British Gas Lite. Read more + Read less - Strengths Second highest Trustpilot score: 4.2/5 Weaknesses Webchat support only on cheapest plan Energy is not green as standard Pricing See more See less PlanDaily Charge (p)Unit Charge (p/kWh)Annual Total 1 year fixed rate term For Liverpool nursery (online, direct) March 2023 Electricity: 25 Gas: Unavailable Electricity: 35.2 Gas: Unavailable Electricity: £7,170.33 Gas: Unavailable What's EDF Energy customer service like?It's not the strongest of Big Six suppliers. Like British Gas Lite, there's just a webchat option and no phone line or email.In other ways EDF Energy customer care is better than British Gas Lite though, as it scores 4.2/5 on Trustpilot which is far higher than the latter's 3/5.How green is EDF Energy?Renewable energy backed tariffs don't come as standard for business customers of EDF Energy. That's the same as British Gas Lite and ScottishPower – only the quote we got from EDF Energy was higher than these two competitors.You should be aware EDF Energy is a significant nuclear energy producer. Opinions differ about the security of nuclear as an energy source, so you should bear this in mind in case that's an ethical concern relating to your business.How does EDF Energy pricing compare to competitors?EDF Energy's fixed rate electricity price quote was the third cheapest of the Big Six – coming in at 3.4% more expensive than ScottishPower and 4% more than British Gas Lite.We couldn't get a gas and electricity tariff quote for our chosen Liverpudlian nursery owing to “ongoing energy market volatility”, EDF Energy's website told us. That's a bit concerning, and signals that it might be impossible to switch to EDF Energy for gas supply as a new customer.A notice from the EDF Energy online quote tool says we can't get an electricity and gas quote for a given Liverpool nursery on 3 March 2023. What kind of businesses should use EDF Energy?EDF Energy would suit a wide range of businesses including shops, bakeries, automobile repair and retail facilities, educational institutions, sports clubs, and public buildings. Whether or not you should choose EDF Energy depends on the individual quotes your small business gets. Compare tailored quotes from the energy suppliers that can offer your small business the best rates Get free quotes 6. SSE Energy Solutions SSE Energy Solutions Pricing Fixed rate electricity quote: £8,075.28 per year Quick overview Unfortunately, SSE Energy solutions quoted us the highest electricity price of the Big Six energy suppliers, and has the worst Trustpilot rating by far: just 1.2/5. On the other hand, all of its tariffs support green energy. Read more + Read less - Strengths Renewable energy as standard Phone and email support Weaknesses Most expensive electricity of Big Six Worst Trustpilot rating: 1.2/5 Pricing See more See less PlanDaily Charge (p)Unit Charge (p/kWh)Annual Total 1 year fixed rate term For Liverpool nursery (online, direct) March 2023 Electricity: 201.5 Gas: 32.88 Electricity: 36.70 Gas: 10.18 Electricity: £8,075.28 Gas: £2,155.56 What's SSE Energy Solutions customer service like?It's really bad. It's the worst. With a frankly scary Trustpilot rating of 1.2/5, we wouldn't trust SSE Energy Solutions to take our soup out the microwave, let alone sort out its customers' concerns quickly.There's a phone line open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm, plus a webform for written contact.How green is SSE Energy Solutions?We're pleased to say all business plans from SSE Energy Solutions include renewable electricity. SSE Group is one of the largest UK investors in wind energy projects. It's green ✅How does SSE Energy Solutions pricing compare to competitors?We got the highest electricity and combined gas and electricity quotes from SSE Energy Solutions. That means the Liverpudlian nursery we looked at would pay more with SSE than British Gas Lite, ScottishPower, EDF or Energy Octopus.What kind of businesses should use SSE Energy Solutions?If you're running an eco business and for some reason don't want the cheapest energy price on the market, then you're good to go with SSE. Hopefully you won't need to make use of customer support.Otherwise, we recommend business leaders avoid SSE Energy Solutions in 2023 until the customer review scores start to improve. Compare tailored quotes from the energy suppliers that can offer your small business the best rates Get free quotes The small business energy marketWe’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: small businesses have a bad deal when it comes to business energy. Just take a look at the difference in rates, according to a government study:Average business gas and electricity prices in the UK at the end of 2020. Information taken from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s quarterly energy prices reportWhile some of this is down to cost differences, a huge part of this problem is that small businesses tend to switch less frequently and are generally just less engaged with the market.It makes sense, when you think about it. A very large business may have an employee dedicated to monitoring energy usage and negotiating bills. Plus, they have more bargaining power – their business is worth a lot more, after all. For smaller businesses, there is rarely a person dedicated to sorting out the utility bills. People tend to accept them for what they are, and give them little thought. This is, of course, a generalisation – but the imbalance that exists is certainly no coincidence.So, just how much is this imbalance costing small businesses? Around £180 million a year in the UK alone, according to the CMA. They cite a lack of price transparency and high exit fees as the main culprits.So how can your small business break this cycle, and get the best possible energy rate? Honestly, you've got to put some legwork in and compare deals from different suppliers. Then you can choose the energy company that's offered you the fairest tariff.We can make it a bit easier though, if you give us some contact details we'll put you in touch with energy brokers to discuss your tariff options. How did we conduct our research?We conducted extensive research into the Big Six business energy suppliers, comparing each one based on:Pricing (the best fixed rate tariff quote sourced through the online tool on each provider's website).Customer satisfaction (the average Trustpilot score).Customer support options (the number of channels you can use to access assistance from the supplier).Green energy (whether or not renewable energy investment comes as standard or costs extra).We obtained quotes for a sample small business based on the following factors:A small nursery in Wavertree, LiverpoolStandard electricity meter (not top-up)Annual electricity use: 20,000 kWhAnnual gas use: 20,000 kWhWe chose the cheapest tariff which was:Obtained online, direct from the providerDiscounted due to payment with direct debitFixed for one year (with the exception of E.ON Next)Exclusive of VAT and Climate Change LevyInclusive of Feed In Tariff chargeExclusive of government discount (which is added onto your bill automatically) Next stepsFew things in this world are more certain than this: comparing energy providers will get you a better deal for your gas and electricity, no matter the size of your business. Thanks to the service we offer, it needn’t be the painstaking process it once was – just tell us a bit about your business and its energy needs by answering a few questions, and we'll match you up with small business energy suppliers that can cater to your needs, and offer you the best rates. You'll be contacted with tailored quotes that come directly from these suppliers, so you can compare the numbers and ask any questions you have.And remember – there is no ‘one best supplier’ for everyone! Factors like location and usage have a big influence on which supplier will be able to offer you the best deal. That’s why it’s crucial to get quotes that are tailored to your business. FAQs How much energy does a small business use? Small businesses tend to use between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of electricity per year, and between 15,000 and 30,000 kWh of gas per year. If you check your energy bill, you'll be able to see your usage from the previous billing period. That's a really helpful guide to planning your bills for the following year. What is a microbusiness? The official guidance from Ofgem, the energy regulator, defines a microbusiness as one that meet any one of the following criteria:employs nine or fewer employees (or their full time equivalent) and its annual turnover or balance sheet is no greater than €2 million (£1,776,900)uses less than 100,000 kWh of electricity per yearuses less than 293,000 kWh of gas per yearIf you use more electricity than the above limit, but less gas, for example, then you'll be a microbusiness for the purposes of your gas bill but not your electricity.Your energy supplier should try to find out if you're a microbusiness by asking simple questions such as how many employees you have. Energy brokers are required to carefully explain to all microbusiness customers if there are any extra charges with their tariffs. Is business energy cheaper than domestic energy? Because a business premises will use more energy than a household, suppliers tend to charge cheaper per kWh rates for business energy.That said, most businesses will pay a higher VAT rate than domestic customers, with businesses typically paying 20%, in comparison to the 5% usually charged for domestic energy. Businesses also pay the Climate Change Levy, which amounts to an extra 0.775p per kWh for electricity, and 0.672p per kWh for gas from April 2023. How do I get the best rates for my small business? Spoiler: getting the best energy rate for your small business is easier than you think. So easy, in fact, that we’ve got it down to three words: compare, negotiate, switch. Or CNS, if you like your acronyms.1. CompareKeep track of when your contract is coming to a close, and when your notice period is (it’s typically a 30-day period, and a few months before the contract end date). Suppliers should write to small businesses to inform them, but it’s still worth keeping note.Chances are you’ve arrived at this page either because you’re currently in this stage, or because you've just started up and are looking for your first supplier. You’ve come to the right place! It’s time to compare energy providers – that’s what we do best, so be sure to scroll up and read our reviews of the best small business energy suppliers.You should also take advantage of our quote finding service. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your small business and its energy needs, and you'll be matched up with the best suppliers – with the cheapest rates – for you. You'll be contacted with no-obligation quotes from those suppliers that are tailored to you, so you can compare them and ask any questions you have.2. NegotiateNever underestimate how important your business is to suppliers.Picture it from their point of view: they’re operating in a saturated market, selling a fairly undifferentiated product. Basic economics means they are keen, if not desperate, to get new business by any means possible – even if this means cutting their profit margin to the bare minimum.Take your best quote to the second best supplier, and see if they can beat it. Then go back to the first again, and so on. Very few minutes spent on the phone doing some old-fashioned haggling can be incredibly valuable.Sometimes your current supplier will still end up offering you the best deal. That’s great, but be sure to make a new contract to this effect, rather than just automatically rolling over.3. SwitchOnce you have your next supplier lined up, it’s time to give notice to your current provider. Be sure to do this within the allocated notice period, or risk being automatically rolled over to an expensive new contract.Arranging the switch itself should be no more complicated than switching domestic suppliers, and there shouldn’t be any disruption to your supply. Just remember to take a final meter reading on the handover day.Alternatively, you can use an energy broker such as Love Energy Savings (which we've reviewed) – they’ll compare providers and get you the best possible rate. And the best part? Using a broker is completely free – the suppliers themselves pay their fee. We can put you in touch with trusted energy brokers, too. Written by: Sabrina Dougall Web Marketing Expert Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation. Reviewed by: Heleana Neil Business Services Editor Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.