What are renewal windows?
For business customers who are currently on an agreed contract for the supply of gas to their premises, you will have something called a ‘renewal window’ towards the end of your contract. This is nothing to be scared of – and is in-fact very simple if you know what it is, and how to use it to your advantage.
Around 60 days before the end of your contract – your supplier will send you a letter (or other correspondence) to the address registered on your account with them. Within this letter should be the final date of your fixed-term contract, this should be noted down and kept as it is important to know.
Suppliers are legally bound to provide current prices, new prices, and annual consumption within their renewal letter correspondence. This is enforced by Ofgem and has been put in place to make it easier for customers to compare other suppliers on the market. Also, within this letter should be the last date that you are able to terminate your bill or statement of account. You are able to provide notice any time before this final termination date.
This window of time is what is referred to as the ‘renewal window’. It is the window of time where you are reaching the end of your fixed-term contract, your current supplier has offered new terms, and you are making the decision to either renew or leave. You also have a third option – to do nothing. This is not recommended as it will almost always lead to higher prices for your gas.
What do I have to do to renew?
Different suppliers require different forms of communication, so the best source to find out what your supplier wants is within your renewal letter. This purpose of this letter is to try and entice you to stay with them following the end of your current contract – so it will be made abundantly clear in the letter how to renew. Alternatively, it is recommended to check your supplier website to try and find some information on preferred renewal methods.
Most commonly – you will be expected to get in touch over the phone, via e-mail, or through your online portal. Sometimes a reply slip will be included within your letter, which can be filled out and sent onwards.
If you choose to not reply to your renewal letter you should be aware that it will lead to increased gas costs if you find yourself without a contract.
What do I have to do if I don’t want to renew?
If you have received your renewal letter, and have decided that the terms on offer are not agreeable then you are well within your rights to begin to look for another supplier. One of the reasons why regulations force pricing to be clearly shown is so that you have the tools to compare suppliers.
Shop around a little before making any decisions. You should always call up your current supplier to see if they are able to budge on the price they have provided you with. It is unlikely that they have included the best deal actually available to you within your renewal letter, and it is common to be offered a slightly improved deal over the phone.
Search for other suppliers, and see what the going rate is. There is no way that you will be able to judge if the deal on the table is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ if you have no idea what other prices available are. Once you find a better deal from a different supplier, this gives you a better negotiating platform for your renewal terms.
There are plenty of comparison websites out there designed exclusively for this situation. Get online and plug in your wants and desires into the filter, and you should be left with a pretty comprehensive short-list.
What happens if I send termination but don’t switch supplier?
This is an unusual situation to find yourself in, but it does happen. If you have explicitly told your current supplier that you would like to terminate your contract, but then don’t organise a new supplier then you will likely be placed on something called a ‘Deemed Contract’.
In a nutshell, you do not want to be placed on a deemed contract. Prices on this type of contract are on average around eighty percent higher than rates in a negotiated fixed-term contract. You are able to switch from a deemed contract at any time – which is important to remember. If you are worried you may be on a deemed contract, contact your supplier! They are bound by law to provide a copy of your contract, and present alternative contracts.
If you would like more information regarding deemed contracts, check out the Ofgem website here:
Useful websites links
|Ofgem||Information on contracts|
|Ofgem||Information on switching|
|Ofgem||Information on complaints|
|Ofgem||Information for small businesses|
How are Niccolo Gas any different?
One thing that we offer is complete clarity. We know that a lot of suppliers like to hide behind industry jargon and make things as difficult as possible for customers, but that’s not us.
Suppliers sometimes like to keep your contract end-dates hidden from you unless they are bound by law to provide it. Our solution to this problem? We include the contract start and end date in every single invoice we send to our customers.
We also provide our renewal terms and prices two months before the end of your contract, letting our customers know as early as possible. If there is no contact to resolve an out-of-contract situation before 30 days to the end of contract – most companies would be happy to have customers placed onto deemed rates. Our solution? If possible, we’ll roll-over your contract so that you have access to your usual pricing. This avoids unnecessary expense by placing customers on deemed contracts if we can avoid it.
We love hearing from all of our customers whenever we can! So, if you think you would like to avoid the hassle of ‘deemed contracts’ and other industry nonsense, give us a call. We are happy to help anybody thinking of switching.
Is there a cooling off period for business energy contracts?
No – most businesses do not offer this service for their business customers. This also includes when you agree to a contract over the phone (often these are recorded and will enter you into a contract without your knowledge). Please be careful and make informed decisions, as there is not as much leeway for business energy customers.
Can I get out of a fixed term energy contract?
Yes, you can. There are two ways to do this. Firstly, you may be able to cancel by paying a cancellation fee to your supplier. Often this is calculated as something similar to:
20% of monthly bill X months remaining on contract
This is obviously a hefty fee to pay for most. The other alternative is to wait until your renewal window to terminate your contract with your supplier once you have received your renewal letter.