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Why it pays to check your utilities contracts

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Energy price increases affecting UK businesses have been well publicised recently. So, there really is no better time be aware of what your contracts tie you in to and how to find the best deal for your business.

When your current contract comes to an end, you should be in the perfect position to ask for the lowest price available. However, many small businesses fail to understand how electricity and gas contracts work, so don't get the best value for money from their suppliers.
 
Here, we tell you what you need to know to negotiate a better contract when the time arises.
 
 
Be aware of the small print
 
The majority of utilities contracts have small print which allows the provider to renew the contract for a further year or two, if their customer does not respond to correspondence sent to them.
 
This means that you should keep an eye out for all correspondence from your utilities companies. Don't let letters linger at the bottom of the pending tray until it is too late, by which time your provider may have rolled over your contract at an exorbitant price.
 
You must also make allowances for the non-arrival of renewal letters. If you are concerned that you haven't received enough, or any, correspondence from your provider, get in touch with them to establish what your situation is with regards to renewing. 
 

Be aware of key dates
 
It is essential that you know when the anniversary of the date when you took out a contract will occur. To be able to accept a lower price with a new provider, you must cancel your current agreement in due time. This can mean, with some companies, that you need to give at least 90 days' notice. So, you may need to think about renewing more than 3 months before your contract comes up for renewal.
 
This action does not mean that they will cut off your supply either immediately or at the end of the contract. All that will happen is that your existing supplier will be at pains to give you the very best renewal price, because they will know that you are able to move your supply if necessary.
 
For more information, see our FAQs on how to get the best deal from your utilities supplier.
 

 
About the author
 
This article was provided by our partners at Utility Options.
 
Members of the FPB can take advantage of a free, independent service from Utility Options, which monitors when your utilities contracts are up for renewal and will remind you at the right time to allow you to accept the lowest quotation. Plus, to save you time, they will negotiate a detailed contract and service agreement for your attention.
 
For more information, or for help and advice on utilities, call the FPB on 0845 130 1722 or email info@fpb.org 

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