Did you know seven out of 10 business owners say energy prices are a major concern for their operation? If you run a small business there are a number of pricing options and plans available that can help you save money. Victorian Energy Compare is an independent and easy-to-use tool that helps you find the best electricity, gas and solar offers for your business.
First, you should clarify your current plan. Are you on a residential or business tariff? This information will be on your energy bill.
For electricity, is your current tariff fixed rate or a time-of-use tariff, with peak and off-peak rates? This information will help you compare with other plans and deals.
Compare and save
If you have 12 months of Smart Meter data, you can input this data into Victorian Energy Compare and access electricity offers from multiple retailers. You can access 12 months of data by contacting your electricity retailer or using your retailer's secure web portal.
To access offers for gas, you simply need to complete a questionnaire about your business' energy use.
Note: residential customers also have the option to complete a questionnaire to access electricity offers however this functionality does not apply to business customers. Business customers must provide 12 months of Smart Meter data to access electricity offers in Victorian Energy Compare.
Flexible electricity pricing - some rules are different for small business
Note that some of the customer protections for flexible pricing are not required for plans offered to small businesses. If you are considering switching, make sure you talk to your electricity retailer about applicable fees and charges.
Remember that your electricity retailer cannot switch you onto a new pricing plan without your written or verbal consent. Retailers will also continue to offer tariffs that will be familiar to many business customers; many of these with peak and off-peak tariffs.
Here are some scenarios that illustrate ways small business owners could make some savings.
User scenario 1: Small daytime café, four employees
Nick runs a small cafe in a suburban shopping strip. He opens at 7am and closes at 3pm, seven days a week. He is on a business tariff.
Most of Nick's hours are likely to be in non-peak periods, including the weekend, where there is no peak period at all, so Nick may benefit from a new time-of-use offer. However, he does run a commercial fridge and several drink fridges 24 hours a day so this may limit his ability to take advantage of flexible pricing. It's important he does his homework to find the best deal.
User scenario 2: Small Accountancy business, two employees
Preethi runs a small accounting service in an office in a local shopping strip with two employees. They work mostly from 9am to 5pm, five days a week.
Preethi is on a business tariff 'Small Business 5 day time-of-use plan'. With only 10 hours usage per week in the peak period, Preethi is likely to save money by switching to a flexible pricing plan.
User scenario 3: A restaurant with 15 employees, operating mainly at night
The Valli family owns a restaurant in a popular inner-suburban location. The business operates from 3pm to midnight daily, seven days a week.
They are currently on a 'Small Business 7-day time-of-use' tariff and their operating hours fall into their tariff's peak period (7am to 11pm).
The Valli family may benefit by switching to a 5-day business tariff or even a flat tariff.
With the 5-day tariff, there is no peak rate period on the weekend when they are busy and there may be possible savings on the cost of electricity outside of their operating hours for their commercial fridges.
Thinking of upgrading your business's lighting or electrical appliances?
Businesses can access discounts on energy-efficient products and services through the Victorian Energy Upgrades program. The program includes upgrading inefficient lighting as well as motors, refrigeration fans, refrigerated display cabinets and water-efficient spray valves.