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Beware of Hidden Charges Before Switching Suppliers

Consumers shopping for cheaper business electricity rates should ensure that they compare like-for-like tariffs following changes in the way some suppliers itemise their bills, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Some customers could be signing up to deals unaware that a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) charge was payable on top.

The FiT scheme was designed to encourage homeowners and businesses to invest in green technology such as solar panels and wind turbines. People who install the technology receive a subsidy and a guarantee that any surplus electricity will be bought back by the national grid.

Suppliers can not longer absorb the costs...

The subsidy is paid for by adding an extra charge onto the bills of those who don't install the technology. Up until recently, most suppliers just incorporated this into their unit rate so it was invisible. However, this is changing. The number of people taking advantage of the FiT scheme grew tenfold in 2012 and, combined with the fact that the subsidy is set high to encourage people to join up, there's heavy financial pressure on the system.

It was only a matter of time before business electricity suppliers started itemising this as an extra charge, and some have started to do this. The crucial thing for consumers is to make sure that the price they are quoted for their electricity does in fact include this FiT charge, as we estimate that it adds a not-insignificant 2 - 3% onto a bill.

When comparing prices ask about the FiT Charge...

When comparing energy prices, consumers need to be very careful that they are comparing like-for-like and ask suppliers whether the price they are quoting includes the FiT charge, or if it will be added on top.

A recent report stated that some farmers had been taken by surprise when advised of the extra charges, believing they had signed up for a competitive tariff. He said the complexity of the system made it essential for both domestic and business energy consumers to obtain expert advice about energy tariffs.

At Energy Advice Line we have already done the legwork and analysed the products of the suppliers on our panel, so when we provide quotes customers can be sure they are accurate and that they are being offered the cheapest available prices.

A reputable service will tell you if the FiT charge is included...

Price comparison using a reputable service is very quick and simple, and most importantly, the service is free and non-obligatory. There are literally hundreds of business electricity tariffs out there and it can be complex to compare like-for-like products. That is why it can pay to seek the help of an independent and reputable price comparison and switching service.

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