Why use a broker?
Some businesses struggle to see the benefit of using energy brokers or business energy consultants to help them with their energy needs. Some tell horror stories about ending up in contracts they didn’t understand or know they had. Some clients say they receive 10 calls a week from brokers – now that’s annoying. It worries me that this is the image of energy brokers when it really represents a minority.
So, should you use a broker to help with your energy needs?
Yes, is the short answer, for most businesses there is something to be gained. An Energy Broker can give clear guidance and provide a single point of contact for your energy needs.
By making a fair assessment of the market on an on-going basis, they will tell you when you should be buying based on current market evaluation. They will also consider the different Ts&Cs of the supplier products creating standardised comparisons. Simple p/kwh comparisons don’t achieve this. A good broker will present different buying options and provide an assessment of the risks of each of these options. A good broker will, if required, provide on-going support. This might be bill validation services, the management of an ever changing portfolio of property, or support to meet regulatory requirements.
You will be wondering – how much will this support cost?
This will depend on the complexity of your energy needs. Some of our clients need daily support, whilst others only need support for contract renewals. Clients at each end of the spectrum should not pay the same. If a broker says the service is free, put the phone down and go elsewhere. Brokers don’t work for free. Some say they are paid by the supplier. This is only partially true. The fees you pay are collected by the supplier in your bills, but the fee is usually set by the broker.
Recently we have benchmarked our fees against a number of competitors and have been surprised that our fees are often half that of others. Often the customer never asked, or believed the support was free!