The Best UK Business Energy Suppliers

By Julia Watts | Content Manager | Updated: 4 May 2021

When choosing the best option for your business energy supplier, your first concern is naturally the cost. We get it – you’re a business, and minimising your costs makes complete business sense. However there are other things to consider when choosing a provider. How responsive is their customer service team? How do they generate their power? Do they partner with charities?

Taking a broader view to choosing your provider means you can feel comfortable about the ethics of the company you are partnering with. It also means you might avoid lengthy periods of time on hold. Unlike domestic contracts, businesses are able to negotiate their energy rates. Don’t be afraid to take quotes to the supplier you want to see if they can beat them.

But with so many suppliers offering a similar product, how can you tell which is the best? By reading our comprehensive guide to the best business energy suppliers, of course!

We’ve compared 30 business energy providers on price, eco-friendliness and customer service. By obtaining sample quotes and comparing fuel mix disclosures, tariffs and Trustpilot scores, we’ve made your life a whole lot simpler.


The big six energy suppliers

These are the most popular energy suppliers (the ‘big six'):

  1. British Gas
  2. EDF Energy
  3. E.ON
  4. nPower
  5. Scottish Power
  6. SSE
NB: in 2019, nPower was acquired by E.ON. nPower's existing customers are currently being moved over to subsidiary E.ON Next.

Chances are you’ll have heard of most of them. That’s because the Big Six account for around 70% of the UK energy market. We compared the Big Six on the criteria that we think matter to customers:

  • Their prices (‘out of contract’ rates and a sample quote)
  • How they are rated by other customers
  • How quickly they pick up the phone
  • How their electricity is generated

It’s worth mentioning that the ‘out of contract’ rates are effectively the worst possible, and should be a last resort. You will get the best rates if you commit to a fixed rate contract with a provider, usually for a year or more. It’s therefore really important to get quotes tailored to your business, to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. Fill in this form to get yours.

Big 6 comparison

ProviderSample small business electricity quote* (20,000 KWh/year)Out of contract electricity rate (in pence)Out of contract gas rate (in pence)Consumer rating**Time taken to speak to customer services (over phone)***
British Gas logo£2339.19 /year21.69/kwh 57.44/day6.41/kwh 96.07/day63%1 min 42 sec
EDF logo£2487.98 /year20.20/kwh
50.00/day
5.90/kwh
35.00/day
72.5%6 min 31 sec
E.ON logo£2559.87 /year17.70/kwh
83.00/day
4.29/kwh
102.00/day
66%1 min 25 sec
nPower logo£2465.92 /year25.46/kwh
57.79/day
7.578/kwh
129.00/day
39%2 min 20 sec
Scottish Power logo£2544.87 /year17.50/kwh
46.00/day
5.50/kwh
25.00/day
62.5%2 min 25 sec
SSE logo£2492.54 /year17.17/kwh
16.57/day
3.24/kwh
128.00/day
74%7 min 35 sec

*for an example small business using 20,000 kwh and based in North West London

**calculated by combining the Which? consumer rating and Trustpilot score as of May 2021

***calls carried out at around 2pm on Wednesday 14th February 2018

Did You Know?

The last year or two has seen big changes among the Big Six.

Firstly – as we've mentioned – the Big Six became the Big Five when E.ON acquired nPower in 2019. nPower's customers are gradually being moved over to E.ON's supply, with nPower's website due to close down in June 2021.

Secondly, in January 2020, OVO Energy bought SSE Energy Services (the company's domestic energy arm) – a landmark acquisition in that it highlighted the transformative impact that smaller, independent suppliers (like OVO) are having on the UK energy sector, as they grow in popularity and begin to seriously rival the Big Six.

SSE's business energy arm wasn't part of the sale, though, and still supplies energy to companies as part of the SSE Group.


British Gas

British Gas has the highest market share for both gas and electricity, with 15 million customers in the UK. It has, however, lost over 20% of its market share in the last ten years as independent suppliers have gained strength. More on them later.

British Gas
Founded in1997
NationalityBritish
Number of UK customers15 million
Customer rating63%
Out of contract electricity tariff21.69/kwh
57.44/day
Out of contract gas tariff6.41/kwh
96.07/day
Sample small business electricity quote
(20,000 KWh)
£2339.19 /year
Partner CharityCarers UK, Trussell Trust
Pie chart showing British Gas's fuel mix
British Gas's fuel mix
Graphic showing the time taken to answer the phone
Time taken to answer the phone: 1 min 42 sec

EDF Energy

French company EDF generates electricity as well as supplying both gas and electricity to UK businesses. EDF is highly reliant on nuclear energy as a source for their electricity, generating 66.6% of it in this way.

EDF Energy
Founded in2002
NationalityFrench
Number of UK customers4.8 million
Customer rating72.5%
Out of contract electricity tariff20.20/kwh
50.00/day
Out of contract gas tariff5.90/kwh
35.00/day
Sample small business electricity quote
(20,000 KWh)
£2487.98 /year
Partner CharityProstate Cancer UK
Pie chart showing EDF Energy's fuel mix
EDF Energy's fuel mix
Graphic showing the time taken to answer the phone
Time taken to answer the phone: 6 min 31 sec

E.ON

E.ON is a very large utilities supplier, operating in over 30 countries and with 30 million customers worldwide – and its acquisition of nPower in 2019 has only boosted its standing in the market. Since 2009, E.ON has invested more than £3.3 billion in renewable energy, and now generates 61.2% of its energy through renewable methods (23.3% above the UK average of 37.9%).

E.ON
Founded in2000
NationalityGerman
Number of UK customers3.8 million
Customer rating66%
Out of contract electricity tariff17.70/kwh 83.00/day
Out of contract gas tariff4.29/kwh 102.00/day
Sample small business electricity quote
(20,000 KWh)
£2559.87 /year
Partner CharityAlzheimer’s Society
Pie chart showing E.ON's fuel mix
E.ON's fuel mix
Graphic showing the time taken to answer the phone
Time taken to answer the phone: 1 min 25 sec

nPower

British company nPower may not score especially well among customers, but its 2019 acquisition by E.ON – which will see nPower customers moved over to E.ON through 2021 and beyond – may well mean better things for those aggrieved reviewers.

nPower
Founded in2000
NationalityBritish
Number of UK customers6.5 million
Customer rating39%
Out of contract electricity tariff25.46/kwh 57.79/day
Out of contract gas tariff5.90/kwh 35.00/day
Sample small business electricity quote
(20,000 KWh)
£2465.92 /year
Partner CharityTrussell Trust, Trees for Cities
Pie chart showing nPower's fuel mix
nPower's fuel mix
Graphic showing the time taken to answer the phone
Time taken to answer the phone: 2 min 20 sec

Scottish Power

Scottish Power, owned by Spanish company Iberdrola, is one of the most established members of the Big Six. It has partnered with Cancer Research UK since 2012, and during this time has raised a highly commendable £30 million for the charity.

Scottish Power
Founded in1990
NationalitySpanish
Number of UK customers5 million
Customer rating62.5%
Out of contract electricity tariff17.50/kwh 46.00/day
Out of contract gas tariff5.50/kwh 25.00/day
Sample small business electricity quote
(20,000 KWh)
£2544.87 /year
Partner CharityCancer Research UK
Pie chart showing Scottish Power's fuel mix
Scottish Power's fuel mix
Graphic showing the time taken to answer the phone
Time taken to answer phone: 2 min 25 sec

SSE

Scottish company SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Electricity) is involved in both the generation and supply of gas and electricity, as well as the operation of gas and telecoms networks. In 2013 it became one of the first major companies to commit to paying all staff the living wage. While SSE now supplies energy to residential households as part of OVO, the business energy part of the business is still owned by the SSE Group.

SSE
Founded in1998
NationalityScottish
Number of UK customers3.5 million
Customer rating74%
Out of contract electricity tariff17.17/kwh 16.57/day
Out of contract gas tariff3.24/kwh 128.00/day
Sample small business electricity quote
(20,000 KWh)
£2492.54 /year
Partner CharityNordoff Robbins
Pie chart showing SSE's fuel mix
SSE's fuel mix
Graphic showing the time taken to answer the phone
Time taken to answer the phone: 7 min 35 sec

We can’t stress enough that the out of contract tariffs are the worst rates you would pay with these companies, and that the sample quote is just that – a sample. Getting quotes with the details of your own business is the only way to be able to make an accurate comparison. And we can’t stress enough how easy it is! Simply fill in our online form.


The best independent suppliers

The Big Six, as they have come to be known, are the legacy of privatisations that occured in the UK in the 90s. For a long time, their near monopoly of the market has been taken for granted. People often assume that their size enables them to offer the most competitive deals.

Well, that’s not always the case.

Over the last few years, Ofgem has reported an influx of new, independent suppliers. These new companies are targeting a public that is increasingly savvy, and increasingly disillusioned with the big corporate energy companies. And they’re succeeding.

Ofgem's State of the Energy Market Report for 2019 showed independent suppliers have massively increased in popularity:


Due to COVID-19, Ofgem didn't release a State of the Energy Market Report in 2020, and has yet to do so in 2021. As a result, the below data from 2019 is the latest available.

Non-domestic market shares for electricity in June 2019

Pie charts showing electricity market shares

Note: Electricity profile classes’ definitions refer to Elexon Guidance. Profile classes 3 & 4 are typically small businesses and market shares are measured in terms of meter points; profile classes 5 to 8 and half-hourly (HH) customers are typically larger and market shares are measured in terms of volume.


Non-domestic market shares for gas in June 2019

Pie charts showing gas market shares

Note: Market shares are measured in terms of meter points for businesses with gas consumption under 73,200 kWh and in terms of volume for businesses with gas consumption over 73,200 kWh.


As a business, choosing the right supplier for your gas and electricity is a really important decision. Utilities account for a significant part of your overheads, so minimising cost is crucial. Making a smart choice can also reduce the valuable time you spend on hold, or ironing out issues. Not only that, but the right company can reduce your impact on the environment, too.

That’s where independent business energy suppliers can really excel. They don’t have the brand awareness or market share of the Big Six, so they work extra hard to make their service the best, cheapest and greenest that it can be.

Here’s our roundup of the independent gas and electricity suppliers that are sending sparks flying in the business energy sector. We’ve sorted them into five categories – cheapest, most eco-friendly, best for customer service, most innovative, and the ‘best of the rest’ – reviewed a number of contenders, and chosen a winner for each. Read on to learn about our top picks…

The best independent business energy suppliers

During our research, we found the best business energy supplier for each of our five categories:

  • Cheapest supplier: Bulb
  • Most eco-friendly supplier: Bulb
  • Best supplier for customer service: Bulb
  • Most innovative supplier: Utility Warehouse
  • Best of the rest: PFP Energy

The 5 cheapest independent business energy suppliers

We contacted 23 independent business energy providers and asked them to give us a quote for a business using around 20,000kWh of electricity a year, based in North West London. These are the five independent suppliers which offered us the most competitive prices:

Bulb

Straight away, we loved that London startup Bulb is so upfront about its tariffs. They're listed on Bulb's business homepage, with no jargon or complicated rates. Bulb doesn't lock commercial customers into 12-month contracts, and nor does it charge exit fees. And not only does Bulb not charge exit fees, the company will actually pay yours when you switch to Bulb from another supplier who does. What’s more, Bulb's prices are also around 20% lower than the Big Six's.

Trustpilot score: 4.6/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,120.01/year


2. D-ENERGi

Getting new customers is understandably the main focus for most energy suppliers. Perhaps that’s why we find it so refreshing to hear D-ENERGi’s commitment to offering existing customers its most competitive rates too.

Trustpilot score: 4.6/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,390.13/year

3. Extra Energy

Birmingham-based Extra Energy is very clear about its main advantage: price. It offers some of the most competitive fixed business rates in the market, but this sometimes comes at the expense of effective customer service and complaints handling.

Trustpilot score: 3.9/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,405.11/year

4. Corona Energy

“Big enough to make things happen, small enough to be agile”: that’s the approach of UK business energy supplier Corona (all negative connotations associated with that word aside). With over 20 years of experience in providing utilities to businesses of all sizes, Corona currently holds 14% of the industrial and commercial gas market.

Trustpilot score: 4.2/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,412.33/year

5. Robin Hood Energy

Launched by Nottingham City Council, Robin Hood Energy's aim is “to make energy affordable for all“, and its positive reviews would suggest that the supplier is achieving this. Customers seem to be especially impressed by Robin Hood Energy's polite and helpful customer services.

Trustpilot score: 3.1/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,416.20/year


The 4 most eco-friendly independent business energy suppliers

All four of these energy providers supply electricity of which at least 99% is generated through renewable methods, including solar and wind energy. If your business has set green targets, partnering with one of these suppliers is a great first step:

Bulb

As if we weren’t already sold on Bulb after it offered us the cheapest sample quote, it's also the ‘greenest’ independent company we reviewed.100% of the electricity Bulb supplies is produced through renewable means, as is 40% of Bulb's gas. It’s no wonder the supplier bagged first place in the prestigious Startups 100 ranking back in 2018.

Trustpilot score: 4.6/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,120.01/year


2. Ecotricity

As the name suggests, Ecotricity’s main selling point is its eco-friendly ethos. Not only is its electricity 100% green, it was also the first UK company to commit to this. Ecotricity's gas is currently 12% green. With ambitious plans to build its own gasmills, the hope is that this figure will soon be 100%. This supplier's rates aren't always the most competitive, but are still considered good value for money.

Trustpilot score: 3.7/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon

3. SO Energy

Open SO Energy’s website and you’re greeted with a clean homepage and a simple slogan: “Green energy. Great value. Unbeatable service“. We like this supplier already! It has signed up to the “Energy Switch Guarantee“, which prioritises a hassle-free switch for new customers from their previous suppliers. SO actually says the whole switching process should only take five minutes, and will liaise with your previous supplier and arrange the whole thing.

Trustpilot score: 4.5/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,460/year

4. Yü Energy

One of the big things that stands out about Yü is the number of awards programs that the supplier's been lauded by. In recent years, it's been shortlisted for (and, in a few cases, won) multiple business, utility, and customer service awards. As with any utilities provider, Yü's customer reviews aren’t always perfect. What we love, however, is how every negative review has been followed up by a member of staff with a personalised message that details how they intend to help resolve the issue. It’s this attention to detail that ensures small companies have a chance to make it big. For added convenience, Yü also supplies water to businesses.

Trustpilot score: 4.3/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,998.67/year


The top 5 independent energy suppliers for customer services

One thing that quickly became apparent in our research is that customers of independent business energy suppliers are more satisfied than those of the Big Six. In fact, all of these suppliers have a Trustpilot score of 4.5/5 or above:

Bulb

We were pleased to see that Bulb’s customer service is on par with its competitive pricing and eco-friendly ethos. Bulb's focus on providing a simple, streamlined, and transparent experience is clearly paying off. To have a Trustpilot score of 4.6 in the energy sector is an incredible achievement.

Trustpilot score: 4.6/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,120.01/year


2. Affect Energy

Shoreham-by-Sea-based Affect Energy is a company with a promise: energy that is simple, painless and great value for money. It boasts a frankly miraculous Trustpilot score of 4.9, and won a commended award for energy provider of the year at the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards 2018. Affect's website is easy to navigate, and you can submit your contract end date and ask to be be contacted nearer the time with Affect’s best offer for your business. One customer sums it up perfectly: Affect is “big enough to cope; small enough to care“.

Trustpilot score: 4.9/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,120.01/year

3. SO Energy

SO Energy has signed up to the “Energy Switch Guarantee”, which prioritises a hassle-free switch for new customers from their previous suppliers, and promises that the whole switching process should only take five minutes. SO's Trustpilot score is proof that it's not only following through on this guarantee, but supporting customers throughout their contracts as well.

Trustpilot score: 4.5/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,460.00/year

4. D-ENERGi

As we’ve already seen, D-ENERGi offers some of the most competitive prices for new customers. However, it’s the supplier's commitment to offering equally competitive rates to its existing customers that has earnt it such an impressive Trustpilot score.

Trustpilot score: 4.6/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,390.13/year

5. United Gas and Power (UGP)

UGP is a relatively new UK energy supplier, and previously traded under the name ‘Lancashire Gas and Power’. UGP is a great option for a business of any size, particularly one that's looking for a provider for both electricity and gas, as UGP offers discounts for dual tariffs. Helpfully, UGP doesn’t charge standing charges on many of its tariffs, making it really easy to work out your costs. This supplier also has competitive rates and a truly excellent Trustpilot rating.

Trustpilot score: 4.8/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon


The 4 most innovative independent energy suppliers

‘Innovative’ may be a very broad term, but we felt the need to recognise the companies that are not the greenest, nor necessarily the cheapest, but are well on their way. They have often won awards for their innovation, and some are too small to yet have a Trustpilot score (although we have every reason to believe that their customer service is great). Some may offer quirky perks. Either way, these suppliers are a good bet if you want to partner with a forward-looking company:

Utility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse isn't called a warehouse for nothing: It can supply electricity, gas, phones, broadband, and mobiles for your business. It incentivises customers with cashback offers and partner discounts. For ‘gold’ customers (those who take four services), Utility Warehouse also offers to pay any termination fees you encounter, up to the value of £200.

Trustpilot score: 3.9/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon


2. Opus Energy

Opus Energy has really been making waves in the business energy sector since its formation in 2002. In 2015, it actually broke the legacy of the Big Six, positioning itself as the sixth largest business energy supplier. It scooped up the award of Utilities Provider of the Year 2017 at the British Small Business Awards, and has been featured on The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league several times. Opus's customer reviews, however, are a real mixture of ‘bad’ and ‘excellent’, resulting in a pretty low score and suggesting room for improvement in a few areas.

Trustpilot score: 1.8/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon

3. Axis Energy

Axis Energy is a small, independent utilities, broadband, and mobile provider. Being such a small provider, no Facebook or verified Trustpilot reviews are available. This has admittedly made it hard to assess how good the company's customer service is. However, we do know that it aims to answer all calls within 30 seconds, and its average wait time is only 16, which can only be good news.

Trustpilot score: NA

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,529.18/year

4. Flow

Flow wants its customers to know that it will not lock them into a fixed tariff. Variable tariffs are traditionally far more expensive than fixed ones, but that’s where Flow is different: it offers some of the most competitive variable rates on the market. Flow also gives you the option to upgrade to a 100% renewable energy plan for slightly more money.

Trustpilot score: 3.8/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon


The best of the rest

There are several business utilities companies that offer a good service, but didn’t quite come out on top for our chosen categories. Depending on where your business is based and its energy needs, any one of these companies could easily offer you the best deal and a reliable service.

PFP Energy

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, PFP Energy has received the lowest number of complaints per 100,000 customers of any energy company in the UK. This supplier doesn't display its business tariffs online, but its site is very modern and user-friendly.

Trustpilot score: 3.7/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon


2. Yorkshire Gas and Power (YGP)

YGP specialises in providing gas and electricity to businesses. The number of complaints leveled at YGP last quarter – zero – is testament to its commitment to providing the “finest customer service in the industry”. YGP also guarantees to beat your renewal price, or give you £100. With promises like that, it’s no wonder the company has set its sights on challenging the Big Six.

Trustpilot score: 3.7/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,612.46/year

3. Go Effortless Energy

Go Effortless Energy only has two Trustpilot reviews, making it hard to know how it's perceived by customers. In terms of trust indicators, we like that the supplier displays its prices clearly on its website. It has also published the details of its complaints from 2017. Well, complaint, really – there was only one, and it was resolved in eight weeks. This is really evidence of a commitment to transparency and a high level of customer service.

Trustpilot score: 3/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,585.85/year

4. Crown Gas and Power

Crown Gas and Power wants to push value and visibility for its commercial customers, though a lack of online reviews makes it somewhat hard to assess whether the company has managed to achieve this. Crown Gas and Power's website is a little old-fashioned but easy to follow, and it has a dedicated email and phone line, which can only be a plus.

Trustpilot score: NA

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon


The energy suppliers that are falling short

During researching the best business energy suppliers in the UK, naturally we encountered some companies that, for whatever reason, seem to be missing the mark:

1. BES Utilities

BES Utilities specialises in providing commercial gas and electricity. It is committed to treating its customers fairly, and publishes a report each year that details the steps the company is taking to ensure this is always the case. In 2015, however, BES was investigated by Ofgem for misconduct, and had to pay a hefty fine. But we can see that overall sentiment in its customer reviews has improved massively over the last few years, which likely means the supplier has taken strides to address its past problems.

Trustpilot score: 4.1/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon

2. Utilita Energy

Utilita offers ‘pay as you go’ business energy, with a ‘one tariff fits all’ approach. It also offers smart meters to monitor your usage. Unfortunately, reviews would suggest that it's falling short somewhere along the line.

Trustpilot score: 4.3/5

Sample small business electricity quote: coming soon

3. Dual Energy

Dual Energy is keen to offer business energy solutions that are smart. It offers free smart meters to all of its customers, allowing you to easily track what you’re using. You can also agree to a one or two-year contract, tailoring Dual’s service to your own business needs.

Trustpilot score: 4.3/5

Sample small business electricity quote: £2,450.17/year


Verdict

Choosing a business energy provider needn’t be the headache that it once was. The prices above are only estimates for an imaginary, North London based company. Rates will vary hugely depending on region, supplier, usage, contract length and meter type. To get the best deal for the specific needs of your business, it is always worth getting quotes from a variety of suppliers. And remember – with so many providers on the hunt for new business, you are in a powerful position. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!

Julia Watts Content Manager

Specializing in the complex realms of telephone systems, business energy, vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and fuel cards, Julia writes content that cuts through the noise to help you find the right solutions and technologies for your business. Having spent five years working across the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.

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