6 Things to Consider When Choosing an Energy Supplier for Your Business
When you're choosing an electricity or natural gas provider for your business, it’s natural to focus first on price as a point of comparison.
But in addition to discussing the right rate for your business, there are several other key factors to consider. By exploring your options beyond price, you can find the best energy partner to help you build a strategy that meets both short- and long-term business goals.
Whether you're exploring options for your small business or on behalf of an industrial company with a large footprint, here are six questions to guide your decision-making.
1. What's the right energy strategy for my business?
The energy market can be very unpredictable. There are many things out of your control – from weather patterns and changing regulations to technological innovation – which makes managing energy a challenge for both large and small businesses.
In the industrial sector especially, it's important that you work with a partner with a wide variety of products, services and contract options that can be customized to help you meet your organization's goals while managing operating expenses.
Considering the recent volatility of the market (and the likelihood that prices will continue to fluctuate for some time), it's beneficial to work with an energy partner who can manage a layered hedging strategy on your behalf. This active approach to managing your energy involves continuously tracking the markets and taking advantage of opportunities when prices drop.
2. What's the right energy product for my business?
Not all commercial energy suppliers will offer you the same options. In the industrial sector especially, it's important that you work with a partner with a wide variety of products, services and contract options that can be customized to help you meet your organization’s goals while managing operating expenses.
3. How important is transparency to my energy supplier?
Before agreeing to a long-term partnership, you'll want to be certain that your energy supplier is open and honest about every detail of your contract. Things like regulatory changes, swing, material deviation and force majeure can potentially alter the agreement you've signed. Be sure to insist that a representative from the energy supplier you're considering is willing to sit down with you and go over every detail in the document.
4. Does my supplier have a reputation for excellent customer service?
Before making your choice, make sure the supplier is willing to assign a dedicated representative to your business. The right supplier can serve as a trusted extension of your team, helping you navigate the market.
Because of the complicated nature of the energy markets, it's important you choose a commercial energy company that's well established in the industry. When researching energy partners for your organization, be sure to learn how long they've been in business, and if they've always operated under the same name.
5. How financially strong is my supplier?
A stable supply of energy is essential to ensuring your business' operation. Before entering a long-term agreement, you need to be sure that your energy supplier is reliable and financially healthy. Before signing a contract, consider requesting audited financial information from the supplier.
6. What's my energy supplier's company structure?
Many suppliers are subsidiaries of larger international companies and may not have the time or ability to focus on your industry or local market. Privately held companies are often more flexible, with dedicated teams for each customer. When researching energy suppliers, look for one that’s privately held and domestically based.