A comparison of energy providers for business

Energy expenses are one of the most significant overheads for any company, and being able to manage these costs is critical to any successful business, especially small ones. Certain energy providers have recognised that businesses have different energy requirements to households, and so have built their services with a focus on business customers.

So who are these business energy specialists? Canstar Blue has produced a comparison to help small business owners navigate their energy options.

Before continuing, keep in mind that not all retailers and offers are available in all locations. This guide is intended to highlight what certain energy providers are offering, however finding the right retailer for your business will require a bit of further study on your behalf.

ERM Power

ERM claims to be Australia’s largest business-only energy retailer. It operates in south-east Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, the ACT, Tasmania and Victoria, catering for both small and large businesses.

For small business:

Small businesses are given two electricity plan options – fixed or adjustable. ERM Power regards customers with an annual electricity spend of less than $30,000 as a small business.

Fixed price plan

If your business signs up to this plan, the retail price will not be changed for the term of the contract, and there are no exit fees.

Adjustable price plan

This plan usually has a slightly lower retail rate and is reviewed annually. The rate you pay may fluctuate, which could work in or against your favour. Again there are no exit fees.

ERM small business market offer single rates

State / Postcode Sydney – 2000 Melbourne – 3000 Brisbane – 4000 Adelaide – 5000
Adjustable        
First 2500 kWh usage p/quarter (Incl. Gst) 22.946 cents per kWh 17.457 cents per kWh 24.596 cents per kWh 33.407 cents per kWh
Remaining usage per quarter (Incl. Gst) 19.723 cents per kWh N/A N/A N/A
Daily supply charge (Incl. Gst) 187.00 cents per day 168.300 cents per day 143.00 cents per day 108.90 cents per day
Fixed        
First 2500 kWh usage per quarter (Incl. Gst) 22.836 cents per kWh 17.919 cents per kWh N/A 33.407 cents per kWh
Remaining usage per quarter (Incl. Gst) 19.635 cents per kWh N/A N/A N/A
Daily supply charge (Incl. Gst) 187.00 cents p/day 168.300 cents per day N/A 108.90 cents per day

Rates correct at time of publication. These are single rate prices for sample postcodes only and you can find ERM’s price factsheets for all other serviced areas on its website.

For large business:

If your business has an annual electricity bill in excess of $30,000, then ERM Power will treat it as a large business. ERM says its electricity plans are tailored to suit a customer’s needs, and in addition to the supply of electricity, ERM offers large businesses a personal account manager, electricity usage reports, tariff reviews, market information, energy solutions and green products.

Standout features:

  • No exit fees for small businesses
  • Can cater to the needs of large businesses
  • Only retails to businesses. Systems, services and billing are built to cater for what a business needs

Blue NRG

Blue NRG is a business-only energy retailer operating across NSW, Victoria and parts of South Australia. The company says it strives to help its customers save money with competitive rates and a transparent billing system. Blue NRG has four products on offer:

Blue Freedom

Blue Freedom is Blue NRG’s most flexible market offer, allowing customers to leave at any time without exit fees.

Blue Saver

This is an 18 month plan. While it is less flexible than the Blue Freedom package, the rates are generally lower with the Blue Saver. In addition, these rates will not change for the life of the contract, so if electricity prices increase, customers won’t be affected.

Super-Saver

Blue NRG regards this plan as its best value offer. It is a 3 year plan which offers a similar deal to the standard Blue Saver, with the key differences being that this package provides an annual rate review and Blue NRG’s rate review guarantee, meaning if the wholesale electricity rate drops, Blue NRG will pass the savings onto its customers.

Blue Plus

Blue Plus is a completely customisable package ideal for larger businesses. It may include account management, onsite energy audits and energy-saving solutions on top of negotiable energy rates.

Blue NRG small business market offer rates

  Melbourne – 3000 Sydney – 2000
Blue Freedom
Consumption (Incl GST) 15.95 c/kWh 21.84 c/kWh
Daily Supply charge (Incl GST) 151 c/day 184 c/day
Blue Saver
Peak Consumption (Incl GST) 16.08 c/kWh 21.85 c/kWh
Off Peak Consumption (Incl GST)   21.49 c/kWh
Daily Supply charge (Incl GST) 151 c/day 184 c/day
Blue Super Saver
Peak Consumption (Incl GST) 15.39 c/kWh 20.82 c/kWh
  19.54 c/kWh 21.49 c/kWh
Daily Supply charge (Incl GST) 151 c/day 184 c/day

Rates correct at time of publication. These are single rate prices for sample postcodes only and you can find Blue NRG’s price factsheets for all other serviced areas on its website.  

Standout features:

  • Wide range of plans and tariff structures to cater to business needs
  • Rate review guarantee for Super-Saver customers
  • Easy to understand bills

Powerdirect

Powerdirect is a subsidiary of AGL, with a focus on small and medium sized businesses. Powerdirect’s market contracts are usually fixed for 2 years and come with generous pay on time discounts ranging from 10% to 34% depending on the contract. Powerdirect currently operates in Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia and Queensland, with offers varying considerably from state to state.

Most locations have a number of tariff structures and solar options available which can be viewed here. For the purposes of comparison, here are the market offer single rates.

Sydney (2000): 2yr – 20% discount – Single rate meter

  Price (Inc. GST)
First 2500 kWh usage per quarter 20.515 cents per kWh
Remaining usage per quarter 26.851 cents per kWh
Daily supply charge 169.125 cents per day
Melbourne (3000): No fixed term – 34% discount – Single rate meter

  Price (Inc. GST)
Consumption 17.105 cents per kWh
Daily supply charge 164.285 cents per day

 

South Australia (all serviced locations): 2yr – 15% discount – Single rate meter

  Price (Inc. GST)
First 27.3973 kWh usage per day 31.57 cents per kWh
Remaining usage per day 32.758 cents per kWh
Daily supply charge 80.223 cents per day

 

Queensland (all serviced locations): 2yr – 10% discount – Single rate meter

  Price (Inc. GST)
Consumption 21.758 cents per kWh
Daily supply charge 154.231 cents per day

Standout features:

  • Solar and green-energy options available
  • Plenty of market contracts on offer in many locations
  • Generous pay-on-time discounts on certain contracts

QEnergy

QEnergy provide tailored energy solutions for small to medium-sized businesses across Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. The company claims a myriad of experience across a range of industries, helping all kinds of businesses minimise their energy costs. QEnergy has three market offers available, however some are not offered in all areas. Its plans are:

Freedom Biz

Freedom Biz is a 12 month contract, which gives customers their own account manager and the option to pay by the month rather than the quarter.

Business Saver

This is a similar plan to Freedom Biz, with one of the only differences being that this is charged quarterly instead of monthly.

Biz Your Way

This is a no contract and no commitment deal, which QEnergy says offers a personalised, honest and down-to-earth service.

Qenergy small business market offer single rates

City/Postcode Sydney – 2000 Melbourne – 3000 Brisbane – 4000 Adelaide – 5000
Freedom Biz
Consumption for first 2500kWh per quarter (Incl. GST) 20.018 cents per kWh      
Remaining consumption per day (Incl. GST) 20.363 cents per kWh      
Supply charge (Incl. GST) 178.0680 cents p/day      
Business Saver    
Consumption for given allowance per period (Incl. GST) 20.426 cents per kWh 16.627 cents per kWh    
Remaining consumption per day (Incl. GST) 20.779 cents per kWh    
Supply charge (Incl. GST) 178.0680 cents per day 128.742 cents per day    
Biz Your Way  
Consumption for given allowance per period (Incl. GST) (First 2500 kWh per quarter)
25.861 cents per kWh
(First 1250 kWh per month)

25.5167 cents per kWh

24.729 cents per kWh (First 27.4 kWh per day)

31.089 cents per kWh

Remaining consumption per day (Incl. GST) 27.049 cents per kWh 25.3957 cents per kWh 32.293 cents per kWh
Supply charge (Incl. GST) 178.0680 cents per day 154.4950 cents per day 154.2486 cents per day 84.185 cents per day

Rates correct at time of publication. These are single rate prices for sample postcodes only and you can find QEnergy’s price factsheets for all other serviced areas on its website.

Standout features:

  • QEnergy membership rewards, including discounts at selected fuel stores, cinemas, restaurants and hotels
  • At the time of writing, switch to QEnergy and get $200 welcome credit
  • Customers can opt for the QGreen product accredited by GreenPower

Next Business Energy

Next Business Energy is a business-focused electricity service operating in Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. The company prides itself on what it claims to be a state-of-the-art billing service, as well as its personalised account management.

NSW and ACT businesses enquiring about energy prices will have to make an enquiry for tariff information by submitting their National Meter Identifier (NMI). There is, however, information on standard offers by distribution network available under pricing information.

Victorian customers can access the Next market offer factsheets here.

Standout features:

  • 12% Pay-on-time discount
  • Advanced energy management and billing software
  • Specialised energy reporting

Commander Power and Gas

Commander Power and Gas is a utilities and telecommunications provider operating in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Commander is an interesting retailer in that it lets customers bundle their business phone with their electricity. Customers who do this may be eligible for a 20% discount on both phone plan costs and electricity market usage rates. Despite its name, Commander Power & Gas does not retail gas as of yet.

Commander Power and Gas market offer single rates

  Sydney – 2000 Melbourne – 3000
First 27.4 kWh usage per day (Incl. Gst) 26.62 cents per kWh

(First 27.4 kWh usage per day)

19.55 cents per kWh
(Allowance: 41.0 kWh per day)
Remaining usage per day (Incl. Gst) 38.17 cents per kWh 19.65 cents per kWh
Daily supply charge (Incl. Gst) 155.925 cents per day 121.90 cents per day

The standard rate tariff structure for Adelaide businesses is slightly different.

  Adelaide – 5000
First 27.5 kWh per day 33.66
Next 246.5 kWh usage per day 35.31
Next 274 kWh usage per day 35.31
Remaining usage per day 35.31
Daily supply charge 77.725

Rates correct at time of publication. These are only sample postcodes and you can find Commander’s price factsheets for all serviced areas on its website.

Standout features

  • Discounts when you connect your business phone and electricity
  • $100 off your first electricity bill
  • 20% pay on time discount.

Large business energy providers

Generally speaking, energy retailers will regard your business as a ‘large business’ if its annual energy expense comes in over $25-35,000. Usually when it comes to dealing with big businesses, electricity retailers will like to negotiate personalised contracts with the company. Energy providers that deal exclusively in big business include: Stanwell Corporation, Progressive Green (PG) Energy, Win Energy and Cogent Energy to name a few.

Other business energy providers

This article took a close look at the energy retailers with a predominate focus on small and medium sized businesses. However, it’s worth noting that most traditional electricity providers, which may seem to focus on residential customers, also provide competitive offers to businesses. These include:

  • AGL
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Synergy
  • Origin
  • Ergon Energy
  • Momentum Energy
  • Simply Energy
  • Powershop
  • Lumo Energy

So which energy retailer should your business go with?

The electricity market is a complicated thing to navigate, and it’s extremely difficult to claim that one provider is completely better than another. While this article has provided some indicative single rates from certain retailers, the rates your company will be offered depend on its location and meter type. If you’re committed to finding the best deal, give a potential energy retailer a call with your Nation Meter Number on hand, and ask what they can do for you. Be sure to shop around – it’s a competitive world out there and energy retailers will often go to great lengths to secure business customers.

Compare energy providers for businesses

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