Business Energy Tariff

in Energy
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cassityacassitya Forumite
31 Posts
10 Posts Second Anniversary
Hi All. 

I find myself here again seeking advice, this time not for myself but for my mother in-law.

She said to me exactly 8 days ago. “My fixed tariff for electricity has ended, can you help me with a switch”

I went onto u-switch and her details were already loaded, as it was in the evening it said and agent will call, this didn’t happen until the next day whilst she was at work.

Her business is a hairdressers, a small shop with three people working there.

The person who called her, we have the name, was from a company called “Bionic”

* Yes, not U-Switch that I had logged onto the night before.

The agent said based on her annual consumption the monthly cost will be £275 a month. To which my mother in-law agreed, he sent over an electronic document and she signed it whilst on the call.

Seven days later she receives an email from - Smartest Energy Business

Stating that her first payment will be £796, which completely contradicts what was discussed on the phone call. 

She immediately rang Smartest Energy and they told her that she had signed up to pay this via the broker who called her, she said no I was told £275. She asked if she could cancel as she had been miss sold and she was told no as business customers do not get a cooling off period! 

They then told her to ring the broker to see if they could withdraw the contract but they were in contactable today (Got through and promised a call back which never happened) 

My worries are, she has signed something that admittedly she said she did not thoroughly check, as she “trusted” the person on the phone. 

The advice I have given so far is for her to ring both companies tomorrow, explain the situation and ask for help, if they don’t play ball, ask to raise a complaint. 

I’ve also asked her to ask her phone provider for a call recording of the call (if they have it) 

Of course she needs electric, for her business to continue, so ideally we need to switch away, right ? 

Can anyone offer any advice ? 
In the next reply i’ll post the unit rates quoted 


  • cassityacassitya Forumite
    31 Posts
    10 Posts Second Anniversary

    Standing charge - 30.82p a day

    Day/universal rate - 63.86p / kWh

    Evening & weekend rate - 55.08p / kWh

    Broker Commision - 1.5p kWh

    Estimated commission payment: £181

  • edited 15 December 2022 at 1:16AM
    macmanmacman Forumite
    52.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 15 December 2022 at 1:16AM
    So what does the document she signed electronically say about the rates and terms/monthly quote?
    What is her annual kWh usage? Since you have the unit rates, you can easily work out what her monthly DD should be: i.e one twelfth of her annual spend.
    The agent is correct, on a B2B contract, the normal consumer protections do not apply.
    I don't understand why she felt the urgency to sign up with a broker over the phone? She could have reviewed the offer and discussed with you first? She wasn't going to get cut off, she would just pay the out of contract rate for a few days more.
    NB: if the broker comm is 1.5p per kWh = £181 comm, then her usage is estimated at 12,066 kWh annually (assuming that is an annual commission).Is that her actual usage?On that basis, the annual spend would be, s/c £112, broker comm £181, 12,066 kWh £7,722. Total £8,015 (I've done the unit charge all on the higher rate, as i don't know the weekend percentage). So, the monthly DD would be about £668. It could never be as low as £275.
    What was she paying on the old fix?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • cassityacassitya Forumite
    31 Posts
    10 Posts Second Anniversary
    Thank you for your reply and so quickly, I can’t believe i’m still up after 2 hours of learning this!

    “So what does the document she signed electronically say about the rates and terms/monthly quote?”

    I asked this and she said now that’s she’s signed it. she can no longer view it, so she is going to ask them to resend it tomorrow when she speaks to them. 

    “What is her annual kWh usage?” 

    This was the first question I asked before going into u-switch, she didn’t know but said she was going to dig out a previous bill to find out. This is still not done, I’ve asked her to confirm from her last bill with previous supplier what the cut off usage was, and we can compare that to what the starting place was with her new supplier to see if their is any disconnect. 

    I also be queries over whether she has a smart metre or whether she has been taking reads herself, or if everything has been estimated! 


    She’s a very glass half full type person and trusts people over process but she’s had a bit of a health scare recently which hopefully is drawing to an end now (hopefully it’s nothing) So I can only assume her mind has been occupied on what is really important, which is why I feel so aggrieved that she’s been taken advantage of. 

    She has sent me an email. Which shows her monthly direct debit cost and it has an estimated annual usage of 12076 so you were almost bang on with that! 

    What I will check tomorrow is what her actual annual consumption is…. Hopefully it’s lower! 

    Yeah, I done the maths and got to £650 ish on usage not including day charges. Which is why i’ll check to see if she’s in arrears or if it’s maybe a winter add on or something ? 

    You’re right, no idea where this £275 came from, i’ll ask for a copy of the phone call. 

    I think she was paying £200 ish, she was fixed for 3 years so was reaping the benefits of the good old days 
  • cassityacassitya Forumite
    31 Posts
    10 Posts Second Anniversary
    The more I have dug into this and researched the more i’m now thinking the unit prices are there or there abouts with whats being offered at the moment and my questions more so lie with whether her annual estimated consumption is accurate and how she’s been doing metre readings until now. 

    She might have to put the prices up! 
  • macmanmacman Forumite
    52.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Even if she is in debt with the existing supplier, that doesn't account for the £128 extra monthly over the usage calculation. Debt doesn't get transferred over to the new supplier-she must pay any current supplier debt before she switches.
    The other pressing question is what length of contract she has now locked herself into without checking, it could be five years or more, and I doubt that it'a a fix.
    £200 would have been an incredibly cheap deal, those days are now gone for good.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Mister_GMister_G Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Our Village Hall electricity has just finished a 4 year fix at 14p.  The new 3 year fix is 42p.

    Annual cost goes up from £680 to £1900!

  • ArtybooArtyboo Forumite
    11 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I too have suffered at the hands of Smartest Energy Business. Once my contract ended they put my price up to £1.20 per Kw/h.
    I've now left them but they won't repay me the £3,500 they overcharged me via monthly direct debits, until 28 days after a problem with my meter being wrongly registered on the national database has been resolved. Who registered it wrongly on the national database? Well it was Smartest Energy Business, but I'm the one being penalised.
    They are real crooks. They don't answer emails and I've had to wait up to 1hour 45 minutes to speak to someone in Customer Services who was no help at all and even told me there was no point in continuing the conversation because he couldn't do anything. Even after I'd found a new supplier they still tried to take more cash from my bank and when I cancelled their direct debit just in time they sent me 3 emails in 3 days telling me I was going to have to pay £39 + vat in cancellation fees. I'm so frustrated and angry with this company, which seems to have no conscience about ripping off its customers, that I've just started a Facebook page called 'Victims of Smartest Energy Business'. I'd appreciate your comments and support.
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