> How do you work?
We will tender your supply try to get as many competitive energy quotes as possible. Once we are confident that we have the most competitive prices for your supply we’ll send you a list of prices and the estimated total cost from which we’ll make you a recommendation based on price, terms and other criteria. But before we can start the process we’ll ask you for a copy bill and a letter of authority. They will help us to get all the information required to give you an accurate quote.
> How will my business benefit from your services?
Alpine Utilities will analyse your consumption and negotiate some highly competitive prices for your energy contracts.
> What makes your services different from others?
Alpine Utilities has offered business energy contracts since the early days of the deregulation. Therefore we don’t just present you with figures, but advise you on the merits of the best contracts and its terms & conditions. We will also give you honest advice on the length of contract you should sign based on the price difference and expected market movements.
> Why is it best to choose your services rather than doing it myself?
Unfortunately the energy market has become highly complex. Unlike domestic gas & electricity contracts, business energy contract can have many pitfalls through various extra charges and complicated terms & conditions, which we will make you aware of. We also tender your contract to some smaller suppliers you may have never heard of but will only do so if we are satisfied that they have a good reputation. We will also remind you to take appropriate action when the contract comes up for renewal.
Using Our Services
> What are the costs of using your service?
In most cases our contract prices offered includes our commission. This will be paid by the supplier, so you will not get any additional bill for using our service.
Some special services/contracts may require us to charge you a fee but we will make this clear in advance before supplying the service.
> Will I sign a paper contract or will it be agreed verbally?
We are not in favor of verbal contracts as we believe you should be able to read and study in peace all details of your contract. However circumstances often make a verbal contract more feasible and this is now becoming the trend many suppliers are going for. A verbal contract also ensures that the customer is aware of what he agrees and doesn’t simply sign a long complicated form at the bottom without understanding it. Whatever the situation, we will always try to send you all the information in writing prior to being contacted for a verbal contract.
> Why do I need to send you a Letter of Authority?
Alpine Utilities need your permission to speak to energy suppliers on your behalf which is granted with a LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) on your headed paper. It is important to note that while the LOA allows us to obtain quotes and other information about your account as well as submitting your contract; it does NOT authorise us to agree a contract on your behalf. We can only negotiate some good prices for your supply and recommend you a contract but it is ultimately your decision whether to accept it or not and you will be required to sign it. With the authority of the LOA we may also terminate your contract to prevent an automatic rollover and request some information about your consumption, current tariff and contract end date to ensure an accurate quote for your business.
> Why do I need to send you the Latest Copy of Invoice?
If you can provide us with a full copy (both sides and all pages) of your latest invoice in respect of ALL your electricity and gas supplies (If you have multiple sites, we need the latest invoice for each site) this will speed up the process in getting you a quote as most of the relevant information is found on it. To streamline the process please write your latest meter readings on each of the invoices.
The next step:
Return the copy invoices and your LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) and we will start the tender for your energy or request further information if required. You can post, fax or scan the LOA and invoices, for contact details Click Here .
> I’ve just received a renewal notice from my supplier – shall I just ignore it?
No, doing nothing is not an option or it can cost your business ££££’s! In our experience energy suppliers will offer you renewal contracts at prices which are typically around 20-30% more than the market rate. This is why our services are so important to helping your business reduce costs where possible.
> Why is it necessary to give Notice of Termination before my current contract comes to an end? Does it mean my electricity or gas will be disconnected?
No, you will not be disconnected – it’s just a term used by the energy industry to describe giving notice that you do not want to be automatically renewed at the end of your current contract. Most suppliers will require a termination notice 30 – 90 days before the contract end date. Failing to give termination notice will either result in your contract being rolled over for another year at uncompetitive rates or you will be placed onto a variable tariff again typically higher than a fixed rate contract but giving you the option to change supplier at any time by just giving 30 days notice.
On the other hand if you do terminate; once the contract has come to an end you will be charged the excessive out-of-contract or deemed rate until your supply has switched over or you have agreed a renewal-contract. Some suppliers will backdate your contract if you renew too late.
Note; as part of our process arranging a contract for your business, we will usually send a termination notice on your behalf.
> So is there a risk that I’ll pay excessive out-of-contract rates?
On rare occasions there can be a small risk, but the savings we offer usually outweigh any out-of-contract rates for a short period of time. Alpine Energy will do everything to
a) prevent your supply from going out-of-contract
b) liaise with the supplier to reverse any excessive rate i.e. by backdating or extending your contract
c) claim the difference from the failing supplier
Case Study: Mr K. signed up a renewal contract with the current supplier to continue for another year. However as the new contract was placed from a different department, lack of internal communication resulted in a 3-week gap between contracts and the customer received a bill showing more than double the original rate. ALPINE ENERGY logged a complaint with the supplier and they agreed to extend the original contract until the new one was in place.
> I don’t understand all the small print – is it important?
When you accept an offer for the supply of gas or electricity, whether verbally or in writing, you have entered a legal contract. Naturally the supplier has attached a set of Terms & conditions to it. While most clauses are standard and nothing to worry about; some can have a costly impact on your business. Firstly we will try to send them to you before you agree a contract. Some suppliers have presented them in an easy to understand brochure while others have a document called principle terms for micro businesses mainly to outline the renewal process. To make it easier for you we will try to send you the several pages of the T&C’s with our highlights and/or make you aware of some important points, in our offer.
> What happens after I signed the contract?
On receipt of a customer’s signed contract, the energy supplier will normally write (at some point) to confirm details and enclose the T&Cs. Sometimes this is known as the ‘Welcome Pack.’ At the same time, the new energy supplier will apply via the industry network, to take over the supply.
> Can my current supplier object the transfer?
The old energy supplier may object either because you owe them money, or because the contractual obligations don’t allow you to change suppliers. This may be because no termination notice was received, received too early, or received too late.
Sometimes an objection was placed in error or there was another issue which we may be able to resolve. If a valid termination notice was not provided in time, then the old energy supplier is normally entitled to block the transfer.
You can see that the provision of Termination Notice is crucial: let Alpine Utilities take care of this. Always provide Alpine Utilities with copies of any correspondence from your energy supplier.
Case study: A client had his transfer objected. Alpine Energy investigated and found out there was no termination notice logged on the account. We quickly e-mailed them a confirmation of termination, which we had on file, and the supplier removed the objection. We also ensured that the client would not incur any excessive out-of-contract rate as a result.
> Do I need to take a meter reading?
It is important that you take a meter read on the day of the transfer. We encourage you to send us a copy of your final bill, which we reconcile with the first bill from your new supplier.
Some transfers can have problems with meter readings – so we carry on checking until we are satisfied.
> Why don’t you offer an online comparison site for businesses?
Every business is unique and so is every business energy contract; while a comparison site may list many tariffs in order of total cost, it could not all the contract details incl. additional charges, variable pass through charges, take-or-pay clauses etc. We therefore feel a bespoke approach is necessary for business contracts.
> What if my business has bad credit history?
Energy suppliers are taking credit issues very seriously with their customers. There are number of solutions that are available and so you need to contact Alpine Utilities as soon as possible. Note: Your supplier is entitled to request a security deposit either before or at any time during the contract – none payment of the SD would constitute a breach of contract and incur penalty charges. Some suppliers may impose a credit fee to pay for a credit insurance. Again this may happen after inception of the contract.
Case study: A supplier wanted £9000 security deposit to renew a gas contract. Alpine Energy succeeded in finding the customer a competitive supplier without any security deposit.
> Can you do oil and /or bottled / tank LPG?
> How can you help with our Telecommunications?
We are agents for the Utility Warehouse Discount Club – click here for further info.
> I have a Half-Hourly electricity supply – does that cost more?
Besides the number of kWH’s that you use, your electricity meter may also record the maximum demand. That is the highest consumption within a half-hour period. If this exceeds 100kVA your supply will need to be half-hourly metered. In this case standing charge and unit rates may be lower, but you will find additional charges like data collector and capacity charges etc. on your bill. You will also have to take out a meter-operator contract. If you use a vast amount of electricity, the additional charges may be offset by the cheaper unit rates. But for smaller sites this can prove costly. Note: The regulators OFGEM have now required to convert all profile 05 – 08 (non HH max. demand) meters to HH by April 17. The full impact of this change has yet to be finalised and different suppliers treat this directive differently.
It is therefore important that you speak to us a.s.a.p. to find out how we can save you money in different ways.
> We are a charity – do we get a discount?
A: All energy used for CHARITABLE PURPOSE qualifies for the lower 5% VAT rate and does not pay any CCL. You may be a charity but your energy is used for commercial purposes i.e. you rent out your premises. If that portion is more than 40% it would not qualify. You will need to complete a VAT declaration form, which we may send you with the contract or you request it from the supplier. You can claim to have your discount backdated up-to 3 years but not all suppliers will do that.
Case study: A charity sent us their bills for cheaper energy. The first thing we did, we sent them a VAT declaration form for the respective supplier and they were able to claim back hundreds of pounds on overpaid VAT and CCL.
> Are residential homes and students’ accommodation treated differently?
Yes, what applies to charitable use applies to residential use for which you only pay 5% VAT and no CCL.
> My consumption has dropped significantly – does that matter?
Yes, gas suppliers will base their contract on historic consumption figures they receive from the national database. Many suppliers have a take-or-pay clause. So if your consumption is going to be much more or less that in the past they could penalise you. Alpine Energy will find you a solution.
Case study: A client changed his heating to bio-fuel and gas consumption dropped 90%. Alpine energy found him a gas contract with no take-or-pay and no standing charge so the total cost came out extremely cheap.
> I am planning to vacant my property in the next 6 months – can I still sign a contract?
Yes, you could sign a short term contract, but from experience we know that you can’t predict the exact date you will be leaving. So we would have to find you a supplier that doesn’t charge a termination fee for leaving the premises in mid-term.
Case study: A nursery planned to move site. At renewal the current supplier offered a short term contract. However there was no certain date for the move we changed to a supplier who’s T&C’s allow moving out without a penalty.
> Are your contract prices fixed?
Nowadays a contract price consists of many pass-through charges, which cannot be predicted in advance. Some contracts are fully fixed while others allow for those charges to be adjusted during the contract term – Alpine Energy tries to quote fully fixed or we will make you aware of possible increases.
> Do you work with preferred energy suppliers?
No. We are client focused and always make sure we work for our clients.
> Can you source Green Energy suppliers?
Yes. We have a selection of suppliers. There may be limitations to the quantities you can purchase.
> My business has several locations spread across several counties. Can you help?
Yes we can, we offer contracts to businesses in the whole UK.