Paying bills takes time, and time costs money. A Direct Debit saves you both by:
- Reducing your workload through less admin with no cheques to write, and no posting
- Avoiding late payment interest charges because your bills are always paid on time.
When you pay by Direct Debit, you are protected in three ways:
- A money back guarantee from the bank in the event of any errors
- Notice of payment amount or date changes
- The right to cancel at any time.
Signing up to Direct Debit
Paying one bill is estimated to cost organisations between £20 and £50 in administration time. Multiply that by the number of bills you process and it adds up to a lot of cash. Direct Debit is the efficient cost effective alternative.
BACS or CHAPS?
We’re glad you asked. To pay your bills using either the Bankers Automated Clearing System (BACS) or Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS), you will need to arrange the payment with your bank and give them these details:
Our bank account details, which are on the back of your bill
Your account number, which is on the front of your bill.
Please remember that BACS payments take 3–4 working days to clear into our bank account. CHAPS payments clear the same day, with an admin fee payable.
To pay your bills by cheque, follow the payment advice on the back of your bill.
As a minimum, we’ll need to have a completed giro slip with your account number and invoice number written on the back of your cheque.
To avoid late payment interest, please remember to allow seven working days for your cheque to clear our bank account.
Your bill explained
Understanding what makes up your bill helps to manage your consumption and could cut your energy costs.
There are two sections to your bill.
- Billing invoice - This section summarises your account balance and recent charges. It explains what you need to do and by when.
- Billing detail - This section details how the different charges make up your total bill. You’ll see specific metering information, including the meter readings your bill is based on.
If you would like more information about what is featured in your bill, take a look at our Understanding your bill guide.
If you have a specific query about your bill, please call 0845 366 3664.(1)
Consolidate your bills
Depending on the size of your business you can get single site or consolidated bills. If you have 1 to 10 sites, bills are best for customers with a few sites or no centralised payment processing system. You get a bill and payment summary for each site.
If you have over 10 sites
Consolidated bills are great for customers with many sites and a centralised payment processing system, making it easy to keep on top of all of your sites energy use. This option simplifies your admin. You can
- Group accounts together: by region, cost centre or any way you choose
- Choose your own unique reference numbers to manage your accounts easily
- Easily add or remove sites to your Consolidated Billing
- Pay in full for all your sites with one Direct Debit payment each month
To consolidate your bills, call 0845 366 3664.(1)
Get bills direct to your inbox. It’s quicker than the post and saves a few trees. You can analyse your energy costs using our free eBilling software which gives you access to a range of reports, or you can customise your own report.
Find out how Value Added Tax and Climate Change Levy affects your business and if you qualify for reduced rates or exemptions
Paying the right amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) is fundamental for any business. You may be eligible for the reduced rate of VAT if you meet certain criteria.
VAT will normally be charged at the standard rate if the energy you use is solely for business or non-domestic purposes. VAT, which is also applied to Climate Change Levy, will be added to your bill.
A reduced VAT rate is available through a government concession for ‘low usage’ of electricity and gas. Where applicable, the reduction is applied automatically to your bill. The current low usage thresholds are:
- Electricity - at or below 33 kWh per day during the bill period
- Gas - at or below 145 kWh per day during the bill period.
if use is wholly or partly for domestic or charitable non-business purposes, that part of the supply qualifies for the reduction. This is known as ‘qualifying use’. You will need to complete a VAT Certificate of Declaration (for each account) advising us of the qualifying use.
Where there is 60% or more qualifying use (either domestic or charitable non-business), the whole of the supply is chargeable at the reduced rate of VAT. Your VAT Certificate of Declaration should, however, reflect your best estimate of the actual percentage of qualifying use. As per HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidelines.
Climate Change Levy (CCL)
Climate change is widely recognised as the most important environmental challenge facing all countries today. There is growing scientific consensus on the potential impact on our climate of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.
CCL is a government initiative introduced in 2001 to encourage businesses to be more energy efficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help meet the UK’s environmental targets.
The levy is chargeable only on units/kWh used and not on any other part of the bill, e.g. the standing charge. VAT at the standard rate is added to CCL charges.
Separate CCL rates have been set for electricity and gas, and are index-linked, so likely to change on 1 April each year.
In certain circumstances, businesses will be wholly or partly excluded, or exempt, from paying CCL on their energy supply.
Where VAT is charged at the reduced rate, the supply is excluded from CCL
Where VAT is charged at the standard rate, CCL (plus VAT on CCL) will usually be added to the bill.
Automatic CCL exemption
Domestic or charitable non-business use
If the electricity or gas supply is used wholly or partly for domestic or charitable non-business use, that part of the supply qualifies for the reduced rate of VAT and is therefore excluded from CCL. If you haven’t already, you will need to submit a VAT Certificate of Declaration to advise us what percentage of the supply qualifies on this basis.
Business or non-domestic use and low usage
Under a government concession, ‘low usage’ of electricity and gas for business or non-domestic purposes is chargeable at the reduced rate of VAT, see VAT section above, and therefore automatically excluded from CCL (i.e. if the average usage during the bill period is at or below 33 units (kWh) per day of electricity and at or below 145 units (kWh) per day of gas). You don’t need to take any action.
For more information on whether your business qualifies for exemption, please visit the HMRC website.
Full or partial relief
The government has given the following types of supply full or partial relief from CCL.
Supplies that qualify for up to 100% relief:
- Some forms of transport
- Combined Heat & Power (CHP) schemes covered by CHPQA (Combined Heat & Power Quality Assurance certificate)
- For more information on whether your business qualifies for relief or exemption, please visit the visit the HMRC website.
Supplies that qualify for up to 90% CCL relief
Government gives special consideration to energy-intensive industries given their energy usage and their exposure to international competition. Examples include major energy intensive processes such as steel, chemicals and cement, and agricultural sectors such as intensive pig and poultry rearing. These are typically decided by business processes rather than particular sectors and are decided on a case-by-case basis.
You could qualify for up to 90%* relief from the CCL through a Climate Change Agreement (CCA) if you agree to challenging targets for improving energy efficiency or reducing carbon emissions. For more information on CCAs and to see whether your business is eligible, visit the Environment Agency website.
*90% relief applies only to electricity supplies. Gas supplies may qualify for a maximum of 65% relief.
What you need to do
If you are eligible for relief, send a completed PP11 Supplier Certificate to us:
VAT-CCL Compliance Section
You will also need to send the completed the PP10 paperwork to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Learn about the government's VAT guidelines.
Please note: PP11s cannot be transferred from one supplier to another. You will need to ensure that an updated PP11 is submitted to the new supplier to ensure you continue getting relief.
For further information contact HM Revenue & Customs by visiting www.hmrc.gov.uk