Some recent research showed that only 25% of SMEs use a TPI (broker) to help them find the best deal from an energy supplier. Why so low? The issue appears to be trust. The sad truth is that people do not trust the energy industry, either suppliers or TPIs. What is even more sad is that those of us who work in the industry completely understand why. Some energy suppliers and TPIs are either incompetent, dishonest, or both.
We have seen clients who have been treated very badly by their energy supplier, and feel very frustrated that the issues cannot be resolved quickly. Usually, this costs them money, at least in the medium term until the problems are resolved. We have also seen clients ripped off by unscrupulous brokers, who have hidden large commissions inside supplier quotes, but who have done little or no helpful work for the client. The worst kind are those who repeatedly phone you, then persuade you to sign up with your existing supplier again. How is that helping? We would never advise anyone to agree to a long contract (3-5 years) unless they are 100% sure they are getting a great deal. A long contract is usually in the interests of the TPI, not the client.
The result is that businesses are too scared to change supplier because they think it will cause problems. Others decide to sort out their energy without help from a TPI, again worried about being ripped off. However, the ‘do it yourself’ strategy is often time consuming, and may not get you the best price.
What’s the solution? Of course, we would say that you need a knowledgeable, trustworthy TPI! How do you know if they are one of the ‘good guys’? Here are a few ways to check.
- Do they have clients who stay with them year after year?
- Can they give you a reference from someone in your line of business?
- Is the TPI a member of the UIA?
- Will they take the time to help you with problems, even if they can’t sign you up to a new contract anytime soon?
- Does their company name start with a ‘B’ and end with ‘Energy’? Only joking!
We recognise that even the ‘good’ energy suppliers have occasional problems, but we would never recommend a supplier who has very poor customer service even if they offer cheap prices. The best results come from a good relationship between the client, the TPI and the supplier. That way, the client trusts the TPI to sort out any problems with the supplier and then let you know when they’ve done it, and how big a refund you can expect.
If you are willing to put us to the test, get in touch. Maybe we can restore your faith in the energy industry.