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Posted on: 

17 April 2024

Energy payment methods for your business

payment method
When navigating business energy suppliers, choosing the best payment method and contract type is essential for every small business owner. Let’s face it, managing your energy payments should be convenient and hassle-free. You ideally want to choose a payment method that suits your business energy usage, and one that is aligned to your budgeting and cashflow demands. We’re always looking for ways to provide additional support to our customers, so in this article we’ll take a look at some of the different payment methods and how they might benefit your business energy service.
Energy payment options explained 

It’s important to understand which payment type is right for your business, particularly in this challenging economic climate. Most business owners will need to control operating costs but not everyone will be comfortable with the uncertainty of seasonal billing fluctuations. 

fixed payment
Fixed Payment 

With fixed payments, you pay a set amount for your energy usage, normally on a monthly basis. The payment amount is typically calculated on your current and estimated future usage and divided into equal instalments spread across the year. Payment is typically collected by Direct Debit. This payment method is particularly useful for businesses that want to better predict their outgoings and maintain some control over their energy costs. Please note, with SmartestEnergy Business, fixed payments are often referred to as a Budget Plan. 

variable direct debit
Variable Payment 

The opposite to fixed, with variable payment you simply pay for what you have used, again collected by Direct Debit, on a monthly but sometimes quarterly basis. This means your billing will encounter seasonal fluctuations which for many businesses mean increased costs over the winter period when energy usage is typically higher. If you are comfortable forecasting for this uncertainty and can budget accordingly then this could be your preferred payment type. 


Traditionally know as a prepay service, this method is where you pay an amount of credit in advance for your energy service. You then use the credit for your energy supply. This method offers the highest level of control over how much you pay, by topping-up an amount that you budget for on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It can also enable you to remain on supply and repay an outstanding balance. In order to benefit from a prepay service, customers normally have to be on a prepay-enabled smart meter. 

Other payment methods

BACS/CHAPS – BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services) payments are electronic transfers between UK bank accounts. BACS offers the flexibility to make a payment by your preferred date, though they require manually processing in the first place, and can take up to 2-3 working days to clear. CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) are a faster means of payment, arriving either instantly or the same day. Some suppliers may charge for such electronic payments as there is associated cost for administration. 

Debit/Credit Card – You may prefer to pay your energy bills via a debit or credit card. Similar to BACS/CHAPS payments, this method grants control over outgoings but requires the time and effort to initiate the payment (and remember to do so). Some suppliers may again charge for such electronic payments as there is associated cost for administration. 

Direct Debit – this collection method is widely favoured as a simple, secure and convenient ‘pull’ payment method that allows your energy supplier to automatically collect recurring payments. You are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee at all times, which means if a mistake is made, you will automatically be refunded by the bank collecting the payment. 

System change_Teal
Flexible payments with SmartestEnergy Business 

Hopefully this article has helped you to understand some of the different payment methods available to your business. At SmartestEnergy Business, we appreciate that your business circumstances may change from time-to-time, and that’s why our payment options remain flexible to suit. 

For example, if you are currently on a fixed payment (Budget Plan) and feel your monthly payment amount does not reflect your actual usage. Whilst we encourage customers to opt for fixed payment to alleviate the pressure of fluctuating costs, we would be happy to review this for you and if appropriate move your energy service to a variable payment method. 

To discuss which payment method best suits your business, please contact our dedicated Customer Services by email or by phone on 01903 703400 (8.30am-5pm, Mon-Fri). Alternatively, online via the Contact Us section of your SmartWeb account at 

Need help with energy payments? 

We’re here to support your business in any way we can. If you’re having problems paying your business energy bills, please contact us without delay to discuss the options available to you. Further help and advice is available via our blog here : 

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