Natural gas prices
The energy prices charged both to small and medium, and to large-scale consumers are directly negotiated between consumers and suppliers. Either fixed prices or escalation clauses are agreed.
As natural gas is normally regarded as a substitute for oil, prices are tied to international oil price benchmarks. However, price movements lag oil by three to six months.
Industrial energy prices, i.e. for customers with an annual consumption of more than 400,000 kWh, are mostly individually negotiated by suppliers and customers. Exchange-quoted prices can be a powerful argument in talks on supplier switching.
For small and medium-sized enterprises, which consume less than 100,000 kWh per year, the SME tariff calculator is a good tool that provides quick and robust price comparisons.
It pays to negotiate! Thanks to gas market liberalisation in October 2002 you are free to switch suppliers. There are a number of ways of obtaining favourable terms when bargaining with your new supplier. For instance, you could agree a multi-site deal so that branches with low consumption get the same low energy price as more energy-intensive ones.