The Right Spark: How charities and not-for-profit organisations can find their ideal energy supplier

In the bustling landscape of the United Kingdom's energy sector, charities, non-profit organisations, and other similar entities often face unique challenges. Although often treated as business enterprises by suppliers and third parties, these organisations function with a fundamentally different financial ethos, usually relying on donations, grants and voluntary contributions to survive and thrive.

United Gas & Power (UGP) is a leading business energy supplier that recognises this vital distinction and offers affordable utility rates tailored specifically to meet the needs of the charitable sector. Our mission is to help you reduce unnecessary costs so you can focus on achieving your core objectives: serving the community.

However, knowing that you need a better energy deal is just the first step. In this guide, we'll walk you through what to look for when choosing an energy supplier, ensuring your charity gets the best possible service and value.

Understanding Your Energy Needs

The first crucial step is understanding your energy requirements. Keep track of your usage data to assess how much energy you typically consume in a month. Knowing your energy consumption will help you determine which supplier can best accommodate your needs.

Businesses using less than 4,397 kWh/month of gas or 1,000 kWh/month of electricity, including many charities, are typically eligible for reduced VAT on business electricity and gas.

Tax Benefits for Charities

Under the Finance Acts of 1993 and 1997, charities and non-profit organisations can enjoy significant tax benefits if they use energy "otherwise than in the course of furtherance of a business."

If you can show that at least 60% of your energy use is for non-business activities (where there is no charge for services offered or income from voluntary donations), then your organisation can receive all its power supply at a reduced VAT rate of 5% instead of the standard 20%.

Additionally, charities are exempt from the Climate Change Levy (CCL), which further reduces bills by around 5%. Many charities across the UK might be unaware of these exemptions and are therefore potentially overpaying for their energy.

Choosing the Right Energy Supplier

When it comes to selecting an energy supplier, there are key factors you should consider:

  1. Value for Money: Choose a supplier that offers competitive prices, but also consider the wider value proposition, such as excellent customer service and billing accuracy. In the long run, this will save time and other resources.
  2. Transparency: Your supplier should be clear and upfront about its charges. No hidden costs or surprise bills.
  3. Experience with Charities: Look for a supplier with experience serving charities, as they will understand your unique needs and offer bespoke solutions.
  4. Sustainability: In an era of environmental awareness, choosing a supplier that offers green energy solutions could align with your organisation's ethical stance and bolster your reputation.
  5. Account Management: A dedicated account manager that is readily available to handle queries, manage the switching process and provide guidance is vital, especially for charities with multiple sites and the added complexities associated with managing these accounts.

At United Gas & Power, we pride ourselves on all these points, which is why we're the supplier of choice for many of the UK's leading charities.

Read about residential care and support charity "Freeways", one of our recent charity customers, in its transition to renewable power across multiple sites here.

For more case studies showcasing our work across multiple sectors including the charity sector, please visit our case studies homepage.

Finding the right energy supplier is a critical decision for charities. By understanding your energy requirements, being aware of tax benefits, and knowing what to look for in a supplier, you can ensure that your charity gets the best deal.

Remember, at United Gas & Power, we're here for you. We are committed to providing affordable utility rates to charities and non-profit organisations, helping them to save costs and better serve their communities. Contact us today to find out more about how we can support your charity's energy needs on 0800 669 6697.