Business energy profile classes explained

Understanding what profile class your business falls into

While you are comparing the most competitive commercial energy deals using Utility Saving Expert's free online tool, you'll probably see references to profile classes.

Your business will fall into a specific profile class and it's important to know which one so that you fully understand your options when comparing your business electricity quotes.

An electricity profile class reflects how much electricity your business consumes and when your business uses that energy. These energy consumption patterns, together with your load profile, are used to determine which classification is given to your business.

In the UK, there are 9 classifications for electricity customers. These run from 01-08, as well as 00, and each is slightly different.

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Profile Class 01: Domestic Unrestricted Customers

This class is intended for domestic use, but if you run a micro-business from home or work as a sole trader, this profile class might be what your business uses. Most household consumers will fall into this category and it's generally suited to energy customers that don't require a tailored electricity plan, but it's worth keeping your options open and choosing the plan that will provide you with the best value for money.

Profile Class 02: Domestic Economy 7 Customers

The second profile class is for household consumers with Economy 7 meters. Similarly to profile class 01, if you run a very small business from home that does not use much energy, you might pay a domestic rate whilst operating on a differential tariff with an Economy 7 meter. This helps you reduce electricity costs with cheaper rates when you use electricity at off-peak periods during the night.

Profile Class 03: Non-Domestic Unrestricted Customers

This profile class suits non-domestic uses and is intended for small businesses that are not electricity-intensive. If you can run your business using relatively little energy and don't have constant energy usage patterns that larger businesses tend to have, you will probably fall into this category.

Profile Class 04: Non-Domestic Economy 7 Customers

Designed for similarly sized small businesses to those in profile class 03, this profile class is for business customers that have an Economy 7 meter installed. This enables businesses to run cost-effectively with cheaper rates for using energy during off-peak hours, which is particularly helpful if some business processes can be automated to run during the night.

Maximum Demand (MD) customers

Businesses that fall within the profile classes from 05-08 are commonly referred to as Maximum Demand (MD) customers. This enables businesses of this size to their measure their energy consumption and to recognise periods of peak energy demand.

If your business sits within this category, your meter will allow you to measure peak demand through the Peak Load Factor (LF). This is the key metric you need to calculate the percentage of energy consumed in relation to the amount of energy you would have used if the maximum demand was maintained.

It's a useful way to measure the energy your business needs for any given period in terms that are unique to your business' energy consumption patterns, and it is also used to differentiate between the profile classes for Maximum Demand (MD) customers.

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Profile Class 05: Non-Domestic Maximum Demand Customers

Customers in this profile class will have a Peak Load Factor of less than 20%, which means they use the least of all the Maximum Demand business energy customers.

Profile Class 06: Non-Domestic Maximum Demand Customers

In this profile class, business customers will have a Peak Load Factor between that sits between the range of 20% and 30%.

Profile Class 07: Non-Domestic Maximum Demand Customers

For class 07, businesses will have a Peak Load Factor that fluctuates nearer the top end of the scale between 30% and 40%.

Profile Class 08: Non-Domestic Maximum Demand Customers

Pushing towards the upper end of the scale, businesses that are energy-intensive will fall into this profile class, which is for customers with a Peak Load Factor over 40%.

Profile Class 00: Peak load usage of electricity above 100 kW

Finally, this category is for the very largest business electricity users. If your business is categorised as profile class 00, it also indicates that your business already uses a half-hourly metering system.

Industry changes rolled out from 1 April 2017 affected how energy consumption is recorded and billed for business customers by moving them to half-hourly metering systems. This was a result of the Balancing and Settlement Code called P272 and the changes apply to businesses in profile classes 05 to 08 with an advanced meter installed.

P272 moves large power users in the UK towards the smart energy market and helps business customers manage energy usage consumption through half-hourly (HH) electricity metering. These meters transmit regular electricity readings to energy suppliers.

To find out if your business uses half-hourly metering and to check your profile class, look at the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN), also referred to as a Supply Number or sometimes referred to as S number. This is usually printed on the first page of your business electricity bill. The profile class is indicated by the first two numbers after the letter S.

When to contact your business energy supplier

Energy suppliers are responsible for ensuring their business customers in profile classes 05 to 08 are supplied through advanced meters. If you are concerned that your supplier has not provided your business with an advanced meter, it's a good idea to get in touch with them to arrange this.

Another reason to contact your energy company is if you think your business has been placed in the wrong profile class. If you do so, it's a good idea to keep a record of all communications in case you need to raise a complaint with your supplier.

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