Unless otherwise stated, all our quotes are presented with Utility Aid’s fees already included. Fortunately these fees are payable directly by the supplier so you don’t need to worry about it.
Q. What is an LOA?
A. An LOA is a Letter of Authority you sign giving the broker your permission to obtain data from your supplier. It is required under Data Protection laws. Without it, your current supplier will not provide the information needed to tender your requirement.
BEWARE. Many unscrupulous brokers ask you to sign an LOA that allows them to sign you into legally binding contracts without your knowledge. BEWARE.
We are very sensitive to ethical practices. We serve the third and fourth sectors and appreciate the value every penny brings to the amazing organisations we work with. However, it never ceases to amaze us, how often organisations are taken advantage of by unscrupulous brokers. We believe that brokers whose LOAs are deliberately worded so as to deceive and demand exclusivity are extremely unethical.
Because we are a reputable organisation, we are registered with the Ombudsman Service Scheme. Ofgem has announced that ALL brokers MUST be registered with the Ombudsman Services to allow brokers to deal with energy suppliers, and to discourage illegal bedroom brokers from operating.
So, we thought it would be helpful to explain the purpose of an LOA, why it is needed, and what you should and shouldn't sign...
- When you appoint an energy broker to act on your behalf, it is a legal requirement for the broker to obtain from you, a signed Letter of Authority, otherwise known as an LOA.
- In providing the LOA, you are enabling the energy broker to access information from your existing suppliers including consumption data, contract end dates and contract prices.
- The energy broker will normally provide a template of the LOA for you to put onto your own letterhead, sign and return. Please note, that both EON and British Gas (BG) require specific LOAs over and above the broker's LOA. Dependent on who your energy suppliers are, you may need to sign all three LOAs.
- Without an LOA, an energy broker will not be able to obtain details of your current annual consumption or other contract information, such as the contract end date (CED), from your existing supplier. This means they will not be able to provide you with accurate prices. If they tell you otherwise, they are wrong. Perhaps more importantly, incorrect information can lead to delayed start dates or even failed contracts, which is costly to you, the customer.
- The LOA is a legal requirement, as your information is protected under the Data Protection Act. As such, your supplier is not able to disclose this information without your express permission.
- If you sign an exclusive LOA then other brokers will not be able to compete for your business throughout the validity period of the LOA. This means that you will end up paying higher prices than you need to as the unethical broker will trap you and only provide high-priced contracts. Guaranteed!
- If you sign an LOA that authorises the energy broker to enter into contracts on your behalf, then you are taking the decision-making away from your organisation and giving it to a third party. This is akin to giving the keys to the chicken shed to the big bad fox. Nothing good will ever come of this!
Please. Always read the LOA carefully! Our advice?
DO NOT SIGN an LOA that is "exclusive". Good energy brokers don't need exclusivity as they aren't afraid of competition.
DO NOT SIGN an LOA that allows your energy broker to "enter into contracts on your behalf". Ethical brokers don't take decisions that impact your business. They only take decisions that impact their own.
We spend countless hours helping customers through the process.
If you would like to talk more about LOAs, please call any one of our offices
. We are here to help.
Q. Do you have OJEU Accreditation?
A. Yes, Utility Aid has its own framework, OJEU reference 2015-078688 applies.
Q. Does the LOA cover both Electricity and Gas?
A. The LOA applies to the Broker/Supplier and not the meter. The Broker will use the same LOA even if you have Gas with one supplier and Electricity with another. Unless of course, you are contracted to EON and/or BG, in which case you might need to complete all three LOAs.
Q. Why do you need to know my contract end date?
A. Suppliers need to know when your existing agreement ends, as the date a new contract starts has an impact on the price. For example, Gas prices for contracts starting one month ahead, are usually different from contracts starting six months ahead.
Q. Why do suppliers need to know the annual quantity of energy I use?
A. Prices quoted generally depend on the volume consumed. For example, an organization with an annual consumption of 100,000 units will typically be paying more per unit, than one that consumes 300,000 units per annum.
Q. What do I do if my organisation doesn't have letterhead?
A. Copy the template onto plain paper and add your organisation's details to the top where appropriate. If you have a company stamp, you should also apply this.
Q. Does the Energy Broker need exclusivity to obtain the best deal for us?
A. The simple answer is no. If an Energy Broker demands exclusivity then you need to ask yourself why. Our advice? Change broker.
Q. Does the Energy Broker need to have the authority to enter contracts on our behalf?
A. No and the energy broker should never be allowed to place contracts on your behalf. Ask yourself this- in any other circumstances, would you ever let someone else sign you into a contract without you knowing about it?
Q. How long is an LOA valid?
A. Suppliers normally permit LOAs to be valid for one to three years from the date of signing.