What is a Third Party Intermediary or TPI?

At the 2018 Energy Awards, amber energy was awarded with the title of TPI of the Year – beating out over 3,000 competitors.

But one of the most common questions we get is “what is a Third-Party Intermediary” closely followed up with “how does a TPI help me”?  

Well, first things first, a Third-Party intermediary (TPI) is an organisation or individual that can provide you with expert advice – in our case energy management - in order to help you get the best deals and services for your specific requirements.

It’s very common for energy procurement to be carried out through a TPI, as they can use their markets knowledge and industry connections to achieve better rates on the wholesale cost of energy.

Is a Third-Party Intermediary the same as an Energy Broker?

Yes, all energy brokers – including switching websites – who interact with another company’s energy either through advice, procurement or management are considered to be a TPI service.  

In fact, an energy broker or a TPI can be more than just an energy procurement, although that is typically the main service provided. TPIs can also offer additional products like identifying and implementing energy efficiency measures as well as providing your company with energy management services.

Do TPI’s charge for their service?

Yes, a TPI will always charge for their service.

There are several different ways they can supply their fee - either as a flat rate, a price per trade or as an indirect charge which is added to your bill. The latter fee type can be hard to understand and is often tied into the price you pay per unit, which means the more you use the more their service costs.

If a TPI claims that their service is free, then it is almost always an indirect charge. If this is the case, we’ve put together a list of questions to ask your TPI in order to find out if you’re getting a good deal or not.

Are all Third Party Intermediaries the same?

No. Some TPIs have select partners that they work with and therefore will not approach all suppliers, while others are completely independent and will consider the whole market in order to find the best possible rates.

Similarly, their pricing structure, trading knowledge, industry experience and capacity ability will all differ between TPIs. Some TPIs could just be a one-man show, while others could have dozens or hundreds of experts working for them.

It’s also important to note that not all offers are presented in the same way. For example, if you are using multiple TPIs then some may present you with the full costs, while others exclude their fee or produce a pass-through contract to make the unit rate look significantly lower.

Never accept a contract unless you fully understand the terms and the pricing breakdown.

Is there a set duration for contracts set up by TPIs?

No, there’s no set duration for contracts. However, most contracts will be set up for a fixed term of typically 1, 2, 3 or 5 years, but this will change between TPIs, suppliers and your requirements. Some TPIs will be able to offer better rates for longer fixed terms, but you should always be clear on how long you want to be locked in.

You should also be aware of any termination fees in place with the TPI and the supplier if you choose to end the contract before the fixed term is up.

Is amber energy a TPI?

Yes, as mentioned above we have been awarded TPI of the Year by Energy Awards 2018.

We are a complete energy management consultancy, which includes acting as a fully independent TPI – helping to get you the best deals with suppliers who exactly fit your needs. We are always transparent with our costs, showing you exactly how much you’ll be spending on your energy and how much we’ll be charging.

 

 

FAQJoe Hickman