Through a new government Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (including all UK businesses, the voluntary sector like charities and the public sector such as schools and hospitals) whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices. This support will be equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households.
It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts. It will apply to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, running for an initial 6 month period for all non-domestic energy users. The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November.
As with the Energy Price Guarantee for households, customers do not need to take action or apply to the scheme to access the support. Support (in the form of a p/kWh discount) will automatically be applied to bills.
To administer support, the government has set a Supported Wholesale Price – expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter – which is a discounted price per unit of gas and electricity. This is equivalent to the wholesale element of the Energy Price Guarantee for households. It includes the removal of green levies paid by non-domestic customers who receive support under the scheme.
The level of price reduction for each business will vary depending on their contract type and circumstances.
Responding to the release of further details from Government on the energy support plan for business, Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “For months we have been calling for Government intervention to help businesses with eye watering energy bills. This support package is significant and will ease the cost pressures that have been piling up on businesses.
“It will allow many firms that were facing closure, or having to lay off staff or reduce output, to keep going through the winter.
“But the exact level of support will vary greatly from business to business depending on the detail of its contract, so some will inevitably do better than others.
“We now need action to get this saving passed onto business as soon as possible – every day will put some firms closer to the edge and they cannot hang on much longer.
“There must also be effective legal oversight to ensure no firms that are due this money miss out.
“For those that will benefit, six months support is not enough to make plans for the future.
“We understand there are a range of unknowns for the Government in looking ahead, but without further reassurance very few firms will make plans to invest or grow.
“Some businesses will still struggle to meet their bills despite this government intervention, the Chancellor must prioritise those firms in his mini-budget on Friday.
“There are a range of other challenges that must be addressed including labour shortages, supply chain disruption, and rising raw material costs.
“To truly revitalise our economy for the difficult months ahead then there must be a clear long-term plan that gives business the confidence to grow.”