UK Government outlines plans to help cut energy bills for businesses
New support for households, businesses and public sector organisations facing rising energy bills in Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been unveiled today.
Through a new Government Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the UK Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers 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 six-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.
A parallel scheme, based on the same criteria and offering comparable support, but recognising the different market fundamentals, will be established in Northern Ireland.
A review into the operation of the scheme will be published in three months to inform decisions on future support after March 2023. The review will focus in particular on identifying the most vulnerable non-domestic customers and how the Government will continue assisting them with energy costs.
Prime Minister Liz Truss said: “I understand the huge pressure businesses, charities and public sector organisations are facing with their energy bills, which is why we are taking immediate action to support them over the winter and protect jobs and livelihoods.
“As we are doing for consumers, our new scheme will keep their energy bills down from October, providing certainty and peace of mind.
“At the same time, we are boosting Britain’s homegrown energy supply so we fix the root cause of the issues we are facing and ensure greater energy security for us all.”
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We have stepped in to stop businesses collapsing, protect jobs, and limit inflation.
“And with our plans to boost home-grown energy supply, we will bring security to the sector, growth to the economy and secure a better deal for consumers.”
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said the announcement will be very welcome news for businesses across Glasgow who have been hammered by the very rapid increase in energy costs.
He added: “Energy prices remain one of the biggest expenses for businesses and the continued price rises were putting what would otherwise be very success firms under a huge amount of pressure.
“The recovery from the impact of the pandemic is still very fragile and whilst this is a welcome development it remains only one of a number of costs rises which businesses are having to navigate.
“Staff shortages, inflation and supply chain issues are all massive barriers which businesses are facing so whilst we are encouraged that Government are taking this action to address the energy costs, we still require further movement to address the overall cost of operating to help businesses thrive.”