More UK businesses offered energy bill relief packages

One in 10 businesses believe that national net-zero commitments will fall down the political agenda in that time

The UK Government has today (17 May) unveiled a new relief scheme that will help hundreds of businesses manage the costs of their energy bills.

Most businesses are still receiving financial support on energy bills through the Energy Bill Relief scheme, which has seen more than £7bn in Government funding help businesses cover rising energy costs.

Some businesses, however, require bespoke support packages to subsidise energy purchased from a licence-exempt supplier. These businesses traditionally operate in high-emitting sectors like steel and operate on a small scale or based on a site with a private network.

The new funding is aimed at these businesses – known as Non-Standard Customers – which can now apply to have their bill payments supported from April 2023 to March 2024. Additionally, businesses can also apply for backdated support under the Non-Standard Cases Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

The Government claims that the funding could help businesses save thousands of pounds off their energy bills.

Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability Amanda Solloway said: “This country has a proud industrial history and one that we must protect from the volatile energy market, following Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.

“Energy prices are falling, but we must continue to do all we can to help our vital UK industries – from recycling to manufacturing and steel. That’s why we’re going above and beyond to make sure all businesses can access our support, even if they get their energy via non-standard routes – and I urge these customers to check their eligibility today.”

The Government is urging businesses to check their eligibility via the Government website, as both suppliers of licence-exempt energy and the corporate customers of these suppliers can apply.

Energy Bill Relief

The Energy Bill Relief scheme was introduced last October by then-Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg. Under Rishi Sunak, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt proposed changes to the scheme, stating that the current level of support provided was not sustainable as costs for taxpayers were too high. He confirmed cuts to the scheme back in January

The level of support that British businesses receive for their energy bills from the Government decreased in April, leaving some small firms facing triple the costs on energy bills.

The new scheme allocates no more than £5.5bn over a 12-month period, while the initial iteration had a maximum budget of £18bn over six months.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) published an estimate that some 370,000 small businesses across the UK will need to either shrink or restructure this year as a result of the Government’s cutbacks – or may simply be forced to close. This is equivalent to some 28% of the small businesses in the UK.

Commenting on today’s announcement, the Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology’s (REA) director of policy Frank Gordon said: “The REA welcomes the news that more companies are receiving support through both the EBRS and EBDS non-standard cases scheme.

“It is encouraging to see more businesses than previously, now be supported under EBDS in the future. In the longer term, businesses can make considerable bill savings by moving to renewable energy supplies, such as by generating their own renewable energy onsite.”

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