Energy price support for businesses to be extended...

By Pamela Phillips.

Plans to extend energy bill support to non-domestic energy customers have been announced by the Government but the details are yet to be established.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) provides a discount on gas and electricity unit prices for non-domestic customers, including businesses, public sector organisations (eg schools, hospitals and care homes) and voluntary sector organisations.

The scheme was introduced in October 2022 for six months and is available to customers on a non-domestic energy contract who are:

  • on existing fixed price contracts agreed on or after 1 December 2021

  • signing new fixed-price contracts

  • on out-of-contract, variable or deemed rates

  • on flexible or similar contracts.

EBRS plays a key role in protecting business energy consumers over the winter period by capping the predicted MWh price for electricity and gas for businesses to £211/MWh and £75/MWh respectively.

According to CBI’s Chief Policy Director, Matthew Fell, the EBRS has been “crucial in cushioning firms from spiralling energy costs”, but he also warns that the continuing high cost of energy is dominating business decisions.

“There are no easy answers in all this, but the Government will have to keep supporting the most vulnerable firms to help them stay competitive, to build resilience and in some cases to avoid collapse. On average, firms expect their bills to more than double next April,” Fell added.

The current energy price cap is scheduled to increase from April 2023, but a recent announcement from BEIS has advised that support comparable to EBRS will be extended to non-domestic energy customers beyond April.

In addition, the Government will provide a fixed payment of £150 to all non-domestic consumers that are not on the gas grid or use alternative fuels, with top-up payments for large users of heating oil based on usage.

Details of the scheme are available here but there is no current detail on what business support will be available beyond 2023.