Energy-intensive businesses and heat network operators have until the end of the month to apply for government support that could see their wholesale energy bills slashed by as much as a fifth.
Consumer Energy Minister Amanda Solloway called on eligible businesses to act now to benefit from the support available through the Energy Bills Discount Scheme. Companies have until July 25 to apply, with discounts applied to their bills until April next year.
The scheme was put in place to keep costs down by offering a higher rate of support for those using significant amounts of energy to deliver their services and goods – such as ceramic and textile firms.
These companies are exposed to strong international competition, meaning they can’t raise their prices to cover the increase in costs they’ve faced.
Minister Solloway also issued a reminder to heat network operators that they have a legal requirement to apply, to ensure a fair deal for their customers who would otherwise face higher energy bills compared to those covered by the energy price cap. If no action is taken, they could face a fine of up to £5,000.
Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability Amanda Solloway said:
Today marks one month to go for businesses and heat network operators to apply for support that could cut their energy bills by as much as a fifth – I would urge all of those who haven’t already to set time aside, check they are eligible, and get their details registered.
Energy prices are falling but we will continue to stand by businesses and do all we can to help and make sure they remain competitive in a challenging market, as we have done over the winter.
Rob Flello, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said:
Energy costs have dominated many conversations with our members over the past year, and remain a concern. Therefore, we appreciate that the government has recognised the issues faced by the UK ceramics sector and other energy intensive industries.
We are strongly advising our members to apply, even if their current energy prices are below the activation thresholds, to help cushion any future price hikes ahead of or during next winter. We are also highlighting the process and its deadline in the hope that it will be a smooth process.
Businesses that become classed as an Energy and Trade Intensive Industry after the window closes, will have 90 days from the first date they can apply to submit an application for support.
Businesses in ceramics and textiles are among a wide range of sectors that have been able to claim further discounts on their bills between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024 – helping deliver on the government’s priority to halve inflation.
So far the government has provided nearly £40 billion to households and businesses to help with their energy bills, which has also helped efforts to bear down on inflation.
Businesses are advised to check GOV.UK as soon as possible to find out their eligibility and what they need to do to apply. Support will be backdated to 1 April and could save some around 20% on predicted wholesale energy costs.
Heat networks with domestic customers can also receive a sector-specific support rate to make sure households do not face disproportionately higher bills compared to customers supported by the Energy Price Guarantee. Heat suppliers are legally required to apply for this support and pass on the discount to their customers.
If heat network operators do not apply for the scheme then enforcement action can be taken. Should a heat supplier fail to undertake any corrective action they may face a penalty of up to £5,000.