The UK Government has today extended the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) to support more businesses.
Although many UK-based businesses already have been receiving money off their energy costs automatically via the EBDS, some including steelmakers, recycling plants, manufacturers and large chemical plants require a bespoke support scheme to subsidise energy from a licence-exempt supplier.
Amongst this list, the UK Government said, are businesses that provide critical national infrastructure. Ensuring these businesses are able to access cheaper energy bills could be crucial for the UK.
In the announcement, the government highlighted that “some suppliers can benefit from licence exemptions for various reasons, for example if they operate on a small scale with limited impact on the electricity system. Companies may use a licence-exempt supplier because they are based on a site with a private network or operate directly within the wholesale energy market.”
From today, these companies, commonly recognised as Non-Standard Customers, will be able to apply for help with their bills from April 2023 to March 2024, similar to the support others will receive under the government’s EBDS.
“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,” said the minister for energy consumers and affordability Amanda Solloway.
“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.”
Previous analysis by Cornwall Insight indicated that UK businesses faced electricity bill rises of up to 133% from April compared to last year. This was due to the introduction of the EBDS support scheme in comparison to the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS).
The EBDS government scheme sets electricity at £19.61 per MWh with a price threshold of £302 per MWh and gas at £6.97 per MWh with a price threshold of £107 per MWh. However, this could lead to a major gap in much needed support for British businesses amid the energy crisis.
Recent research from npower Business Solutions via its 2023 Business Energy Tracker indicated that 67% of large businesses believe the EBDS scheme won’t go far enough to support them amid the energy crisis.