Energy crisis prices gas electric utilities bills tariffs

A newly unveiled government support package for businesses in the UK is expected to slash energy bills by around half their expected level this winter.

Announced today, the Energy Bill Relief Scheme will fix gas and electricity prices for all firms for six months from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. This is 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. The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November.

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.”

Amid concerns businesses would have to wait longer than households for assistance, the government has also promised to backdate any delays.

ACS chief executive James Lowman welcomed the news: “This will provide a lifeline for the UK’s local shops, enabling them to keep trading and serving their communities,” he said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on longer term solutions to the energy crisis facing convenience stores and other businesses, including ways to incentivise investment in energy efficient technology.”

Under the scheme, wholesale prices are expected to be fixed for all non-domestic energy customers at £211 per MWh electricity and £75 per MWh for gas.

Firms do not need to contact suppliers as the discount will automatically be applied to bills.