Free Resources for Businesses Struggling with Energy Bills
The last months of 2022 revealed themselves to be quite challenging for a large number of businesses across the country. Spiking energy bills are threatening to leave thousands of them insolvent.
If your business is struggling to pay its energy bills, a number of free solutions are at your disposal to help you weather the storm.
- Grants and Funding
- Get in Touch with your Energy Supplier
- Switch Providers
- Check if you Beneficiate from the Energy Bille Relief Scheme
- Useful Contacts
Grants and Funding
The first thing to do is make sure you’re not spending unnecessary cash on your energy bills. Government, local authorities, and even private suppliers might help you and your business achieve better energy efficiency.
Public Grants and Funding
UK Government Grants
£5bn worth of grants is currently available for businesses to go more energy-efficient. The list is regularly updated as new funding becomes available.
Your local council might provide energy-efficiency funding as well as energy-saving grants.
Energy Suppliers Support Funds
Your energy supplier may offer energy-efficiency grants and schemes. Most of the main energy supplier groups offer grants to their customers:
British Gas Support Fund
Once you have sought advice, the British Gas Energy Trust may be able to provide a grant if you are struggling to pay off gas or electricity debt. Please note grants over £1,500 will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
Bulb Energy Fund
Bulb partnered with Citizens Advice Plymouth to offer support to eligible members who need help with their energy costs. The Energy Fund is available to members across the country.
EDF Energy Customer Support Fund
EDF Energy offers advice and support to people who are struggling to pay their energy bills. To access grants, register for Priority Services and follow the guide.
E.ON Next Energy Fund
The aim of the E.ON Next Energy Fund is to help E.ON Next customers who are experiencing financial hardship and struggling by helping you pay your energy bills or providing replacement appliances.
Octopus Assist Funs
Octopus has set up a £15 million Octo Assist Fund as part of their campaign to help those worried about paying for their energy.
Ovo Energy Fund
Ovo Energy offers a number of solutions for their struggling customers, from payments plans and schemes to free and independent advice
Scottish Power Hardship Fund
ScottishPower has set up a Hardship Fund to help customers get their energy payments under control by clearing or reducing arrears by crediting a customer’s SP energy account.
Shell Energy Support Fund
Shell has set up a £20 million support fund dedicated to their most vulnerable customers. The supplier also offers repayment plans and installments for future bills.
Get in Touch with your Energy Supplier
Your own energy provider might be the best interlocutor to discuss and find solutions to gutting energy bills. Whether it is about complaining about your bills, or finding solutions, keeping in touch with your supplier is essential.
Set Up a Payment Plan
You can get some short-term relief on your bills by contacting your energy provider and setting up a payment plan directly with them.
You’ll pay fixed installments over an agreed-upon period of time. While short-term, this might help you hold on long enough to get a grant or funding.
During this conversation, you will need to:
- Explain the reasons you can’t pay what is asked,
- Consider how much your business can realistically pay in installments,
Prove you can pay for your ongoing energy usage while adding something towards your debt each month.
Issue a Formal Complaint
If you feel like you are being overcharged or issued faulty equipment, you can complain directly to your provider. Be aware you will need supporting evidence to support your claim if you expect your request to go through: those can take the form of photos, copies of your bills or your contract, or existing correspondence.
If you engage in a complaint procedure, it is essential you conserve any written correspondence with your supplier, along with dates. This can prove to be useful to assert your rights.
Once you have gathered sufficient evidence, you can complain by phone, post, or e-mail. Most energy providers list their complaint procedure directly on their website, along with dedicated contact information.
Your supplier has to send you a decision letter within 8 weeks, explaining how they decided to deal with your request.
If your original contract ended but the supplier kept your contract rolling, you might be on an out-of-contract tariff.
This might be the case if your original contract’s end terms are not specified, or if your contract doesn’t renew automatically.
If this is the case, it might be interesting to compare rates, try to renegotiate your contract, or switch providers once you approach your current contract’s end.
Check if you Beneficiate from the Energy Bille Relief Scheme
The UK Government intends to provide energy bill relief for non-domestic customers in the UK. Discounts will be applied to energy usage between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.
This support is available to everyone on a non-domestic contract including businesses and charities.
The government-supported price has been fixed at
- £211 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for electricity
- £75 per MWh for gas
For fixed contracts, the discount will reflect the difference between the government-supported price and the relevant wholesale price for the day the contract was agreed.
For variable, deemed and all other contracts, the discount will reflect the difference between the government-supported price and relevant wholesale price, but be subject to a ‘maximum discount’ (£345/MWh for electricity and £91/MWh for gas).
This discount is automatic and doesn’t require you to apply to beneficiate from it. Read the official Guide to the Energy Relieve Scheme.
Founded in 1935, Citizen’s Advice is a national charity supported by 20,000 trained volunteers who provides a range of consumer advice services, including for debt.
Guidance is available face to face, phone, and online chat.
Citizen’s Advice are a well established and well run organisation whose support spans a variety of areas beyond debt, including legal, consumer and housing.They are free, confidential, impartial and independent.
Call their Adviceline (England) on 0800 144 8848
Advicelink (Wales) – 0800 7002 2020
Business Debtline helps self-employed and small businesses with debt. They offer fact sheets and template letters that can be used for a range of debt situations, along with guidance from webchat and email.
They can offer:
- Guides, fact sheets, budgeting tools, and sample letters to help you write to your creditors
- Advice from expert debt advisers who are supportive and trained to a high standard
- Support that means over 50% of the businesses they speak to continue to trade
Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation – working to address the climate emergency.
A respected and trusted voice on energy efficiency and clean energy solutions, we continue to work towards a smart, decarbonised, decentralised energy system.
Ofgem is Great Britain’s independent energy regulator. They are responsible for:
- working with government, industry, and consumer groups to deliver a net-zero economy, at the lowest cost to consumers;
- ensuring fair treatment for all consumers, especially the vulnerable;
- enabling competition and innovation, which drives down prices and results in new products and services for consumers.