Coronavirus: Energy Guidance for Small Businesses

Official Guidance from Ofgem for Small Businesses Looking to Manage Energy Supply

If coronavirus has impacted your finances and caused you to struggle with your energy bills, help is available. The UK government has implemented measures to support you through the pandemic, ensuring your supply is not affected.

In this blog, we’ll look at the measures available to small business energy consumers.

What can I do if I’m struggling with my business energy bills?

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, there are many guides published by the government on the financial support available. You can click here to find out which support you could access.

A quick summary of some support available:

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants, including a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, (CBILS), available through participating lenders
  • The right to apply for staff to get up to 80% of pay if they can’t work, with some contributions from employers (commonly known as the ‘Furlough’ scheme)
  • Grants of up to £2,500 per month, for at least 3 months, for the self-employed who are unable to work, on the provision of valid documentation
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) refunds

The government website provides more comprehensive guides for financial support for businesses. Click here for more information.

For further advice, visit the Citizens Advice Small Business Guide or alternatively, contact the Financial Conduct Authority.

Should I stop my direct debit payments if I’m struggling to pay my bills?

If you are having payment difficulties, it’s something your supplier should know quickly.

If you decide to cancel your Direct Debit, you could incur credit penalties, fines and other extra costs to your business.

Do I have the option to suspend my bills?

Your supplier should always be made aware of your circumstances. Your Business Account Manager can arrange this for you.

If you’ve contacted a supplier and an arrangement cannot be reached, you can use the financial guidance and Coronavirus support packages available to businesses on the government website.

However, there is a much quicker and less time-consuming method of lowering your business energy costs: switch supplier.

If you haven’t switched business energy supplier for a while, you’re very likely to be offered a cheaper renewal with favourable rates, including cheaper standing charges.

To get started, you can use our 10-second price comparison website to compare business energy quotes from a range of business energy suppliers.

Will I have to keep paying my standing charge while my business is closed?

Yes. However, some suppliers may be able to reach an agreement with you during the current pandemic. They may account for your business closure and arrange better terms for you.

If you’re a customer, you’ll receive a dedicated Agent Support Package. Your dedicated Business Account Manager will be able to arrange contact with your business energy supplier.

A much quicker, and more feasible option is to check if switching your business energy tariff or your energy supplier will help you pay less for your energy.

If you haven’t switched for a while, you’re probably going to get a cheaper renewal with favourable pricing, including cheaper standing charges.

But if you’re still struggling because of COVID-19, see how you can make significant savings on energy with our guide on how you can make significant savings on your business energy during Coronavirus.

Can I ask to be disconnected myself to save money?

This method will incur a cost for disconnecting your supply. On top of this, there’ll also be another charge for when you decide to reconnect your supply in the future.

Your circumstances should be known to your supplier and contacting them to provide information is something our Business Account Managers are able to do on your behalf.

How can I save on my energy bills?

You’ll definitely want to save on your energy bills if your business is closed. Basic energy saving principles which have long-lasting savings benefits for your business will help.

We have published a guide on some proven energy saving methods which you can read here.

Who supplies my business energy? What should I do if I don’t know?

Finding out who your commercial gas and electric suppliers are might not be as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, the information isn’t to hand and can complicate billing for your business. This isn’t something you want if you’re struggling anyway.

Fortunately, there are a range of actions you can take to find out about your energy supply. Read our extensive guide here for more information.

Protect yourself from scams

Sadly, there has been an increase in the number of phishing attempts made online. You should make sure to only use verifiable and trusted sources of information about COVID-19.

Scams have started to become more intricate, resulting in fake online guidance, text messages and insurance or compensation policies.

If you do receive any unsolicited contact through calls or emails about the coronavirus, particularly if it involves your finances, don’t click on any links or hand over any sensitive information.

The government website covers all official matters relating to coronavirus. This should be where you go for verification of information or any activity you’re intending to take.

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