Two-thirds of larger businesses believe the Energy Bills Discount Scheme, due to come in next month – won’t go far enough to support them, a poll by supplier nPower has found.
nPower Business Solutions’ annual Business Energy Tracker seeks 100 big commercial users’ views on energy’s place among boardroom concerns. The 2023 figures show it higher than last year, with 91% rating issues around bills and energy use as ‘concerning’ or ‘very concerning’.
Two years into record prices, 64% of organisations see energy costs as their biggest challenge over the next twelve months. Over 70% see the rises continuing into 2024.
75% of businesses want greater incentives from the government to reduce energy demand, respondents told pollsters.
A silver lining from the poll is that 44% believe high prices will focus directors’ minds on carrying out sound Net Zero strategies. Bills at triple pre-Ukraine war levels or worse are pushing sustainability to the top of C-level agendas, the poll found.
Brought in last October as a 6-month protection for firms, the second phase of the scheme continues for a year from next month, albeit at reduced levels.
Organisations outside high-consuming categories such as cement, glass and other process industries will have costs capped, at a projected cost to tax-payers of no more than £5.5 billion.
Wholesale gas prices on world markets have almost halved in the six months of the EBDS, back to levels just before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Energy is the top concern for UK businesses for the second year running”, nBS Chief Operating Officer Anthony Ainsworth observed.
“The uncertainty over the past 12 months has naturally had an impact on business confidence, which is why they need policy clarity and consistency to help them plan ahead”.
“Despite such a challenging year, businesses still back Net Zero”, the nBS boss noted. “They recognise the environmental, commercial and reputational benefits it can bring”.