Energy-intensive companies in selected sectors are eligible from today for twelve more months of cash support from public funds.
Whitehall is holding out possible savings of as much as 20% against predicted wholesale prices, as today sees the opening for firms to register for its Energy Bills Discount Scheme, which replaced last year’s more fulsome package.
Operators of Britain’s scores of heat networks can also apply from today for support to protect their customers from higher bills.
Ceramics and textiles are among the range of sectors presented by ministers as benefitting. Of special concern are companies facing inescapably high energy use to deliver their goods, but who are also exposed to international competition, preventing them from raising prices to cover increased costs.
Savings to big users of heat and power under the old scheme are running at £ 5.9 billion to date, they calculate. With wholesale electricity and gas prices dropping 20% and more in recent months, ministers say that afflicted sectors in particular still need the benefit of subsidises.
Amanda Solloway, minister for energy consumers & affordability, urged companies in high-use sectors to check their eligibility on www.gov.uk for support under the revised Energy Bills Discount Scheme.
“We’re beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel for global energy prices as Putin’s grip on the market weakens, said Solloway, “but our vital energy and trade intensive industries remain uniquely exposed to these challenges”.
Discounts could be reflected in bills from as soon as June, with support backdated to 1 April. This could save some around 20% on predicted wholesale energy costs.
For ceramics manufacturers, industry spokesperson Rob Flello responded: “We welcome the government recognising the difficulties we and other energy intensive industries are facing. We look forward to a smooth application process that recognises the variety of corporate structures amongst energy intensive businesses.” Full details of support for energy intensive firms can be found here.
Heat networks supporting domestic customers can also now receive new, sector-specific support to make sure households do not face disproportionately higher bills, compared to customers supported by the Energy Price Guarantee. Heat suppliers will need to apply for this rate and are legally obliged to pass on the discount to their customers.
Finally, only two days remain for big users of kerosene – farmers, hotels, schools, hospitals and some charities – to seek top-ups starting at £750 under the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment scheme. Applications under Organisations have until 28 April to apply for this support via gov.uk.
A minority of those eligible will also need to apply for this extra support by 28 April if they have not received payments automatically through an electricity supplier.