ECA has welcomed the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, announced by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Jacob Rees Mogg to provide support for businesses facing sharp rises in their energy bills.
The support includes discounts on wholesale gas and electricity prices for businesses, equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee for households announced by PM Liz Truss last week.
However, ECA has warned that immediate action is needed to prevent a shock to businesses when the scheme ends in March 2023. SMEs in the electrotechnical and engineering services sector are especially vulnerable to price volatility and need confidence to plan ahead.
ECA Director of Workforce and Public Affairs Andrew Eldred says: “This morning’s announcement will provide welcome relief for an anxious electrotechnical sector which has already been hit hard by escalating material and labour costs.
“Our sector relies heavily on forward planning and will be desperate to know how electrotechnical businesses will be supported after 31 March 2023, when these measures fall away.
“While this short-term measure gives us breathing space, we are eager to hear whether electrotechnical SMEs will continue to qualify for support in the same way as the hospitality sector.
“However, we remain deeply concerned that a focus on extracting more natural and shale gas will bring no short-term relief from the high cost of energy for UK businesses.”
The government has set a Supported Wholesale Price – expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter – which is a discounted price per unit of gas and electricity. This is equivalent to the wholesale element of the Energy Price Guarantee for households. It includes the removal of green levies paid by non-domestic customers who receive support under the scheme.