Covid-19

Coronavirus and your business energy supply

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s been essential for the energy sector to adhere to some invariable principles focused on consumer benefit: protecting energy users, ensuring energy supply continues smoothly and maintaining the safety of customers and employees.

Here we’ll review some of the guidance from Ofgem on how your business can access additional support from the energy sector if you’ve been affected by COVID-19.

We should all, by now, be aware of what COVID-19 is and its effects. COVID-19 is a new illness which is caused by a new type of Coronavirus. It affects your lungs and airways and makes breathing difficult. It has had a devastating global impact.

As a result, governments all over the world are responding to the challenges caused by Coronavirus by implementing wide-ranging and extensive measures designed to curb the spread of the virus. The UK government regularly updates its official guidance on COVID-19, with all information and updates available on gov.uk/coronavirus.

Advice for businesses

What support is available to me? What should I do if I am struggling to pay my bills?

If your business is finding it too difficult to pay energy bills as a result of Coronavirus, there are many guides published by government on the levels of financial support available to you. The gov.uk/coronavirus provides an entire section on government schemes where you can see which support suits you. Here is a summary of some of the support available:

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants, including a new temporaryCoronavirus 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 for Coronavirus also provides links to much more comprehensive guides for businesses where there is more information on financial support

For any escalated enquiries or matters requiring individual consideration dur to Coronavirus, businesses are able to visit the Citizens Advice Small Business Guide for further support. Alternatively, support and information is available from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Independent of Coronavirus, for businesses who have been told they could be disconnected from their energy supply, there is extensive advice available in Citizens Advice’s small business energy guide.

Should I stop my direct debit payments?

It’s best to avoid this type of action without any notice. If you are facing any payment difficulties because of Coronavirus, it’s something your business energy supplier should know quickly.

If you do decide to cancel your Direct Debit, you may actually incur credit penalties, fines and other extra costs to your business

Can I suspend my bills?

We’ve already mentioned that your supplier should always be made aware of your circumstances if Coronavirus has caused your business any difficulties.

If you do decide to cancel your Direct Debit, you may actually incur credit penalties, fines and other extra costs to your business

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.

If you need to look into making savings on your business energy renewal, you can use our 10-second price comparison website BusinessEnergyQuotes.com to compare quotes from a range of business energy suppliers

To see how your business can make other significant savings on energy, see our partner, Northern Gas and Power’s guide on how you can make significant savings on your business energy during Coronavirus.

Do I have to continue paying my standing charge even while my business is closed?

The simple answer is yes. However, some suppliers might be able to reach an agreement with your business because of Coronavirus. Some business energy suppliers might arrange more suitable, temporary measures to help you throughout COVID-19.

For BusinessEnergyQuotes.com customers, who each receive a dedicated Agent Support Package, your Business Account Manager will be able to arrange contact between you and your business energy supplier.

A much quicker 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.

This is also a risky strategy. In theory, you could do this, but you’ll have to pay a fee for disconnecting your supply. But there’s also another charge for you once you reconnect your supply in future

If Coronavirus has affected your business, it’s important that your circumstances are known to your supplier. For any BusinessEnergyQuotes.com customers, contacting your suppliers to provide information is something our Business Account Managers are able to do for you on your behalf.

How can I save on my energy bills while the business premises are closed?

As many businesses are closed due to Coronavirus, advice on how to save on your energy bills while the premises are closed has never been more important. You could implement some basic energy saving principles and practices which have long-lasting savings benefits for you and your business.

I’m not sure who my supplier is? What should I do?

Though it sounds simple, sometimes, finding out who your commercial gas and electric suppliers are might not be as easy as it sounds. The information may not be to hand and could complicate billing for your business. This isn’t something you want if you’re struggling anyway because of Coronavirus.

Protect yourself from scams

There has been an increase in the number of phishing attempts made online as a result of Coronavirus. It’s essential to only use verifiable and trusted sources of information about COVID-19.

Some scams have actually 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.

All official matters relating to coronavirus will be found on the government website, and this should be where you go for verification of information or any activity you’re intending to take.

Need help choosing a plan, or want to make an enquiry?

We are always available for any help and assistance you may need, or to answer any queries. Give us a call, or if you prefer email simply use our form.

Call us on: +44 (0)330 0300 200