Energy Bills Discount Scheme Ending
The Energy Bills Discount Scheme which supports non-domestic consumers with energy bills ends on 31st March 2024. In 2022 alone, businesses experienced a 63% increase in electricity prices1, making it harder than ever to stay afloat, and the unpredictable future for energy prices leads to more uncertainty.
Energy Bills Discount Scheme
The Energy Bills Discount – which replaced the discontinued Energy Bill Relief Scheme, was offered to support eligible non-domestic consumers with energy bills, with additional discounts to support businesses in Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) and those with domestic end consumers (heat networks).
The discount was available for anyone on a non-domestic energy supply contract, as long as they were with a licensed energy supplier. The per-unit discount on energy bills was subject to a maximum discount:
- Electricity – £19.61/MWh with a price threshold of £302/MWh
- Gas – £6.97/MWh a price threshold of £107/MWh
The Wider Picture
Why are we in need of a discount in the first place? Energy prices have soared over the last four years, firstly due to supply issues due to the COVID pandemic, followed by conflicts around the world disrupting global trade, with an imbalance of supply and demand.
Once the discount ends on 31st March 2024, consumers will return to paying in full for their energy, yet they still need to power, heat and light their premises. Four out of five businesses2 say that high energy costs force them to raise prices, and this paired with less disposable income for, leads to a damaged economy.
Renewable Energy – Is It the Answer?
Renewable energy has the potential to alleviate the UK’s energy crisis and help lower soaring prices. Wind and solar power have experienced cost reductions in recent years, and are now cost-competitive with fossil fuel energy. Additionally, renewable energy providers are growing in number, making competitively-priced renewable energy more accessible to consumers.
By moving to renewable energy, prices stabilise due to less reliance on fossil fuels, which also reduces the dependency on imported energy with geopolitical risks – many of which we’ve seen in recent years.
It is yet to be determined what the future holds in terms of government schemes, but as spring approaches, we can hope that energy prices will again decrease.
However, an option that is within our reach is utilising renewable energy to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, which in turn safeguards the future of energy prices and ensures that winters in the future are more easy to navigate for both UK consumers and businesses. This requires a collaborative approach from the government, industry stakeholders, and communities, in order to ensure a sustainable and fair energy future for all.