The end of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) has left many businesses with high energy prices - especially those who took out fixed contracts while prices were at their peak.
So we've introduced two options for businesses that were most affected by EBRS ending:
- Blend & Extend tariffs that bring customers’ prices down immediately by extending their contracts
- A 40% exit fee that makes it much easier for customers to end their contract early and move to cheaper rates
The background to these changes
In 2022, the government introduced EBRS to help businesses with unprecedentedly high energy costs. On 1st April 2023, they replaced this with the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS).
Like EBRS, EBDS offers discounts on business energy unit rates. But these discounts are less generous and accessible than before:
*Based on a business using 8,000kwh electricity and 20,000kwh gas per year
This reduction of government support has had a negative impact on businesses
Customers who signed up to fixed tariffs in mid-to-late 2022 are the most affected. This is when energy prices were peaking. With the removal of EBRS, businesses are left with higher fixed prices for the remainder of their contract.
We’re doing everything we can to support fixed tariff customers that have been hit by this reduction in support.
How we're helping businesses
Typically, energy suppliers only change prices for businesses on fixed terms if they pay out their whole contract. But, we recognise that our customers need special help to get through this difficult time.
That’s why we’re offering these two options to reduce energy prices quickly. They offer ways for fixed contract customers to move to lower energy prices, long before their current contract ends.
Specifically, they’re for businesses that:
- are on fixed contracts
- have non-half-hourly meters
- have an electricity unit rate of more than 40p per kWh, and/or a gas unit rate of more than 12p per kWh
- meet one of the solutions’ specific criteria (see below)
Option 1: Blend & Extend tariffs
Customers can significantly reduce their energy rates by moving to a longer contract
This comes in 2 versions: a 24 month contract or a 36 month contract
No exit fee
Savings on the average small business’ monthly bill:
46% with the 24 month version
28% with the 36 month version
This option lets customers quickly reduce their energy costs.
The 24 month version is for customers whose contracts began before 8th August 2022 and have more than 12 months left on them.
The 36 month version is for customers with less than 12 months on their contract.
Both versions bring monthly bills down to a much lower level. The 24 month version even takes the average bill below EBRS.
Option 2: a 40% exit fee
Customers can leave their contract by paying 40% of their remaining contract value
They can then enter a new 12 month fixed contract at today’s lower rates
Savings on the average small business’ monthly bill:
Like the Blend & Extend tariffs, this provides a huge reduction on energy costs.
This solution is for customers whose contracts began on or after 8th August 2022 and have more than 12 months left on them.
It brings the average monthly bill down nearly as low as it was under EBRS.
To access this support, get in touch - we’d love to help
Our knowledgeable energy specialists will take you through the solutions we offer and sign you up for the right one.
We’re always happy to have conversations with you about these and other payment concerns. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in credit or debt with us, we’re here to help you.
You can get in touch by email or over the phone.
Check out our FAQs for more information:
Who qualifies for these options?
They’re for customers on fixed contracts with electricity unit rates that are 40p/kWh or higher, and/or gas unit rates that are 12p/kWh higher.
The criteria for each one differ slightly, depending on contract length and start date. See above for the details.
Which option is best for me?
The options are for different types of contract, so you won’t qualify for more than one. Check the information above to see which one is available for your contract type.
For help understanding whether you qualify for any of them, get in touch.
What support is available for customers that don’t qualify for these options?
We’re taking lots of steps to make energy more manageable during this crisis, such as:
- offering payment plans and payment holidays
- giving tailored expert advice
- keeping prices fair by lowering tariff prices
Check out our support blog to learn more about these and other ways we’re making business energy fairer.
How do Blend & Extend tariffs work?
They take the costs of an existing tariff and spread them over a longer term. This allows customers to access the cheaper prices of a new contract.
We’re not pricing in any additional profit - in fact we’re taking a cashflow hit. We're just spreading the high wholesale cost over a longer term.
Now wholesale energy costs are lower, why don’t you just reduce customers’ prices in the middle of their fixed contract?
When a customer signs up for a fixed contract, we buy all the energy for that contract length at the prices available at the time.
So, reducing prices for customers mid-term would lead to us making a big loss.
As a company, we always make our rates as low and as fair to customers as we can. But the loss we’d incur by reducing prices mid-term would be too risky given what’s happened in the energy market in recent years. We have to price responsibly to make sure we will be around to support our customers for years to come.
Why have you started charging exit fees?
In normal times, we don’t charge exit fees. We believe that the level of service we offer should be good enough for our customers to want to stay - even if they can find slightly better prices elsewhere as the market moves around.
However, with the unprecedented high prices we saw last year, we needed to include exit fees for two and three year contracts. This guards against the risk of customers leaving mid-term.
The 40% exit fee option we’re offering doesn’t cover the loss we would make if all eligible customers took it up. But, it does allow us to cover some of the costs we would incur.