Government support for businesses (the Energy Bills Discount Scheme)
- The government’s Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) is supporting businesses with their energy costs
- If a business’ unit price meets the EBDS criteria, they may qualify for a discount on their energy
- Most eligible Octopus customers don’t need to take any action - we’ll automatically apply the discount to those that qualify
- Use this blog to find out what EBDS is, what it means for businesses and how we’re helping customers benefit from it
Last updated: 18th April 2023
The government is continuing to support businesses with high energy costs
This began with the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), which ran from October 2022 until March 2023.
In April 2023, the government replaced EBRS with EBDS, which is running until 31st March 2024.
Like EBRS, EBDS provides a discount on energy
This helps businesses manage high prices by reducing the cost per unit of electricity and gas. In turn, this makes it easier for businesses to reduce what they’re spending on energy.
The unit rate reduction is different for businesses in Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII). These will receive a bigger discount on the first 70% of their energy consumption. The rest of their usage then receives the non-ETII EBDS discount.
Head to the government's ETII page to check whether you’re in an ETII industry and apply for the ETII discount.
All types of non-domestic customers may qualify for EBDS
As well as businesses, this includes charities, schools and hospitals.
To qualify for the discount, the organisation needs to be on:
- a fixed price contract that began on or after 1st December 2021 (including new ones)
- a standard variable agreement
- a deemed or out of contract tariff
- flexible purchase or a similar contract
To qualify, the wholesale element of a business' unit rate must be over the government threshold
This is the part of a unit rate that’s determined by wholesale costs. The table below shows the thresholds for different fuel types.
|Industry||Fuel||Minimum wholesale element unit rate (per kWh)||Discount amount (per kWh)|
For most customers that qualify, we’ll apply EBDS automatically
If you qualify and are non-ETII, we’ll apply the discount to your unit rates. You’ll see EBDS breakdowns on your invoices from May onwards.
If you’re in an ETII industry, head to the government website to register for this higher discount.
Be aware that some scammers are pretending to be Octopus and Ofgem
We won't ask you to apply for EBDS. So, if you get a call or email asking you to send us an application, ignore it and let us know.
There are other types of support available outside of EBDS
We've created new solutions for customers whose support has reduced now that EBRS has ended. You can read about them here.
We've also written about how we're supporting customers and keeping energy fair during the energy crisis.
You may also be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP)
This is another government scheme to help businesses with their energy bills. It's a £150 payment for customers that use alternative fuels for heating, instead of electricity or gas.
We've paid the AFP into the accounts of businesses that we know are eligible. If you think you're eligible but you haven't received it, you can apply for it on the government website.
What’s the difference between EBRS and EBDS?
EBRS ended in March 2023. EDBS replaced it and will run from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024.
They both offer discounts on business unit rates. But the threshold to receive EBDS is higher than EBRS. So fewer organisations will qualify - and those who do may receive a smaller discount.
I don’t think my EBDS is being applied correctly - what should I do?
If you get in touch, we'll look into this for you.
What will happen when EBDS ends?
The government hasn’t announced anything beyond the EBDS end date of 31st March 2024. If they announce any other plans, we’ll let our customers know.
How do I know if my business counts as ETII?
You can see the industries that come under the ETII category on the government website.
What do I do if my business is ETII?
You’ll need to register for the higher discount through the government’s online portal.
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