Get help with your small business energy bills
If you work from home
If your business is based from home, you'll usually be a domestic energy customer instead of a business customer. Check what to do if you’re struggling with domestic energy bills.
If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, there’s help you can get as a microbusiness. Check if your business is a microbusiness.
Your business might be able to get help with energy bills from the government as part of the Energy Bill Discount Scheme.
If you can’t get help from the Energy Bill Discount Scheme, you might be able to save money by switching energy supplier.
There are other steps you can take if you're finding it hard to pay your microbusiness's energy bills.
What you should do depends on if:
you're already in debt to your supplier
you've been sent a bill you can't afford
you're regularly struggling to pay your bills
Check if something is an energy scam
Some scammers are pretending to be from energy companies to get your personal information.
If you think something might be a scam:
don’t give out any personal information or bank details
don’t use any contact details from the possible scam
Get help from the Energy Bill Discount Scheme
Your business might be able to get help from the Energy Bill Discount Scheme from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. You don’t need to apply to the scheme - if you get a discount it will automatically be added to your bills.
There will be a lot less help than before April 2023. It is unlikely that you’ll get any discount on your energy bill from this scheme.
You’ll get a discount if the wholesale price of energy is above:
£302 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity
£107 per megawatt hour (MWh) for gas
The wholesale price is the amount suppliers pay to buy energy - this is the same for all suppliers.
The maximum discount is:
£19.61 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity
£6.97 per megawatt hour (MWh) for gas
The scheme applies to all non-domestic customers, including if you’re:
on a fixed contract that was agreed on or after 1 December 2021
agreeing a new fixed price contract
on a ‘deemed’ or ‘out-of-contract’ contract
on a variable contract
on a flexible purchase or similar contract
If you’re on a fixed contract the discount you get will depend on what the wholesale price was on the day you agreed your contract.
If you’re on any other type of contract the discount will change as the wholesale price changes.
The discount is taken from the wholesale cost of the energy you use. The rest of your bill is not discounted. If you get a discount it should be added to your next bill after 1 May 2023.
Get an extra discount if your business uses a large amount of energy
You might get an extra discount on your energy bills if your business is classed as an Energy and Trade Intensive Industry (ETII). This means the business needs to use a large amount of energy to operate.
70% of the energy your business uses will get a discount if the wholesale price of energy is above:
£185 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity
£99 per megawatt hour (MWh) for gas
Your business can get up to a maximum discount of:
£89 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity
£40 per megawatt hour (MWh) for gas
The final 30% of the energy your business uses will get the standard Energy Bill Discount Scheme discount.
Check if your business is eligible
Your business must be within eligible Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code sectors, which include:
mining and quarrying
museums, libraries and historical sites
nature reserves, including zoological and botanical gardens
At least 50% of your business income must be generated from UK-based activity - for example, your business makes items in the UK, even if they’re sold overseas.
Check if you can save money by switching energy supplier
You can shop around for a better deal as long as you aren't in debt to your energy supplier.
It's usually worth switching if:
the fixed term of your contract has ended - you'll be in a 'roll-over period' or on an 'end-of contract' tariff
you're on a tariff you didn't choose to be on, for example if you've taken over a new premises - you'll be on a 'deemed' tariff
These tariffs are often very expensive. You usually won't need to pay a fee or give notice to switch.
If you're in debt to your energy supplier
If you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.
Your supplier should help you come to a solution. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you.
It's important to act quickly - your energy supply could be disconnected if you don't make arrangements to deal with the debt. Your supplier might have to get permission from a court before they can enter your property to disconnect your supply. If this happens you'll get a letter telling you when the court hearing is.
If you don’t try to negotiate with your supplier, they might threaten to disconnect you. If you're disconnected, you'll normally have a disconnection fee added to the money you owe. You'll need to pay another fee if you're reconnected.
If you’ve been told you’ll be disconnected
If you haven’t paid a bill, your supplier might say they're going to disconnect your supply if you don't pay the bill. You’ll usually have 28 days to pay your bill. Check your contract to see exactly how long you get to pay and when you’ll be classed as being in debt.
If you don’t pay your debt within the time allowed, your supplier usually only has to give you 7 days notice before your supply is disconnected. But it’s likely your supplier will contact you by letter or phone before it gets to that stage. You should speak to your supplier straight away and try to arrange to pay off the debt. If you don’t give your supplier permission to enter your property to disconnect your supply, they’ll need to get permission from a court. If this happens you'll get a letter telling you when the court hearing is.
If you can't afford to pay a bill
If you think the bill is wrong you should challenge it - call your supplier and ask how it's been calculated.
If the bill is right but you can't pay it, ask if you can arrange a payment plan. Work out a budget before you call so you know you can afford the payments.
If you think you've been overcharged
If you're a 'microbusiness' you can only be billed for energy you've used in the last 12 months.
If you think you've been overcharged, call your energy supplier and complain.
Explain that because you're a microbusiness you can't be billed for energy used more than 12 months ago.
If you're struggling to pay your bills
If you often find it hard to pay your energy bills there are things you can do to try to reduce them.
If your energy supplier goes bust
Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. You might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens.
Read our advice about what to do if your energy supplier goes bust.
Make sure you're being billed accurately
If your supplier is estimating your bills you might be paying more than you need to each month.
Take regular meter readings and send them to your supplier. Set up a monthly reminder on your phone or calendar so you don't forget.
Check if you can get a smart meter
If you don’t have a smart meter you could ask your supplier to install one. If you rent your business space, check with your landlord.
A smart meter will automatically send accurate readings to your energy supplier so you’ll only pay for the energy you use.
If you have a smart meter installed you’ll usually get an in-home display (IHD) - sometimes called a ‘smart energy monitor’.
You can use the IHD to track how much energy you’re using and the estimated cost. Check how to get a smart meter.
Make your business energy efficient
There are ways to reduce how much electricity and gas you use - for example, you can:
switch off computers and other equipment overnight if they aren't being used
use energy efficient light bulbs
make sure your premises are insulated against drafts
only use as much hot water as you need and fix any leaking hot taps
Contacting your supplier about a problem
If you’re having a problem with your energy supply, call or use webchat to contact your supplier straight away. You can get their contact details from their website.
Tell them what’s happening, and what you want them to do about it. They might be able to sort it out then and there. You should note down the:
date and time you get in touch
person you speak to
problem you talk about
If your supplier doesn't solve your problem while you're on the phone or webchat, send them an email or letter repeating what you said. This means you’ll have a record of your conversation with your supplier.
When you write to your supplier include your account number and any case reference numbers you have. This makes it quicker and easier to sort out your problem.
Complaining to your supplier or broker
You might want to complain to your supplier if for example they:
won't fix a problem with your meter or energy supply
keep billing you the wrong amount
You might want to complain to your broker if for example they:
misled you about a contract they sold you
weren't clear about their fees
charged you more than they said they would
The first thing you should do is gather any supporting evidence. What you’ll need depends on your issue - for example you could:
take photos of a faulty meter
get together copies of unusual bills
gather notes from phone calls you’ve had
look for emails from your supplier about the problem
You’ll also need details of your complaint and your energy account number to hand. You can find this on a recent bill.
When you’re ready, you can complain over the phone, or in writing by email or post. It's a good idea to complain in writing so you can keep a record.
You can usually find your supplier or broker's complaints procedure on their website.
What happens next
Your supplier will get in touch with you if they need any more details about your complaint.
They should send you a ‘decision letter’ or ‘letter of deadlock’ within 8 weeks. This explains how they’ll deal with your complaint.
Complaining to the energy ombudsman
You can complain to the energy ombudsman after complaining to your supplier if you:
have a letter of deadlock and aren’t happy with the decision
didn’t get a decision letter or letter of deadlock within 8 weeks
If you’ve had a deadlock letter you can complain to the ombudsman within 12 months of getting it. If you didn’t get a deadlock letter you might be able to complain to the ombudsman after more than 12 months.
If you need more help
If you need more advice about dealing with your energy bills, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Advice Direct Scotland's energy advice service.
Advice Direct Scotland energy advice
Freephone: 0808 196 8660
If you’re finding things difficult
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You should talk to your GP if your money problems are affecting your mental health.
You can also get help on the Breathing Space website.
If you need to speak to someone right now you can call the Samaritans for free.
Helpline: 116 123 (Monday to Sunday at any time)
Welsh Language Line: 0808 164 0123 (Monday to Sunday 7pm to 11pm)
You can also text 'SHOUT' to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained Shout 85258 volunteer. Texts are free, anonymous and confidential from anywhere in the UK.
If you think it's an emergency
If you need support you can call NHS 24 on 111, the Mental Health Hub is open 24/7.
Page last reviewed on 30 September 2022