Our latest information on energy prices

Our latest information on energy prices

On 21 September the Government announced the details of the energy bills support (the Energy Bill Relief Scheme) it will provide for businesses, charities and the public sector, for an initial period of 6 months from 1 October. You can read more about it here on gov.uk.  You can also read about the Energy Bill Relief Scheme here. It includes some illustrative examples of how the discount will work. We’ve summarised the Scheme below for you.

The Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers whose current gas and electricity prices have increased significantly in light of global energy prices. The support is similiar to the Energy Price Guarantee for households.

The support will apply to businesses, voluntary and public sector organisations who are:

  1. On fixed price contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022
  2. On deemed, out of contract or variable tariffs
  3. Signing new fixed price contracts
  4. On flexible purchase or similar contracts

The discount is for energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. After that there will be some more support for vulnerable businesses – details will be announced in a few months’ time after a Government review.

We’ll automatically apply the discount to your bills if you’re eligible – you don’t need to do anything. We’ll also contact you as soon as we can to explain how the Scheme affects your business.

Who is eligible for the scheme?

Everyone on a non-domestic contract including businesses, voluntary sector organisations, such as charities and public sector organisations such as schools, hospitals and care homes who are:

  • on existing fixed price contracts that were agreed on or after 1 April 2022
  • signing new fixed price contracts
  • on deemed/out of contract/variable tariffs
  • on flexible purchase/similar contracts

I’m currently in a fixed-term contract. Will my prices change?

It depends when your fixed price contract was agreed:

  • If it was agreed before 1 April 2022, you’ll continue to pay the prices you agreed when you entered into your contract. The Government takes the view you do not need support as you have not been exposed to the recent rises in wholesale prices.
  • If your contract was agreed on or after 1 April 2022 and the wholesale part of the price you are paying is more than the Government Supported Price (£211 per MWh for electricity, £75 per MWh for gas), we’ll automatically reduce your per unit energy costs by the relevant p/kWh for the term of the Scheme.

I’m currently on a default, deemed or variable tariff. Will my prices change?

Yes. You will receive a per-unit discount on your energy costs up to a maximum of the difference between the Government Support Price (£211 per MWh for electricity, £75 per MWh for gas) and the relevant wholesale price, subject to a “maximum discount” that will be decided at the beginning of the Scheme.

Your bills may still increase or decrease from time to time as you’re on a tariff that changes.

When does the scheme start and end?

It applies to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.  If you’re eligible (see above), you will first see the discount for your October usage. The Scheme is due to end at the end of March but there will be further support for vulnerable businesses. Details of that will be announced by the Government in the coming months.

What happens at the end of the 6 months?

The Government will review the Scheme in three months’ time and decide on future support after March 2023. The review will focus on identifying the most vulnerable non-domestic customers and how the Government will continue to help them with energy costs. We’ll let you know on our website as soon as we know more.

How do I get the discount?

We’ll automatically apply the discount to your monthly bills for energy usage between 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 and will collect your Direct Debit payments as normal.

Has the Government said which businesses are vulnerable non-domestic customers?

The Prime Minister has said that businesses that are vulnerable, that can’t invest in their own energy supply, will receive support in the longer term. She went on to say that that would include businesses like public houses. The review will decide exactly which types of businesses will receive support on a longer-term scale. We’ll let you know as soon as we know more about this.

I’m worried I may not be able to afford my bills

If you’re experiencing financial difficulties or require further support paying your bills, we’re here to help. You can speak to one of our Collections experts by calling 0161 946 4446. We’re here Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. If you’d rather email us, please get in touch at info@switchingon.com.

Do I still need to give you monthly meter reads?

Yes, absolutely!  If you’re eligible under the Scheme we’ll automatically apply a discount on the energy you use between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023 so it’s really important we get your monthly meter reads so we can see how much energy you’ve used. It’s really easy to give us a meter read.   Simply log on to the Customer Zone, email us at meter.read@switchingon.com or call us on 0161 946 4444.

How I can ensure that I only get billed for what I use?

There are 2 ways you can do this:

  1. Give us a meter read between 27th and 30th of each month. We’ll use the meter read to bill you based on your actual usage.  You can do this on the customer zone , by emailing us at meter.read@switchingon.com or by calling 0161 946 4444.
  2. Have a smart meter installed. With a smart meter, you won’t need to send a meter read each month. We’ll get readings automatically and bill you based on your actual usage each month. It’s easy to arrange, simply give us a call us on 0161 946 4444 and we’ll arrange to install on a convenient date.

Does the announcement by Liz Truss on 8 September about the £2500 price cap affect me?

No. The £2500 price cap only applies to domestic supplies, not business customers. We’ve shared the details of the support available to businesses above.

How will I know when my contract is due to end and what happens next?

Your fixed-period contract end date is shown on your Unicom invoice under the relevant service section.  We’ll write to you 60 days before your contract is due to end to let you know what happens next.

Can’t find your most recent invoice? That’s no problem, you can download copies of your bills for the last 36 months, submit a meter read, set up or reset your Direct Debit, update your contact details and more. Simply visit the Customer Zone.

Is there any other support available to me?

The Government has a range of ongoing schemes in place to support businesses with their energy costs.  More information can be found here.