Our latest information on energy prices

Our latest information on energy prices – Update 18 January 2023 

The current Energy Bill Relief Scheme “EBRS” is ending on 31 March 2023.  On 9 January 2023, the Government announced it will be replacing this Scheme with the Energy Bill Discount Scheme “EBDS” which will start on 1 April 2023 and is expected to last for 12 months to 31 March 2024.

EBDS (Energy Bill Discount Scheme)

If you’re eligible to receive the support, you’ll receive a per-unit discount on your gas and electricity unit prices on energy bills between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024, subject to a maximum discount.  More information on the EBDS is available by visiting the Government website here. Some illustrative examples have been included.

For most business customers, the maximum discounts have been set at:

  • electricity – £19.61 per megawatt hour (MWh) with a price threshold of £302 per MWh.
  • gas – £6.97 per MWh with a price threshold of £107 per MWh

Some Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETIIs) are particularly vulnerable to high energy prices due to their energy intensive and trade exposure.  Those customers will receive a higher discount, the maximum discounts have been set at:

  • electricity – £89 per MWh with a price threshold of £185 per MWh
  • gas – £40 per MWh with a price threshold of £99 per MWh

We’ll continue to automatically apply the discount under EBRS until the Scheme ends on 31 March 2023, at which point the new EBDS discount will become effective for usage from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024, if you’re eligible to receive the additional support.

As more information becomes available, we’ll update our website and frequently asked questions.

We’ll contact you nearer the time to let you know if you’re eligible, so please look out for that over the coming weeks.

EBRS (Energy Bill Relief Scheme)

On 21 September 2022, the Government announced the details of the energy bills support (the Energy Bill Relief Scheme “EBRS”) it will provide for businesses, charities and the public sector, for an initial period of 6 months from 1 October 2022. 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 is providing 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 December 2021
  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.

For customers who have agreed a fixed-price contract, the discounts vary depending on the date on which you entered into your contract.  We’ll include your contract agreed date on your bill along with the discount which is applicable to you.

For customers who are not in a fixed-term contract, your discount is set at 9.1p/kWh for gas and 34.5p/kWh for electricity.  

As well as the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, as of November 2022, additional support is available for those customers who are not in a fixed-term contract and who have no outstanding balance. The QFDC scheme is currently running till 31 March 2023. Please see below for more information on this Scheme.

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 December 2021.
  • signing new fixed price contracts
  • on deemed/out of contract/variable tariffs
  • on flexible purchase/similar contracts

It applies to England, Scotland and Wales. There is a similar scheme for Northern Ireland.

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 December 2021, 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 December 2021 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 an Out of Contract, Deemed or Variable Tariff. What discounts am I eligible for?

Under the EBRS discount, you’ll 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” of £345 per MWh for electricity and £91 per MWh for gas.  The Government have published details of the discounts on their website, which can be found here.

For the EBDS discount, we’re still awaiting further information regarding the discounts that customers on an Out of Contract, Deemed or Variable Tariff will receive.

Your bills may still increase or decrease from time to time as you’re on a tariff that changes. Additionally, the Qualifying Financially Disadvantaged Customers “QFDC” Scheme has been introduced to give further discounts to customers who are on Out of Contract, Deemed or Variable Tariffs and who have no outstanding balance with their supplier.  If your account is up-to-date and you’re being supplied on one of these contract tariffs, you’ll be eligible to receive this additional discount, which we’ll automatically apply to your invoices each month, from your December invoice.  The QFDC Scheme is running alongside with the EBRS Scheme and is also due to finish on 31 March 2023. No further information is available on whether the QFDC Scheme will continue, but we’ll update our website when we know more.

How do I know if I have received the EBRS discount?

If you’re eligible for the discount, we’ll automatically apply this to the energy section of your monthly bills, until the Scheme ends on 31 March 2023.  Please see the example below:

Business Energy Prices FAW - EBRS Charges

When does the Scheme start and end?

The ERBS applies to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. If you’re eligible (see above), the discount was first applied to your November bill, which was backdated to cover October usage. The EBRS Scheme is ending on 31 March 2023 and is being replaced with the EBDS scheme which will apply to energy usage between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024.

How do I get the discount?

If eligible, the EBRS discount is being automatically applied to your monthly bills for energy usage between 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 and the EBDS discount will be automatically applied to your monthly bills for energy usage between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. We’ll collect your Direct Debit payments as normal. The EBRS discount was first applied to your November bills, and backdated to cover October’s usage.

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

The review will decide exactly which types of businesses will receive support on a longer-term scale. These are likely to be those who are least able to adjust, for example by reducing energy usage or increasing energy efficiency. The Government said that it would include businesses like public houses. We’ll let you know as soon as we know more.

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 team by calling 0161 946 4444. 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 for EBRS and for EBDS between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024, 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 domestic price cap affect me?

No. The 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.