SSE has launched a £15m support fund to ease the pressure on businesses struggling with ultra-high energy bills this winter.
The company is making the funds available to customers on longer-term fixed contracts signed between August and December 2022 – when wholesale costs soared to record levels – City A.M. can reveal.
Unlike households, businesses are not protected by the price cap and have to sign up to long-term contracts to meet their supply needs.
While businesses are entitled to government support through the Energy Bills Discount Scheme, this is is capped and limited compared to earlier funding packages.
Around 20,000 customers will be eligible for support, and will receive savings of either £500 or up to 25 per cent of their estimated annual bill, whichever is lower.
On top of this, 8,000 businesses with registered charitable status will receive a £500 credit to their account.
SSE will automatically apply support to the bills of eligible customers from next month to the end March 2024 – and will contact them directly.
This fund is a continuation of the support the company has offered customers through the pandemic and the energy price crisis.
This includes the extension of payment term options for struggling customers and shielding some customers from more than £10m of non-commodity industry charges.
Nikki Flanders, managing director of SSE’s customer businesses believed the drop in government support meant now was the “right time” to launch the fund.
She said: “Despite the fact that wholesale energy prices have fallen considerably from last year’s highs, they still remain double the historic norm, which we understand is challenging for many businesses. Combined with the existing support for our customers, this represents the most comprehensive package of financial assistance to help businesses with their energy bills anywhere in the GB non-domestic market.”
SSE sold its household business to Ovo Energy in 2020 but still operates a non-domestic energy provider, SSE Energy Solutions.
It currently provides gas and electricity to businesses across 420,000 separate metering points.