Energy bills: 'Possibility' of 'blackouts this winter' says Halligan
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Last week, the Prime Minister laid out a plan to shield millions of households across the UK from skyrocketing energy prices by freezing bills at £2,500, promising “equivalent support” for businesses lasting six months. Ms Truss said in the House of Commons last week: “After those six months, we will provide further support to vulnerable sectors such as hospitality, including our local pubs.”
But despite the pledge, the plan for businesses lacked clear details, sparking fears for business leaders.
Now, key figures in the energy industry are calling for more details to be shared so suppliers have time to process them and ensure firms will be protected this winter.
One source told The Telegraph: “We are talking in days — we have to come up with a solution.”
The source added that providing assistance to businesses is “hugely complex” due to the way in which companies pay for energy.
While households are shielded by a price cap, there is no limit to what firms may have to fork out. And different businesses pay different rates based on their industry and usage.
This means there is a huge variation in different negotiated contracts, making it more difficult for an overarching policy to encompass the same level of support for all companies.
The Prime Minister did promise that her Government will work with businesses to review where support should be targeted to “make sure those most in need get support”.
Ms Truss said that the review will be announced within the next three months to give businesses “certainty”.
She added that some of the onus will be on businesses themselves to limit their energy consumption.
The Prime Minister said last week: “Companies with wherewithal need to be looking for ways they can improve energy efficiency and increase direct energy generation.”
But the death of Queen Elizabeth II has appeared to take the sting out the Government’s urgency to cope with the crisis, with priorities now centred around the period of national mourning and the accession of King Charles III.
However, there have still been discussions between energy producers and the Business department for cheaper longer-term contracts to sell electricity through contracts for difference (CFD). This could help to guarantee lower costs to consumers for the next few years.
But there are fears that small businesses may not receive enough support from the energy package, which is expected to cost around £40billion.
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Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “The news that business energy costs will be capped for six months will have been welcomed by small business owners – providing short-term relief and ensuring more businesses can make it through the coming winter.
“But it’s clear that small businesses need more. They need a sustainable, long-term solution. With many still in recovery mode from the impact of the pandemic, rising costs and spiralling energy bills will put countless small firms at serious risk.
“The message from small businesses is clear: this is a pandemic level crisis and the clock is ticking.”
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