Energy supplier payment support for businesses impacted by Coronavirus

Energy supplier payment support for businesses impacted by Coronavirus2020-04-23T10:04:38+01:00

The current Coronavirus pandemic is having ripple effects across the business world and it will affect utility suppliers and their customers in several ways. These are some of the things to consider.

Take or Pay Clauses – Larger users that must shut down or scale back operation could potentially be exposed to the “TOP” or Take, or Pay Clause included in their energy agreement. If they fail to use the percentage of the energy, they have committed to purchase then the supplier has a mechanism to charge them.

Payment Holidays – Many smaller business’s, especially in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge cash flow problems and will start to struggle to keep their regular payment schedules up with their utilities providers. Negotiating a payment plan or payment holiday with providers is going to be critical to keeping business’s afloat during this uncertain time. Often utilities costs can be in the top three overheads for a business.

Contract Expiry – Depending on how the following weeks and months pan out there could be many customers who have their agreements expire and they may be physically unable to negotiate a renewal. In normal circumstances the provider would move the consumer on to punitive out of contract rates, but these are exceptional circumstances and it is our hope that suppliers will work with customers to extend their agreement. Unfortunately, not all suppliers will do that, and some will take advantage with out OFGEM taking a stance and setting the industry guidelines around this issue.

Credit Risk – Utilities providers are rapidly assessing their risk to providing different sectors and increasing the credit criteria required to provide them and, in some cases, pulling out of the sector all together. This is going to leave many SME business’s with very limited options and with their credit being impacted all the time by the escalating situation it will become increasingly harder for them to secure a market reflective rate.

As we have been helping our clients and partners, we have begun to compile a list of the support energy suppliers are offering businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 has had major operational impact on many gas and electricity suppliers, and some are still working out how they will help their customers. Below is a list of the information we have to date but we must stress that all suppliers are treating everything on a cases by cases basis:

Scottish Power (SME):-

  • Customers will only be billed on actual usage, its import to provide a meter reading ASAP which can be done online or via your eyebright account manager.
  • Looking at a solution to place Covid-19 effected customers accounts on hold for 2-Months.

Gazprom:-

Dyce: –

  • Have advised customers to access government funding to help with any bill payments.

Crown Gas & Power:-

  • Have advised customers to access government funding to help with any bill payments.

EDF Energy:-

  • Have committed to offering additional support and flexibility on a case by case bases, the extra support may include repayments made over a longer period, delay payment for a short period or offer alternative payment arrangements.

E.On Energy:-

  • Late payment systems they have in place now been put on hold, therefore no late fees will be applied to any accounts. It is possible that there was “pending” ones that may have already been applied.
  • Possibility to delay the bill for up to 45 days, reviewed on a case by cases basis.
  • Potential for Covid-19 customers to have Payment plans put in place, they have advised the will to need to discuss this directly with the customer.

Opus Energy:-

  • Have advised customers to access government funding to help with any bill payments.

Orsted:-

Total GP:-

  • Currently their phone lines are temporarily closed until remote lines are in place.

British Gas:-

  • Not great clarity but it would appear from their website that they are recommending customers access government funding. We are seeking more clarity but at present they are only taking emergency phone calls.

If you supplier is not listed, then please bear with us as we try to establish their approach to the situation.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised or we can help in any way, then please do get in touch.

Tel: 0141 530 4152

E&OE