The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has warned businesses that they could miss out on energy savings by not talking to their suppliers to avail of the temporary Supply Suspension Scheme for non-domestic customers impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
The scheme was introduced on 1 May to alleviate the pressures on certain Small and Medium Enterprises by ensuring that qualifying customers will have no energy or network charges billed for their business premises supply point for the duration that the measure is in place.
There are approximately 199,000 SME electricity customers and 27,000 SME gas customers who are eligible to take up the scheme. Based on data supplied by suppliers, just under 8,000 electricity customers and 2,000 gas customers have availed of the scheme to date.
While the CRU recognises that not all customers will require this support and the phased reopening of certain sectors under Government guidelines will mean that some companies may not need to avail of the scheme, the CRU believes the overall take-up should be higher than at present levels.
The CRU has requested that the main suppliers continue to engage with their customers to ensure as high a number of SME customers apply and possibly qualify for the supply suspension scheme. The estimated savings for eligible customers will depend on the type of business and their typical energy use and can be up to several thousand euros.
To avail of the scheme, customers must complete an application form with their supplier that outlines the forced closure of their business operations due to the current restrictions. As the scheme cannot be backdated, customers will only receive the benefit from the time they make their application. Customers must meet some specific criteria in relation to the Government Covid-19 requirements to suspend trading.
Once the application is approved, suppliers can then engage with the relevant network operator to include successful applicants in the scheme. The scheme will be open for applications from 1 May 2020 and will be available until at least 31 July 2020. Once the application is approved, suppliers can then engage with the relevant network operator to include successful applicants in the scheme. The scheme will be open for applications from 1 May 2020 and will be available until at least 31 July 2020. Business customers who have already entered the scheme but have now been able to resume trading should notify their suppliers to exit the scheme.
Commenting on the announcement, Aoife MacEvilly, Chairperson of the CRU said: “The CRU fully understands that business owners have a wide range of issues to deal with in these difficult times. Certain businesses that have been required to suspend trading are focused on planning for reopening, but we believe that some of these customers could be missing out on reducing their energy costs during this period of inactivity. Both energy suppliers and network companies have been focused on implementing this new scheme and I would encourage SME customers to contact their suppliers to fully benefit from the supply suspension scheme.”
Customers can find further information on the current Covid-19 protection measures on www.cru.ie or by calling our Customer Care Team on 1890 404 404.