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The government recently announced a new energy support scheme for business customers, replacing the current one, which expires on March 31, 2023. We spoke to Joshua Greaves, Managing Director at Acorn Energy, to understand what this means for businesses.

A new energy scheme for businesses, charities, and the public sector was confirmed (January 9) ahead of the current plan ending in March 2023. The new scheme will be referred to as the Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) and will continue until March 31 2024.

What is the Energy Bill Discount Scheme, and what does it mean?

The Energy Bill Discount Scheme will mean all eligible UK businesses and non-domestic energy users will receive a discount on high energy bills until March 31 2024.

The scheme dramatically scales back discounts for business customers and will only support businesses who sign gas or electricity contracts when wholesale prices are significantly higher than they are today.

For businesses locked into contracts signed before recent substantial falls in the wholesale price, they will be able to manage their costs, and the new scheme will reassure others against the risk of prices rising again.

How will I be charged when the Energy Bill Discount Scheme starts?

To get a discount, the wholesale price on the day of signing the contract must be above 30.2p/kWh for electricity and 10.7p/kWh for gas.

For reference, the wholesale price published last week (week commencing January 23, 2023) was 17.25p/kWh for electricity and 5.71p/kWh for gas. Therefore, to qualify, they effectively must double.

Even if the wholesale market exceeds the new higher benchmark, the discounts available are minimal. The maximum deal for electricity will be 1.961p/kWh and for gas 0.697p/kWh, resulting in higher customer bills.

Some energy-intensive industries will receive higher discounts of 4p/kWh for gas and 8.91p/kWh for electricity. Still, they will only apply to 70% of their energy consumption.

Example 1

A customer signed an electricity contract on January 19, which starts on April 1 2023, for 38p/kWh. The reference wholesale price is below 30.2p/kWh; therefore, no discount is applicable.

Example 2

We see a dramatic rise in gas prices during March 2023, and the wholesale cost increases to 13.2p/kWh. A customer then signs a contract for their gas supply, and as wholesale prices are higher than the benchmark of 10.7p/kWh, they are eligible for the discount.

The discount, however, is only 0.697p/kWh and will not offset the market increase. If you signed contracts at a fully delivered price of 17p/kWh, your supplier would discount your energy invoice to 16.303p/kWh.

Key takeaways

In summary, current wholesale prices are way under the price point where businesses will receive support from the Energy Bill Discount Scheme. And even if they do increase, the discount will not offset those increases. We suggest that customers take advantage of the current lower wholesale prices and lock in contracts, providing price certainty whilst markets remain volatile.

We suggest that customers take advantage of the current lower wholesale prices and lock in contracts, providing price certainty whilst markets remain volatile – Joshua Greaves, Acorn Energy.

You can find further information on the scheme at www.gov.uk.

At Acorn Energy, we understand this can be overwhelming for business owners. Whether you have fixed your renewal this year, are out of contract and are wondering when it would be best to renew, we’re here to help.

We can answer all questions and explain what the latest announcements mean for you and your business. Please get in touch today at 01789 777725 or visit acorn-energy.com so we can help you keep your energy costs low.

About the Author:

Joshua Greaves is the Managing Director at Acorn Energy, offering honest and credible advice to save you time, effort and money on your utilities.

Grenfell James Technology Adoption Index

How does your business perform against others adopting financial tech? Find out with our interactive diagnostic:


How does your business receive invoices?


Invoices are mainly received in paper form


Invoices are mainly received by email


Invoices are emailed then automatically forwarded to a designated mailbox


How are purchase invoices processed?


Invoices are entered manually


Invoices are attached to manually raised invoices


Automated software (e.g. ReceiptBank, 1Tap, HubDoc etc) collates invoices


How are accounts processed?


Using Excel/paper-based


Using Computer-based, offline software


Using cloud-based accountancy software


How often is business data revised?


Data is updated annually


Data is updated quarterly


Data is updated monthly or more often


How is banking updated for your business?


Banking is updated manually


Banking is updated by imports


Banking is updated via a live feed


How are bank payments made?


Bank payments are manual


Bank payments are made using bulk imports


Bank payments are made directly via accounting software


How are bank receipts reconciled?


Receipts are chased and reconciled manually


Receipts are chased and reconciled automatically


A third-party platform is used to chase debts and collect fees


How often are management reports produced?


No reports are provided


Reports are provided but often too late to be valuable


Reports are automated with real-time information

Score 8-12:

Curious Exploration

Your financial technology phase is Curious Exploration

% of respondent businesses are in this phase too.

Switching accountancy systems may seem like an upheaval, but can be much more straightforward than most businesses imagine. From talking to our clients, they have found moving from paper invoicing and desktop-based accounting software to the cloud and apps quickly makes the transition process a worthwhile investment of time. Digital accounting solutions bring in streamlined processes, up-to-date business data and greater confidence in the accuracy of information when making financial decisions.

Grenfell James works with your team to fully assess the needs of your business and minimise the impact of any transitions for solutions we recommend.

Find out more about App Advisory


Score 13-19:

Measured Discovery

Your financial technology phase is Measured Discovery

% of respondent businesses are in this phase too.

Once cloud accountancy software is in place, there’s still plenty of scope to improve your accountancy processes and make sure your business is maximising the benefits of adopting a digital accounting solution. Grenfell James assesses each business to understand how any implemented solutions are being used, identify areas for improvement and the needs of the business overall to support your business goals and achieve success.

Our team of experts can discuss a range of time-saving automation and get different apps and cloud-based solutions talking to create and manage a digital accountancy eco-system to help your business grow.

Find out more about App Advisory


Score 20-24:

Bold Innovation

Your financial technology phase is Bold Innovation

% of respondent businesses are in this phase too.

You know the benefits of accounting technology and the impact it can have on your business goals. If you want to take it a step further, our team can conduct a systematic review of your processes, apps and business goals to ensure your digital accountancy ecosystem is keeping pace with the changing needs of a growing business.