Energy UK and the government in loan talks to help customers struggling due to COVID-19

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ENERGY UK is leading conversation with the government on behalf of utility companies about setting up a loan scheme to help their business and household customers struggling amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The talks follow industry-wide concerns about the effect of the epidemic on their operations as growing pressure mounts on their customers to keep up with their bills.

The loan is viewed as a measure that could allow suppliers to offer breathing space for more customers without putting their operations in jeopardy at these exceptional circumstances.

An Energy UK spokesperson commented to ICON: “In addition to suppliers’ efforts to provide additional help and support for customers in vulnerable circumstances and those on prepayment meters, there are also going to be many more households and businesses than usual who will struggle to pay for essential services like energy bills.

“On behalf of the industry, we are leading discussions with the Government on what additional financial support could be required to help these customers over the coming months.”   

Any specific amount regarding the loan has not been confirmed but one of the companies involved in the talks has suggested that £100m might be required.

Earlier this month the government and the energy industry issued a joint statement about the new emergency measures to support customers during the pandemic.

At the time of the government also recognised the challenges COVID-19 would pose on the suppliers as well and announced £330 billion for companies to access loans, a business rates holiday, and help for small firms without insurance.

Discussions regarding the loan scheme are still ongoing and the government is yet to respond formally.

The story was first reported by the Financial Times