Government refers to existing resources in the COVID-19 loan talks


LAST week ICON reported on Energy UK 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 government has now referred the energy industry to their existing package of targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes £330 billion for companies to access loans, a business rates holiday, and help for small firms without insurance.

Energy UK spokesperson told ICON: “In addition to suppliers’ ongoing 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 will continue to work with the Government on how we can ensure financial support for those customers who are most in need.”

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.

According to the Telegraph, in an email to the energy suppliers, Dan Monzani, director of energy security at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said: “I would like to draw your attention to the business support measures announced by HM Treasury on March 17.

“We are aware that energy companies do not always think they are eligible when in fact you may be.”

Last week Energy UK requested that firms provide detailed information of customers’ experiences amidst the pandemic.

According to Telegraph, in a letter to the companies BEIS thanked suppliers for providing evidence on potential risks, saying that the government is still considering these cases.

The discussions between Energy UK and the government are continuing.