As a care home owner or manager, you’ll know how challenging it can feel to provide high-quality care while balancing your books – especially during the current energy crisis. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to weather this tricky time alone. In this post, we’ve pulled together details of some of the financial support and resources that are currently available.
The new Energy Bills Discount Scheme
(April ‘23-March ’24)
The government’s Energy Bills Discount scheme has now replaced the UK Energy Bill relief scheme, and could provide some help with your energy bills until 31st March 2024. Through the scheme, non-domestic energy customers automatically receive a baseline discount from May.
The scheme is open to private and public organisations, including care homes that are:
- On existing fixed price contracts agreed on/after 1st December 2021
- Signing new fixed price contracts
- On deemed/out of contract or variable tariffs, or on flexible purchase (or similar) contracts
- On variable ‘Day Ahead Index’ (DAI) tariffs (Northern Ireland only)
If your care home is eligible, you’ll receive a per-unit discount to your energy bill, subject to a maximum discount. This will be phased in as wholesale prices exceed certain threshold prices:
- Electricity: £19.61 per megawatt hour (MWh) with a price threshold of £302 per MWh.
- Gas: £6.97 per megawatt hour (MWh) a price threshold of £107 per MWh
- The discount is calculated as the difference between the wholesale price associated with an energy contract, and the price threshold.
- The discount is phased in when the contract’s wholesale price exceeds the floor price, until the total discount per MWh reaches the maximum discount for that fuel.
The discount is only applied to the wholesale element of your bill, so the final per unit price will differ because it includes network charges and operating costs. For this reason, it’s still worth shopping around to find the best deal.
For more about the scheme, visit gov.uk/guidance/energy-bills-discount-scheme
Warm Home Discount scheme
The Warm Home Discount scheme (sometimes called a cold weather payment) gives eligible households a one-off discount on their energy bills during the winter months. Some energy suppliers also pass on this discount to care homes, so it’s worth checking in with your supplier to see if you’re eligible.
It’s also worth mentioning that the scheme works differently depending on where you’re based – England and Wales, or Scotland. Again, your supplier should be able to help.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme
The government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme provides energy supplier funding towards energy efficiency improvements in homes and other buildings, including care homes. It’s designed to reduce carbon emissions and improve a building’s energy efficiency, which in your care home could improve comfort for residents and staff alike.
It’s important to note that ECO4 is not a grant scheme. It is up to the energy companies to determine which retrofit projects they choose to fund, the level of funding they provide, and the Retrofit Coordinator and installers that they choose to work with.
If you’re eligible for support under the ECO scheme, you could be looking at fully funded improvements including new insulation, boiler or heating system upgrades, and other measures to help reduce energy consumption and cut your energy bills.
To see if your care home qualifies for ECO4 upgrades, contact your energy company directly to find out if they may be able to help you.
Local council energy grants and business programmes
In a similar way to the ECO scheme, local councils and energy companies sometimes offer energy efficiency grants directly to care homes. These grants are made to help you cover the cost of important energy-saving upgrades like insulation, more efficient lighting, and new heating systems.
Similarly, some local councils offer a Business Energy Efficiency Programme, which provides advice and funding to help businesses, including care homes, reduce their energy consumption and costs.
Eligibility for these programmes and schemes will vary depending on where you’re based, as well as specific circumstances. Check in with your local council or energy supplier to see what support is available.
Further support with care home energy costs
If you’re concerned about your care home’s energy costs and you’d like to explore other ways you can reduce your energy bills, JLA’s experts are always here with guidance and strategies, so please feel free to get in touch. We also recently launched our energy savings hub, which offers practical tips on ways to save.