Beyond the discount: how can businesses manage energy bills? 

19 March 2024

Aerial view of London

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) was launched last year by the Government to provide continued support for businesses with the high cost of energy. The 12-month scheme began on the 1st April 2023, and if your business was eligible, you would have received a per-unit discount on the wholesale gas and electricity part of your bill.

The discount was originally put in place to follow on from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), which supported businesses and organisations between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023 when energy bills first started their unprecedented rise. However, now that energy prices have somewhat stabilised, no future schemes have been announced by the Government. It means when EBDS ends on the 31st March 2024, businesses will receive no further government support and energy bills will return to “normal”.

In today’s energy climate that means wholesale energy prices that are well above what they were before the summer of 2022 (even though they are declining), and a market that remains fragile and susceptible to fluctuations. Learn more about current market trends in our Quarterly Report.

So, what happens next?

If your business is receiving a discount as part of EBDS, you will stop receiving this discount after the 31st March 2024.

Since the financial support from EBDS was a lot lower than its predecessor – EBRS – there are some businesses that may not feel the impact when it ends. However, given the tough economic climate of the last 12 months and the uncertainty of what’s to come, the prospect of higher energy bills is still a worrying one for many businesses.

As well as juggling operational costs in a tough economic climate, high energy bills put increasing pressure on businesses. When this happens, budgets often get diverted away from long-term investments and net zero strategies get stowed away for a later date. But rather than simply worry and wait, how can businesses prepare for when the EBDS ends? And what steps can be taken to mitigate any increase in costs while keeping net zero plans alive?

1. Check your energy contract

If you’re concerned about energy price rises it’s always worth reviewing – and revising – your energy plan to make sure it’s the right one for your business. We’re committed to helping businesses move closer to a net zero future with tailored plans that fit what’s best for you. As energy prices continue to change, if you're not in a contract and would prefer the simplicity of Fixed Price Plans to give you better budget control, please speak to us – we can help you get a business energy quote and fix your prices for peace of mind.

2. Spread the cost of your bills    

Even simple steps like paying by Direct Debit can help put you in better control of your energy bills. Not only does this help spread your costs, you could save up to 7% off the cost of your energy*. If you haven’t already, you can set up a Direct Debit easily online.

3. Track your energy use

If you’re happy with your contract, the next best thing is to better control how much energy you use and when. To help businesses do exactly that, we have a range of tools to increase the visibility of your energy use.

Everything from having an online account and installing a smart meter to using Energy360, our free energy management platform, give you the power to control your energy use and spending. While an online account is the easiest way to action things like submitting meter readings and checking bills, Energy360 allows you to analyse consumption at individual sites so you can find ways to reduce energy use and lower your bills.

4. Get wider support

If you worried and think your business would benefit from additional support, the important thing to do is reach out. We’ve already contacted those businesses that are eligible for our energy support fund. But for those that aren’t, there are other ways to make your energy bills more manageable – don’t suffer in silence. Instead speak to us so we can find ways to help you manage your energy bills such as setting up an affordable payment plan. We know times remain challenging for businesses right now – so we’re here to help.

> Help for struggling businesses


*If you agreed your contract directly with us, the 7% discount will be shown as a discount line on your bill.  If you agreed your contract through a third party broker, the discount is included in the standing charge and unit rate. Customers who move to our variable prices, whose variable prices have changed, those we've price matched, or where another supplier’s energy agreement has transferred to us, do not qualify for a Direct Debit discount.

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