Coronavirus business tips & energy saving advice

Help for your business during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK crisis.

Business help and support during the Coronavirus outbreak

In line with Government advice, British Gas like many businesses across the UK, are adapting to our staff working from home. This takes some adjustment and we have pulled together some practical help and advice on what can be done in your business during this crisis.

Government support for businesses

The Government has announced support measures covering tax, grants and loans for businesses and the self-employed. For a number of the schemes, you don't need to do anything to benefit, for others you need to apply. Eligibility varies, so read the Guidance on Covid-19: support for businesses to see if your business can benefit.

If your business has closed

A woman uses a heating thermostat to check her hotel room is at the right temperature

If your business has been instructed to close, check the government list or the impact of the crisis means that you need to temporarily close your business:

  • Adjust heating to frost protection and limit use of lighting to key areas
  • You may want to leave on alarms, security and CCTV equipment
  • IT equipment like monitors and printers can be switched off
  • Frequent-use clothing could be washed and stored for re-opening
  • If you still have access and it's safe to do so supply us with a meter reading, this means you'll receive an accurate bill and only pay for the energy you use. If you have an online account, you can sign up for a meter read reminders by email
  • If you pay by BACs or cheque, you could also arrange to set up a variable Direct Debit using your online account. This means once you have given us an accurate meter read we'll only bill you for the energy you use. You'll also get a Direct Debit discount
  • All surfaces wiped with relevant cleaners and disinfected. See government advice on cleaning
  • You may be able to benefit from the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • For small and medium sized business conserving cash is key. Get customers to pay any overdue bills. What suppliers' invoices can you clear realistically? If you need more time to pay bills ask your suppliers for more time in the current climate. We have information available on our help to pay page

Are you an essential service and staying open?

If your business is remaining open, as it provides an essential service to the public or your business can't be operated by staff working from home, you should:

  • Tell us if your business is supporting vulnerable people in the community, we can then prioritise your gas and electricity supply and respond quickly if you have a heating or hot water emergency. For your business gas and electricity supply you can do this by completing our form (you will need your customer account number to hand, which can be found on your bill) or using webchat. For any services relating to your business boiler heating and hot water please send us an email gascustomersupport@britishgas.co.uk or call us on 0333 202 9844*. Your business is likely to be supporting vulnerable people if you are a charity or not for profit organisation and already paying our reduced VAT. Check the business list
  • Where possible continue to supply us with a meter reading, this means you'll receive an accurate bill and only pay for the energy you use. If you have an online account, you can sign up for a meter read reminders by email and view your bills.
  • Set up a variable Direct Debit using your online account. This means once you have given us an accurate meter read we'll only bill you for the energy you use. You'll also get a Direct Debit discount
  • Can areas of your business be shut down as they aren't being used? This will also help reduce your energy consumption.
  • Increase regularity of cleaning around your business - see the government's cleaning advice
  • Offer support and flexibility to your employees if they need to leave to shop for necessities or ensure children are looked after
  • Offer your workers to come up with new ways of working - for example sitting 2 metres away from each other and staggering breaks so not too many people are gathering in kitchen or the break areas
Hands picking up a carton of milk from a commercial fridge

If you run a cafe or restaurant

  • You may want to leave on fridges and freezers during any closures
  • You could sell any perishable foods to other takeaways which may be remaining open
  • Alternatively, you could turn your services into a take away which could help to support NHS staff and other key workers at this important time as well as your local community
  • If you do decide to offer a take away service, consider cutting down the menu to make it more simple
  • Reduce the number of staff you need at any one time, to help stop transmission. You could apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you and your employees both agree. This is known as "on furlough"
Restaurant lighting above wooden tables and chairs

Re-organise your business and help others

A cashier presents a card machine at a till

As UK's towns shut down and close for the outbreak, use this time to constructively think about:

  • How can your business support the vulnerable during the outbreak. Could you volunteer to help the vulnerable or the elderly? See groups such as Good Sam and the Covid-19 mutual aid group
  • Do you need to re-organise your space be it a shop, office or restaurant?
  • Could you use the time to complete any DIY, make any refurbishments or improvements?
  • Would you be able to sell any used items or IT equipment to bring in extra cash? Maybe you could use eBay, Gumtree or Facebook. Do remember to practice Social distancing and disinfect any items before you sell or buy.
  • Set up a Business continuity plan. These plans are essential for making businesses more resilient and will help you plan for times of disaster so you can keep your business going

10 ways to save business energy when working from home

Working from home energy saving tips
1. Remember to switch off all of your electrical equipment when you take a break or finish for the day
2. Now that you're spending more time at home, it's more important than ever to make sure that your home is well-insulated. Minimise heat loss around doors, windows and pipes and keep windows closed in cold weather
3. Keep your thermostat set as low as possible in winter - reducing the temperature by just 1ºC can cut your heating bills by 10%
4. Mark out the boundaries of your home office and reduce heating in the areas that you don't use during the day. There's no point heating your bedroom all day long if you won't be using it
5. Don't forget the money-saving benefits of an extra jumper
6. Don't fill the kettle up every time you boil it - boiling just enough for one cup can make a big difference
7. Use energy-saving light bulbs - they may be a bit more expensive initially, but they will save you money over time
8. On the odd occasion when the sun shows its face, make use of the natural light wherever possible
9. Ensure that equipment purchased has USEPA (Energy Star) standard or an equivalent. If your computer does have this facility, make sure it's activated
10. Don't leave any office equipment on overnight. Avoid leaving any electrical equipment in 'stand by' mode. It will still use energy so switch it off instead
Working from home energy saving tips
1. Remember to switch off all of your electrical equipment when you take a break or finish for the day
2. Now that you're spending more time at home, it's more important than ever to make sure that your home is well-insulated. Minimise heat loss around doors, windows and pipes and keep windows closed in cold weather
3. Keep your thermostat set as low as possible in winter - reducing the temperature by just 1ºC can cut your heating bills by 10%
4. Mark out the boundaries of your home office and reduce heating in the areas that you don’t use during the day. There's no point heating your bedroom all day long if you won't be using it
5. Don't forget the money-saving benefits of an extra jumper
6. Don't fill the kettle up every time you boil it - boiling just enough for one cup can make a big difference
7. Use energy-saving light bulbs - they may be a bit more expensive initially, but they will save you money over time
8. On the odd occasion when the sun shows its face, make use of the natural light wherever possible
9. Ensure that equipment purchased has USEPA (Energy Star) standard or an equivalent. If your computer does have this facility, make sure it's activated
10. Don't leave any office equipment on overnight. Avoid leaving any electrical equipment in 'stand by' mode. It will still use energy so switch it off instead

Coronavirus business advice resources

Useful pages and websites
British Gas business Coronavirus update: FAQs and business energy advice.
Difficulty paying your energy bill? Read our Help to pay page.
Hot water or heating not working? Boiler breakdowns for when your hot water or heating are not working and common checks you can complete before contacting us.
CBI Coronavirus hub - daily webinars from the Confederation of British Industry to support businesses through the Coronavirus outbreak.
National Federation of self-employed and small businesses guide to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed.
HM Government's Business support website.
Gov.uk Covid-19 Support for businesses.
Government guidance on what non-essential businesses should remain closed
Citizens Advice Small Business Guide - Support for business and lists the available grants
Coronavirus update from the Financial Conduct Authority working with the government, the Bank of England, the Payment Systems Regulator and financial firms.
Ofgem on the Coronavirus and your energy supply
Useful pages and websites
British Gas business Coronavirus update: FAQs and business energy advice.
Difficulty paying your energy bill? Read our Help to pay page.
Hot water or heating not working? Boiler breakdowns for when your hot water or heating are not working and common checks you can complete before contacting us.
CBI Coronavirus hub - daily webinars from the Confederation of British Industry to support businesses through the Coronavirus outbreak.
National Federation of self-employed and small businesses guide to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed.
HM Government's Business support website.
Gov.uk Covid-19 Support for businesses.
Government guidance on what non-essential businesses should remain closed
Citizens Advice Small Business Guide - Support for business and lists the available grants
Coronavirus update from the Financial Conduct Authority working with the government, the Bank of England, the Payment Systems Regulator and financial firms.
Ofgem on the Coronavirus and your energy supply

* We may record calls to help improve our service to you. Calls to 0800 numbers are free from mobiles and landlines. Calls to 0330 / 0333 numbers will cost you no more than 01 or 02 numbers from landlines and mobiles and may be included with your call package if you get 'inclusive minutes'. Text messages are charged at your standard message rate and may be included in your call package.