The CRU’s response remains vague as to what it can or will do for SME’s threatened with disconnection by their energy suppliers.
In its response the CRU stated that it’s aware of the challenges that customers are facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it has been “actively exploring options to assist both domestic and business customers in terms of protection measures.
“As you may be aware” it stated, “the CRU has put in place protection measures for domestic electricity and gas customers, including a moratorium on disconnections until at least 16 June and increased the level of emergency credit for gas prepay meters during this period.
“In regard to business customers, the CRU is developing a scheme that is designed to assist small to medium enterprises, which have been affected by Covid-19 restrictions, to manage their energy costs.
“The CRU is currently engaging with the Transmission System Operators (ESB Networks, EirGrid and Gas Networks Ireland) and electricity and gas suppliers on the most effective framework to deliver this scheme. Throughout this process, the CRU has kept the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment updated on the progress of the design and requirements for the implementation of this scheme.
“Customers and relevant stakeholders will be notified as appropriate when this policy is in place,” it concluded.
“The CRU needs to give specific guidance and direction to utility providers as soon as possible,” Niall Collins told Drinks Industry Ireland, “This guidance and direction must include payment breaks. Presently businesses have zero cashflow and utility providers demanding payment is unsustainable.
“For business a large portion of utility charges comprised of standing charges and public service obligations; for many this amounts to well into the thousands per month so Government needs to provide a payment break from these charges also.”
Meanwhile the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has launched a free online training resource to help businesses reduce their energy costs. The SEAI Energy Academy can help lower energy bills by as much as 10%, potentially even more, by educating businesses and employees on changing energy use behaviours and effective energy management.
SEAI Energy Academy
The Academy allows employees to upskill on energy efficiency and avail of tailored online training that can lead to important business cost savings.
“We realise that businesses are facing very significant challenges right now with many looking for opportunities to reduce their cost base,” said the SEAI Energy Academy’s Chief Executive William Walsh, commenting on the launch of the Academy, “SEAI is here to help businesses on their energy efficiency journey, helping them identify energy-saving opportunities and to implement those changes. We planned the SEAI Energy Academy as an online resource so it’s available to all businesses when and where suits them best. This might be additionally beneficial for those businesses currently working from home or who are planning for the resumption of normal activities, hopefully in the not too distant future.”
The online modules and courses are quick and easy to complete and cover topics such as: Energy and Climate Change; Business Energy Efficiency; Lighting; Heating; Refrigeration; Electric Vehicles; Electricity Bill Analysis; Behavioural Change and Home Energy Efficiency. Further modules are planned which will make it a vital business energy resource into the future and these will be added throughout the year.
On completing a course, learners will receive a Certificate of Completion from SEAI demonstrating a company’s commitment to educating staff about energy.
These courses are also a great way of engaging, upskilling and retaining staff, states the SEAI.
The Academy is now available on www.seai.ie/energyacademy.
Businesses can also register for a webinar briefing on the new training resource which takes place on Tuesday, 28th April at 12.30pm.