Since the launch of the EBSS (Energy Bill Support Scheme) earlier in the year, the NFU has been campaigning for this support to be extended to off-grid homes which rely on alternative sources of fuel such as tanked gas, heating oil or solid fuel.
We delivered a clear message to government – further support on energy, and clarity on the EBSS is needed now.
We met with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to highlight the impact this was having on farmers, with tens of thousands of farmhouses left out of the EBSS support package because they don't have access to mains gas. This comes at a time when farmers are already facing soaring inflation and increased input costs, on top of an almost 250% increase in the average price of heating oil.
We also ensured MPs were briefed on how the lack of certainty around energy support affects the agricultural community and called on the need for clarity on how farmhouses, which serve as both domestic households and businesses, will be treated under the EBSS.
The government has announced a £400 discount which will apply to members who don't have a domestic electricity supply separate to the business supply to their farms.
A further £200 alternative fuel payment has also been announced for those who use oil for domestic heating.
The majority of eligible households will receive payment automatically in February, but those that don't have a relationship with an electricity supplier will need to apply, with an application portal due to open in January.
While the announcement on payment support currently only applies to homes, BEIS are also conducting research into non-domestic buildings, including agricultural businesses, who are dependent on alternative fuels, with a view to the results informing future support schemes.
We're encouraging members to take part in the government's short online survey before it closes on 6 January 2023.
Take the survey: BEIS | Survey for organisations (Energy Support Scheme).
Feedback from members will help ensure farmers get the support they need for their business.