Energy: three new aid plans for companies and communities

Energy: three new aid plans for companies and communities

Elisabeth Borne presented in particular the “electric shock absorber” for VSEs and SMEs excluded from the tariff shield.

Amid soaring energy prices, the government on Thursday unveiled new mechanisms to help businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, pay their bills.

12,000 million euros will be dedicated to it, a “fully financed” endowment, explained the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, during a press conference. 7 billion in particular will come from the “annuities” imposed on energy companies as part of an exceptional tax. Three billion also come from an endowment already endowed with existing aid and that has been used very little. Finally, the remaining 1,500 million euros have been allocated to the safety net for local authorities.

In this presentation, Elisabeth Borne highlighted the “electric shock absorber” for VSEs and SMEs excluded from the tariff shield (associations or companies with less than 10 employees) due to the power of their electric meter, greater than 36 kilovolt-amperes. What many energy-intensive SMEs such as bakeries rule out.

Savings of 120 euros per MWh on average

This automatic buffer, which concerns small businesses but also communities, associations, hospitals and universities, will aim to cover part of the electricity bill. According to Bruno le Maire, it will allow customers to “save an average of 120 euros per MWh”.

Specifically, the State will cover “50% of the difference between the price of the contract […] and a reference price, set at around 325 euros per megawatt”, explains Agnès Pannier-Runacher, minister responsible for the Energy Transition.

It will be automatically and directly decompted from the electricity bill of the company without what is necessary in faire the demand, and it will concern all the contracts left signed, even though it will be for the purpose of the year.

As it is State aid, the mechanism must be approved by the European Commission, in charge of verifying that it does not harm competition within the Union, a green light that France will win “with certainty” for SMEs, according to Bruno Le Maire.

Pending the implementation of the buffer in January 2023, these companies will benefit from a simplified invoice counter from the end of 2022. “There is no time to wait”, stressed the Prime Minister.

New criteria for ETIs and large companies

For TSIs and large companies, the eligibility of aid has been simplified, it has been considered too complex and therefore little used.

  • Duplication of the aid ceiling: they can reach up to 100 or 150 million euros. A company will now be able to receive aid as soon as its bill increases by 50%, compared to doubling today.
  • The EBITDA loss criterion is eliminated and replaced by a simple drop in EBITDA. On this drop in EBITDA, the European Commission wants to maintain a 40% drop criterion, the government tries to obtain 30%.
  • The aid will also cover heating and cooling costs, in addition to electricity and gas costs.

For local authorities, an amendment to the 2023 budget will provide for “the extension and expansion of the safety net by the year 2023,” announced Elisabeth Borne. This device will add to the shock absorber of electricity prices.

Simplified counter

“We know that there are special cases: they will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis so that no company in crisis is left out,” adds Bruno Le Maire.

Regarding gas, all companies, VSE/SMEs such as ETI and large companies, will continue to have access to the simplified window under the same criteria. To submit their request, each company must go to the DGFIP website and complete a simplified form.

Olivier Chicheportiche BFM Business Journalist

#Energy #aid #plans #companies #communities

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