On 1 May, the CRU set out the details of its decision to implement a temporary supply suspension scheme for eligible SME electricity and gas customers due to the impact of the pandemic.
It said that the unique and extraordinary circumstances of the current situation require a modification to the current approach to network charging. The objective for the scheme is to:
- Avoid unnecessary disconnections and reconnections for SMEs.
- Reduce the charges incurred by SMEs whose premises are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Facilitate SMEs rapidly returning to operation once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
- Support energy suppliers who would continue to be liable for related use of system and energy charges during COVID-19 restrictions.
- Mitigate the risk of bad debt and liquidity constraints for the energy sector during and post the COVID-19 period.
The regulator considered that it is appropriate to facilitate SMEs be able to have the financial advantages of a physical disconnection where such disconnections are not possible during the current travel restrictions.