In view of the failure of the business assistance scheme set up at the beginning of the year to help companies cope with the energy crisis, Bercy has decided to review the existing rules. The Minister of the Economy and Finance has extended the conditions for access to the bill payment assistance scheme for large-scale gas and electricity consumers.
Protecting businesses from rising energy prices
With the war in Ukraine continuing to disrupt Russian gas supplies to France, and part of France's nuclear fleet unavailable due to corrosion problems, this winter promises to be a particularly costly one in terms of energy. From July 2021 to July 2022, gas and electricity prices have already risen by 38% across Europe, and are set to continue rising.
Limiting the carbon footprint of electronic devices and oversized files, shifting production to night and weekend hours, limiting heating to 19 degrees in buildings, cutting business travel budgets... these are just some of the solutions to be considered. Against this backdrop of inflation, companies are preparing to reduce their energy consumption, especially as they will be the first to be subject to rationing should the need arise.
Aware of the difficulties encountered by companies faced with rising gas and electricity bills, the French government announced on September 6 that it was easing the conditions for access to existing aid.
An expanded and extended system
" From now on, any company - small business, SME or retailer - that loses money because of the rise in gas and electricity prices, even if it's only for one month, will be financially compensated," announced Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on BFMTV.
It has to be said that the aid proposed for companies that are major consumers of gas and electricity as part of the resilience plan presented by the government last March was not conclusive. The main measure concerned a subsidy of up to €25 million for a company that had suffered an operating loss. However, due to overly restrictive access conditions, only 500,000 euros of the 3 billion euros budgeted were disbursed.
To increase the number of beneficiaries of this aid, Bercy has abolished the threshold of a 30% drop in EBITDA over a quarter, a condition previously required to unlock the subsidy, and extended the scheme until December 31, 2022.
" A simple drop in EBITDA, calculated on a monthly basis compared to 2021, will now be sufficient to meet this criterion," the ministry says in a statement.
This new announcement has prompted a reaction from the Syndicat des indépendants.
" This is excellent news for our very small businesses, which had no real access to the previous system because it was so complex ," said Marc Sanchez, General Secretary of the SDI, in a press release.