Schemes to help very small businesses pay their energy bills 2023

In 2023, new public subsidies designed to reduce and pay energy bills (gas and electricity) for businesses will complement the schemes introduced in 2022.

Public aid 2022 extended to 2023

To pay their 2022 energy bills, very small businesses were entitled to the tariff shield, which kept the rise in electricity prices to 4%.

Introduced in 2022 and extended until 2023, the gas and electricity bill payment assistance scheme, which aims among other things to avoid the shutdown of essential production, helps very small businesses pay their bills of up to 4 million euros.

Complementary devices for 2023 energy bills

From January 6, 2023, very small businesses will pay no more than €280/MWh on average for electricity. This gives them the opportunity to renegotiate their contracts with their energy suppliers.

The tariff shield remains in force, but now contains the increase in electricity prices at 15% instead of 4%, from February 1 to December 31, 2023. To benefit from this measure, companies must have no more than 10 employees, sales of less than two million euros and an electricity meter with a maximum rating of 36 kVA.

In January 2023, the electricity shock absorber was introduced to protect energy-hungry companies with higher energy contracts. In concrete terms, the government will cover part of the bill (around 20%) as soon as the kilowatt-hour exceeds €0.35. Eligible companies are those with fewer than 250 employees, who do not benefit from the tariff shield, and whose meters have a power rating greater than 36 kVA.

It is still possible to apply for assistance with the payment of gas and electricity bills once the benefit of the electricity cushion has been taken into account. A simulator is available on to find out if your company is eligible.

Until this summer, payment facilities will be available to small and medium-sized businesses that request them from their energy suppliers. If they are experiencing temporary cash-flow difficulties, they can have their bills spread over several months.

For taxes and social security contributions, the French government and Urssaf offer small and medium-sized businesses deferred payment of their charges. These deferrals do not apply to VAT, ancillary taxes or withholding tax payments.

Since March 1, 2023, a guarantee fund has been in place for large-scale gas and electricity consumers. The "energy" public guarantee fund enables them, whatever their size or sales, to apply to banks, insurance companies or finance companies for state-guaranteed guarantees for energy supply contracts.

Recourse in the event of a dispute

Very small businesses can contact the national energy ombudsman free of charge to resolve disputes with their suppliers. SMEs, on the other hand, can refer their disputes to the Médiateur des Entreprises.

All companies encountering difficulties have the option of being assisted by a departmental council advisor. The advisor's role is to work with managers to find solutions adapted to each situation.