When the impact of Covid-19 slowly began to ease, it wasn’t long before the news of war in Ukraine, and we were faced with new challenges. During this time of uncertainty, we ran a survey on our website to fully understand the biggest concerns of business owners in Ireland. Rising business costs was the biggest concern, closely followed by access to funding and cash flow.
In this guide, we highlight some of the supports available to help mitigate the rise in energy costs in Ireland. The supports you will find here have been collated with the business owner in mind and summarised to help tackle concerns around costs, funding, and cash flow.
If you need more information about a particular support, we recommend you reach out to the supplier of the support directly or talk to your accountant about how they can help.
Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS)
If your business faced higher energy costs from September 2022 to February 2023, the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) might help you. The scheme offers grants of up to 40% of your increased bills, up to a maximum cap of €10,000 per month.
Sole traders, self-employed individuals, companies, and partnerships can claim under this scheme if they meet the qualifying criteria. Businesses that pay for electricity or gas on Pay As You Go basis are also eligible to apply.
Qualifying criteria for the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS)
- Pass the energy costs threshold. Your business must be able to show that its average energy unit price has increased by 50% or more.
- Be tax compliant. Your business must be tax compliant with regard to registration, payments, and filing of tax returns.
- Tax clearance certificate. This can be granted if your tax affairs are in order and usually obtained by your accountant through Revenue Online System (ROS).
- Complete the TBESS registration & claim process. The registration process includes providing details on your business, its electricity or natural gas connections, and confirmations that you are eligible for the scheme.
- Complete the Climate Toolkit 4 Business. In order to register, all applicants must complete the Climate Toolkit 4 Business and acknowledge that they are taking steps to reduce their energy use and environmental impact. To complete this step, you need information on your energy use, water use, waste, and travel. You can get this information on your company bills or online accounting software.
How to claim TBESS
TBESS is claimed through Revenue Online System (ROS)
Revenue is in the process of developing the IT system to enable businesses to make a claim. Please note that it will not be possible to make claims until this portal is available (5th December 2022). However, you can register for the scheme now and start collecting the necessary documentation to support your claim. Get in touch with your accountant if you need help registering for this scheme.
You also need to have energy bills/invoices for the claim period (between September 2022 to February 2023) and you must also have energy bills/invoices for the reference period (the corresponding calendar month in the previous year, i.e. between September 2021 to February 2021) You will be required to maintain these records for a period of 10 years.
Stream 1 – Liquidity measure
Small Firms Investment in Energy Efficiency Scheme
The Small Firms Investment in Energy Efficiency Scheme aims to provide grants through the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) network to companies to encourage investment in energy efficiency technologies or processes that reduce carbon emissions and overall energy costs. The scheme will follow on from the LEO Green for Micro Scheme which currently provides advice and technical support to firms on energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint.
The SEAI Energy Support Fund is a €2,000 voucher that can be used by SMEs to undertake a bespoke energy audit of their business. The SEAI energy audit helps companies save money, reduce their carbon footprint and enhance their brand image.
Non-Domestic Microgen Grant
The Non-Domestic Microgen Grant (NDMG) provides financial assistance, up to €2,400, to help your business, farm, school, community centres, or other non-profit organisation, to install solar PV panels to generate electricity on-site. This technology reduces commercial electricity costs and increases the security of supply while enhancing a positive sustainability image.
Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme
The Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme is provided by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SCBI) and supports qualifying viable Irish businesses and primary producers (farmers/fishers) with access to affordable long-term finance, enabling them to invest in the energy efficiency of their enterprise.
Support Scheme for Renewable Heat
The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a government-funded initiative designed to increase the energy generated from renewable sources in the heat sector. The scheme is open to commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector and other non-domestic heat users.
Electric Vehicle Grant
If you’re thinking about buying an eligible new M1 (passenger car) battery electric vehicle (BEV), you could get an Electric Vehicle Grant of €5,000 from SEAI. Note that approved EVs with a full price of more than €60,000 and less than €14,000 will not receive a grant. The full price of the vehicle to the customer includes all optional extras, paint, delivery and any other chargers but excludes any incentives such as grants or rebates.
Leadership and skills supports for business owners
Green skills programmes
SOLAS aims to boost awareness among employers and employees to ensure they have the skills and expertise needed to meet their environmental sustainability goals. They equip businesses with the skills required to make a positive contribution to sustainability in the workplace.
Climate Toolkit 4 Business
Climate Toolkit 4 Business is a free, web-based tool that helps small businesses understand their carbon footprint. The tool will recommend a tailored action plan and the relevant support options that your business may be eligible for to help reduce its energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Ready from Skillnet Ireland helps prepare your business for a more sustainable future. It offers leadership and skills support for enterprises that want to develop their operational and strategic sustainability.
Green For Micro
Green For Micro is a free two-day programme administered by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO). The programme helps small businesses take the first step towards becoming more sustainable. With the help of a professional green consultant, you’ll save money and improve your environmental impact.
GreenStart is a grant for a training/consultancy/advisory project of up to 7 days carried out by an external Green Service Provider. The grant is intended for businesses that need assistance in order to improve their environmental performance and thereby increase the agility and resilience of their business to climate change impacts.
If your business is struggling with the rise in energy costs, you may be eligible for some supports identified above. Reach out to the provider of the support for more information.
Get in touch with your accountant if you need more information on the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) or if you need help registering and claiming for this scheme – we are here to help.
Larissa is a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) and is the CEO of Accountant Online, which specialises in company formation, company secretarial, annual accounting services, bookkeeping, tax, and payroll services for micro and small companies in Ireland and the UK.