Schools: Energy

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th September 2022.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Labour, Weaver Vale

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) stakeholders on decreasing energy costs in schools.

Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

A new Energy Bill Relief Scheme was announced on Wednesday 21 September 2022 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This will reduce how much schools need to spend on their energy and give schools greater certainty over their budgets over the winter months.

Any school which has signed a fixed energy contract since April 2022 will be eligible for support if, at the time they signed their contact, wholesale prices for the next six months were expected to be higher than the Government supported price of £211/MWh for electricity, and £75/MWh for gas.

For example, a school which uses 10 MWh of electricity and 22 MWh of gas a month and signed a fixed contract giving them a current monthly energy bill of about £10,000, would receive support based on the difference between expected wholesale prices when they signed their contract and the Government supported price. For a contract signed in July 2022, this could be worth £240/MWh for electricity and £70/MWh for gas, meaning the school receives a discount of £4,000 per month, reducing their original bill by 40%.

Support will also be available to schools on variable, deemed and other contracts. There will be a review in three months’ time to determine how the scheme should best be targeted beyond this period to focus support on vulnerable sectors.

The details of the scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-bill-relief-scheme-help-for-businesses-and-other-non-domestic-customers.

The Department has spoken to a range of organisations representing head teachers and directly to head teachers themselves. Discussions have included issues around the cost of energy in schools and build on the regular engagement the Department has with stakeholders.

Schools can benefit from our Schools Resource Management offer, which includes the Get Help Buying for Schools Service, which provides specialist support, advice, and guidance for schools around their procurement activity.

The guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools/energy.

In addition, the Department has guidance available for schools on managing their energy usage, including a range of top tips to help schools save money, reduce their energy consumption, and increase energy efficiency.

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