Energy: government simplifies aid to SMEs

According to Bersi, it is simpler and more extensive. Recently, the government announced a series of revisions to support measures for businesses and especially SMEs, with the aim of compensating for the increase in energy prices. Earlier devices were very complex and limited. The main change is expanded and simplified access to the help desk for paying energy bills, which will be available until December 31, 2022.

Aid is limited to 4 million euros. However, for the companies that require the most energy, special conditions are given with assistance of up to 50 million euros, and even up to 150 million euros in some cases. Eligibility criteria have been expanded: now, during the aid application period (September and/or October 2022), the energy price must increase by 50% compared to the average price paid in 2021, and energy costs must exceed 3%. 2021 turnover.

As for the list of supporting documents to be submitted, it has melted down to include only the energy invoices, the RIB, the aid calculation file available at and the declaration of honor. A simulator, also available on the site, allows you to estimate the amount of assistance an entrepreneur can expect.

Electric dumper on January 1

Another innovation, the electricity buffer, will come into force on January 1, 2023. It is intended for SMEs (fewer than 250 employees, turnover of 50 million euros and balance sheet of 43 million) and all communities not entitled to tariff protection. and non-competitive state enterprises. On average, it should support about 20% of the total electricity bill.

In concrete terms, the company will take no action other than confirming SME status to its energy supplier: the aid will be integrated directly into the electricity bill and the state will compensate the suppliers. This will be credited to the aid accountshare energy» the average annual price of the contract, i.e. the cost of electricity routing on the network (network tariff or Turpe) and excluding taxes.

Along with these new features, some public schemes remain unchanged and will continue in 2023. This is primarily a matter of the tariff shield: the tariff for individuals remains available to 1.5 million VSEs with less than 10 employees and a turnover of 2 million euros. and having an electricity meter with a capacity of less than 36 kVA. In addition, all companies will continue to benefit from the reduction of the tax on electricity (TICFE) to the European legal minimum and the ARENH mechanism, which allows a large part of electricity to be obtained at a fixed price of €42/MW. , more than the market price.

It’s hard to find”

In terms of state aid to companies against the backdrop of rising energy prices”devices are very advanced and difficult to navigateCCI recognizes Pierre-Olivier Viac, regional sustainable development coordinator of the Paris-IDF office. The latter recently participated in a round table dedicated to the challenges of vigilance and the energy transition for SMEs organized by Ajpme, the Association of Journalists specializing in SMEs. Several entrepreneurs said that the energy crisis has made it difficult for them to operate and receive assistance.

For example, artisan glassmaker Stephane Rivoal, head of Reine Astrid (about thirty employees), and artisan chocolate maker Christophe Bertrand, two entrepreneurs who lacked the internal resources to manage administrative affairs, were caught off guard. . The chocolate maker realized the scale of the problem when it saw several thousand euros being deducted from its electricity bills in August and September. The second entrepreneur doubled his gas bill in May… he couldn’t reach his supplier.

I called, the service was busy, they didn’t even know“Recalls Stéphane Rivoal. Frank Augustin, CEO of Transports Routiers d’Alsace (60 employees), quickly considered the impact of the crisis on his business: “Our margins are low, so we have precise dashboards because the smallest impact can be important“, he explains. Within two months, a tank of diesel went from about 40 to 70,000 euros. “This resulted in a loss of 250,000 euros per month“, – says the entrepreneur who had to raise prices. He received state aid, but he is the only one. “As far as I can tell, I’m not eligible“, Christophe Bertrand explains. As for Stephane Rivoal, who approaches his accountant, the complexity of the process discourages him.

In the services delivered within CCIs, “80% of business requests today are due to rising energy pricesPierre-Olivier Viac confirms. The CCI network advises companies on energy contracts. “Many of them are updated and the positive side will come from here. We check with contractors whether their contracts are acceptable in terms of market rates“, he clarifies. Another mission is to guide companies in the panorama of public assistance. In addition to welcoming entrepreneurs, CCIs have been tasked by the government to implement a proactive approach towards SMEs to inform them of the assistance they are eligible for, as during the pandemic. .

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