STA, 24 August 2022 - A survey conducted by the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) among its members has shown the high energy costs are threatening the existence of one out of three businesses surveyed. As the situation is to worsen further, the chamber urged the government to set out measures to help the economy in 2023 as soon as possible.
Following a similar appeal issued by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), its counterpart representing large companies, the OZS noted "enormous, even five-fold" increase in electricity and gas bills this year, expressing concerns for 2023.
The survey conducted among 820 entrepreneurs members of the OZS in recent weeks showed that three out of four expect the high energy costs will slash their profits and 32% said the existence of their company was under threat.
Almost one in three (29%) said they would have to scale down their operations and 15% were considering layoffs.
More than half of the surveyed businesses (53%) saw their electricity bills rise by up to 50% on last year, 29% say they went up by 50-100% and the remaining 18% are now paying 100-500% higher electricity bills.
As many as 69% of those surveyed have not yet signed contracts for power supply in 2023.
When it comes to gas bills, 59% reported an increase of up to 50%, 22% saw their bills go up by 50-100% and the remaining 19% reported a 100-500% surge.
Based on the survey, the OZS estimates the capping of prices for small businesses will cover most small entrepreneurs, but with larger consumers the government package to help businesses cope with high electricity and gas prices would not suffice.
The OZS urged the government to follow up with a more extensive scheme, as well as job-retention schemes to be able to furlough their workers or put them on shortened work time, which they say proved effective during the Covid-19 crisis.
Prime Minister Robert Golob has announced a meeting with business will be held within a fortnight to discuss the situation and solutions for next year. "If this year 40 million euro in aid was needed, it could come up to a billion next year," Golob said earlier this week.