General 42: Electricity & Gas Bills – VAT

Voluntary Aided, Voluntary Controlled and Foundation schools can request to receive fuel at the reduced rate (5%) VAT and no Climate Change Levy and to enable this are required to submit separate customer declaration certificates to the energy supplier for each supply.

This assumes that the use of the fuel by the school is for its non-business provision of education.  Where less than 60% of the use of the fuel is for education then the school must note on the certificate the % of fuel which the school uses for qualifying use (i.e. free education of pupils through the local authority) and the % of fuel used for business purposes (e.g. where the school receives an income from lettings etc.).

When changing suppliers, the school should ensure that the appropriate certificate is submitted to the new supplier.  Once accepted, the declaration should remain valid with that supplier indefinitely.  If there is a change in qualifying use, it is the responsibility of the school to notify the energy supplier by submitting a revised customer declaration certificate.  Any false statement or failure to notify the supplier of a change in qualifying use may make the school liable to a financial penalty.

For other schools, electricity/gas may qualify for 5% VAT and no CCL if electricity consumption is not more than an average rate of 33 kilowatt hours per day or gas consumption is not more than an average of 5 therms or 145 kilowatt hours per day.  This particular concession should be automatically applied by the supplier but please contact them if you believe that you are being overcharged VAT and CCL.

We are aware that some invoices are being sent out by the new energy supplier that do not reflect their supplier address and as such are not valid VAT invoices.  The supplier has confirmed that there is an issue with invoices sent in PDF format and they are working on a fix to their software.  If you have received a PDF copy of an invoice with no supplier address then please contact the energy supplier to request a paper copy.

You should have received the customer declaration certificate in the email welcome pack from the new supplier but if you have not received this then please download a copy of the form from their website or contact them directly to request a copy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sarah/Karen in the VAT team on 01392 382842/382410 or email

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