The government will provide financial support to smaller companies that suffer from exceptionally high energy bills. The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced this on Friday. Small and medium-sized businesses that use a lot of energy – such as bakers, car body repair shops and market gardeners – can claim the ‘Energy Cost Reimbursement’ (TEK) scheme. The cabinet expects that several tens of thousands of companies will do so. There is a maximum compensation of 160,000 euros per company. The expected costs of the TEK scheme could amount to 3.1 billion euros, according to the ministry. Companies are reimbursed half of what they would have to pay more for their energy, above the threshold price. The TEK scheme is for energy-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises whose energy costs correspond to at least 12.5 percent of turnover. They may have no more than 250 employees and no higher annual turnover than 50 million euros. In addition, the company must annually consume more than 5,000 cubic meters of gas or at least 50,000 kWh of electricity. Also read: Cabinet creates clarity about energy and gas price ceiling The scheme applies for the period from November 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023. The Ministry of Economic Affairs must first coordinate the scheme with the European Commission, partly because of the rules on state aid. As a result, the TEK scheme may not be opened until the second quarter of 2023.