Energy costs at Coldharbour Mill

Energy costs soar for the Heritage sector

The costs of energy bills have gone up substantially for all of us in the last 6 months and the heritage sector is no different. Coldharbour Mill are just one of many affected museums and we have encountered a massive rise of 360%. 

The winter period is always extremely challenging for the charity, with less visitors we see our income drop, and that provides serious challenges to our cash flow, the situation will become self-sustaining once we get the seasonal visitors in numbers from April, however the next year will be challenging in the current financial climate.

A survey by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) has shown that a fifth of the museums that responded are considering reducing opening hours and 40% have or plan to scale down their activities to cope with rising energy bills. A small number said they were at risk of insolvency over the crisis, although 70% said they had reserves to get them through the short term.
Association of Independent Museums
The soaring cost of energy bills could be more of a risk to the UK’s museums than the Covid-19 pandemic, Museums Association (MA) director Sharon Heal has warned.
Association of Independent Museums

Energy Bill Relief Scheme 2023

The UK’s museum sector will continue to receive an enhanced discount on its energy bills until 31 March 2024, the UK Government has confirmed.

Eligible areas of work include museum activities, library and archive activities, operation of historical sites and buildings and similar visitor attractions, and botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities.

These businesses will receive a discount reflecting the difference between a price threshold and the relevant wholesale price. The price threshold for the scheme will be £99/MWh for gas and £185/MWh for electricity.


Source – Museums Association


The NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) have been working on a long-term solution to the energy crisis including:

  1. Targeted support. All high-energy use charities to get enhanced support, such as hospices, refuges, social care and community leisure providers.
  2. A fairer solution for charities. Government should bring innovators, energy leaders and the charity sector together, exploring options for a social/community tariffs as well as energy caps for voluntary organisations.
  3. A reduction in energy usage overall. The Budget in March must cover energy reduction measures, including better plans and incentives for introducing renewable energy and immediate solutions like insulation.
  4. A decrease in the UK’s vulnerability. The government must prevent this happening again by lowering the impact of external shocks that affect energy supply and drive up costs.

Read more on the NCVO website below.