Government’s energy bill support going unclaimed

energy bill

Discounts on energy bills were due to start on 1 October for everyone in the UK, regardless of the size of the household, with a reduction of £66 or £67 a month between October and March

Government energy bill support worth as much as £400 over the winter is not reaching many households who use prepayment meters, according to data from a payments company.

Households with prepayment energy meters are entitled to vouchers giving them monthly discounts, but only half of the expected number have been used so far, according to PayPoint, which handles top-up payments in shops across the UK.

Discounts on energy bills were due to start on 1 October for everyone in the UK, regardless of the size of the household, with a reduction of £66 or £67 a month between October and March.

Energy companies will apply the discounts automatically to bills for households who pay via monthly bills, but users of many prepayment meters, who are generally poorer, must actively claim the discounts.

PayPoint had expected to process 800,000 vouchers in October, worth a total of £52.8m. However, the business said only £27m had been redeemed, according to figures first reported by BBC News.

Under the scheme households with a traditional “non-smart” prepayment meter are meant to receive vouchers in first week of each month by text, email or post. Customers should then be able to redeem these at post offices and PayPoint locations at corner shops and newsagents.

The government’s energy bills support scheme was announced by Rishi Sunak in February and extended in May as the energy crisis worsened after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Liz Truss, then announced a separate, broader promise to cap the average annual household energy bill at £2,500 a year for two years, although that was cut back to six months by the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.

Users of prepayment meters already pay more than many other households for the same service because of standing charges of as much as £50 a year that apply whether or not the household uses energy at all.

A spokesperson for the government’s business department said: The government has worked quickly to deliver the energy bills support scheme, helping a broad range of households struggling with energy bills this winter including £1,200 direct payments being made to vulnerable households.

getting money wise

Welcome! Get your FREE access to EVERYTHING we publish…

Our goal is to show anyone how to make investing profitable. You’ll get our FREE weekly newsletter with latest news and information on investment topics along with special offers. Please take time to read our privacy policy . The information you provide us will be processed in accordance with this.