Energy UK has partnered with PayPoint, Post Office and Citizens Advice to support households in claiming additional support amid the energy crisis.
It had been estimated that domestic bills would increase to as much as £6,500, however the Energy Prices Bill reduces this to £2,500 a year for a typical household by capping the electricity and gas units at 34.0p/kWh and 10.3p/kWh respectively, inclusive of VAT for standard variable tariffs.
The scheme also offers a non-repayable discount which entitles all households with a domestic electricity supply to a total of £400 off their energy bills, paid in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023.
For customers with traditional prepayment meters, the discount will either be applied as an automatic credit when they top up or they will be sent vouchers by SMS text, email or post, that can be redeemed at Post Offices or PayPoint locations, the companies said.
Due to the process in handing in vouchers, around three quarters have not been redeemed. The new partnership now aims to ensure that those who have vouchers are able to redeem the energy bill support for the winter period.
“At a time when energy bills are extremely high, it’s vital people are getting all the support they’re entitled to. We’re worried that people on prepayment meters – who are at risk of being left in cold, dark homes if they don’t top up – could be missing out on their vouchers,” said Gillian Cooper, head of Energy Policy for Citizens Advice.
“If anyone has not received their voucher or isn’t sure how to redeem them, they should contact their energy supplier for support.”
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) showcased in November the impact the Energy Bills Relief Scheme has had on public sector borrowing with the October 2022 figure standing at £13.5 billion.
This is an increase of £4.4 billion on October 2021’s figure and also is the fourth highest October borrowing since monthly record began in 1993.
“Energy retail suppliers have been working closely with PayPoint and Post Office to make sure that the vouchers are sent on time, including repeat efforts to deliver vouchers to the right people, but we are concerned there is a small population that aren’t receiving the vouchers due to incorrect details, or aren’t claiming them because they are wary of fraud,” said Madeline Costello, senior policy executive at Energy UK.
“It’s possible that some people haven’t claimed their vouchers yet because it’s been fairly mild, or they may have already had credit on their account, but as the weather gets colder and people use more energy over the winter holidays, it’s important that customers have the right information as the vouchers will expire after three months.”