The UK Government has called on Good Energy, Utilita Energy and Scottish Power to increase Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) voucher redemptions to ensure customers with prepayment meters are able to redeem £400 in support on energy bills.
The EBSS is providing households with £400 across six months from October 2022, to limit the impact of the surging power prices amongst other cost of living crisis strains. This comes alongside support measures such as the Energy Price Guarantee which aims to cap domestic energy bills.
Whilst customers automatically receive a discount on energy bills, traditional prepayment meter customers are provided with an Energy Bill discount voucher in the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post, to then be redeemed at their usual top-up point.
With data released by the UK Government, 71% of all prepayment vouchers have been redeemed so far. Although a promising figure, this clearly indicates that a large quantity of people continue to be left in the dark and receive minimal support on energy bills.
E Gas and Electricity have ranked at the top amongst energy suppliers with an 85% redemption success rate. Bulb, which recently was acquired by Octopus Energy, came in second with 79%. Good Energy, Utilita and Scottish Power all rank amongst the lowest for redemptions with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) indicating that work was needed by these suppliers to boost redemption rates.
“The public have a right to know which suppliers are leading the charge with getting this help to them, and that’s why I’m holding energy companies to account to make sure they are doing everything they can to support their customers at this time,” said Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps.
“We’re ramping up efforts so consumers know exactly what they need to do to redeem these vouchers, but we need suppliers to do much more and I want to see these numbers rise.”
Alongside this, Shapps has additionally called on energy suppliers to stop force-fitting prepayment meters with many doing “nowhere near enough” to support vulnerable customers.
The Business and Energy Secretary declared he had written to energy suppliers in a bid to prevent prepayment meters being forcibly installed at homes. He has also written to Ofgem to call on them to do more to ensure suppliers protect vulnerable consumers.
“Government support has directly cut billions from household bills over the last few months, but we also want everyone to get the extra £400 help as well. With the return of freezing conditions, it’s more important than ever that those with prepayment meters look out for and redeem their vouchers as soon as possible,” said Graham Stuart, the UK Energy and Climate Minister.
“I want energy suppliers to do more to alert people to this help and make sure that everyone eligible is prompted to cash the vouchers in – particularly those who are struggling most. Everyone can help though. If you know someone with a prepayment meter, ask them if they’ve got their vouchers and prompt them to use them.”