More than 27 million households across Great Britain have been given their first £66 payment towards their energy bills.
The Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) has already handed out £1.8 billion in payments to 9 per cent of eligible households in England, Scotland and Wales in its first month.
This is the first payment made through the EBSS since it launched in October and will see households receive a £400 discount on energy bills paid in 6 monthly instalments. The second instalment of the EBSS will reduce households’ November energy bills, which brings the total amount spent on the scheme so far to £3.8 billion.
Vouchers have been sent to all two million customers with traditional pre-payment meters. The Government has urged consumers to redeem the vouchers as soon as possible, after figures showed only around two thirds had already done so. Suppliers will tell customers where to redeem them, for example at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop. Payzone outlets are unable to accept the vouchers.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps, said: “The government is committed to supporting people facing unique stresses with the cost of living and rising energy costs. These figures show how we are making a difference in over 27 million homes across Great Britain.
“All vouchers have now been sent to customers who should have them, so I urge everyone who uses a traditional prepayment meter to make sure they receive their voucher from their supplier and redeem them promptly so they get the energy bill support they are entitled to.”
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, James Cartlidge, said: “We are facing a global energy crisis driven by Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and we know this is a huge challenge for people here in the UK.
“That’s why we have taken direct action, ensuring millions of households are protected this winter.”
From December onwards, the amount discounted from energy bills will increase to £67 as the scheme continues to provide support to households over the winter months.
Administered by energy suppliers, the scheme is designed so customers receive the rebate in the same way that they pay their energy bills, such as via direct debit, credit, smart meters and traditional prepayment meters. For the small minority who have not yet received the discount for October, this was down to factors such as issues around a customer’s bank details where they pay via direct debit, and customers on pre-payment meters who are yet to redeem the vouchers.
Gillian Cooper, Head of Energy Policy for Citizens Advice, said: “As winter starts to set in, this financial support should help millions of people to keep their heating and lights on. It’s vital it reaches everyone who needs it.”
Earlier this year, the Government introduced new powers that mean intermediaries, such as landlords, must pass on savings made under the EBSS and other energy support schemes to end users, who don’t pay their energy bills directly, for example tenants.
If you are facing any challenges with your finances over this period, get in touch for advice.