THOUSANDS of prepayment meter customers should urgently check for £400 energy bill discount vouchers now.

Vouchers were sent out in October and November and can be used when households top up – but many have not been redeemed.

It comes as Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy wrote to energy suppliers to ensure that customers know how to redeem these vouchers.

In the letter, Mr Shapps said: "The data indicates £1.8billion worth of payments were delivered in October, which represents 97% of households, and that all prepayment meter vouchers were dispatched.

"However, the same dataset shows 41% of prepayment meter vouchers have not yet been redeemed."

Mr Shapps said that energy suppliers have a"duty to protect the most vulnerable."

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The Secretary of State has asked suppliers to ensure they have a plan to ensure that those on traditional prepayment meters are redeeming their vouchers.

These vouchers are sent to those with traditional prepayment meters which can't be credited with the discount automatically.

The data comes only weeks after Martin Lewis warned hard-up households with prepayment meters to redeem these vouchers as soon as possible.

Millions of households started to get the £400 energy bill discount in October.

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But the way in which the discount is paid will depend on the type of prepayment meter you are on.

Those on older, traditional prepayment-meters receive vouchers to redeem at their local top-up point.

Traditional prepayment-meter customers must redeem their discount vouchers at their local top-up point to take advantage of the £400 energy discount.

Customers have three months to redeem the value of these vouchers before they expire.

National Energy Action chief executive Adam Scorer said: "One of the least surprising outcomes from the Energy Bills Support Scheme is that people on older prepayment meters are most likely to miss out.

"They may not know that the scheme exists, be reluctant to open letters from suppliers, miss the email or can't print the voucher off.

"Having the support in place, is of course, vital. Making sure people can and do access it is just as important."

The news comes after The Sun exclusively revealed that prepayment-meter customers will now benefit from new top-up limits.

Gas card and electricity key top-up limits have been raised from £49 to £99 to ensure that that the discount vouchers could be applied in a single transaction.

Those on new smart prepayment meters have the discount applied automatically to their meter.

The discount is made up of six instalments, starting from October.

Customers should get a discount worth £66 in October and November.

A £67 discount will then be provided every month between December and March 2023.

Those on credit or smart prepayment meters will not need to do anything to receive the discount.

How will my traditional prepayment-meter be credited?

If you're on a traditional prepayment-meter, you'll be given a redeemable energy bill discount voucher or special action message (SAMs) in the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post.

Customers will then need to redeem these at their usual top-up point.

Customers of Bulb, E.ON and E.ON Next, EDF, Octopus, Ovo (and SSE), Scottish Power, Shell Energy, Utilita and Utility Warehouse can choose for their voucher to be redeemed on either their gas or electricity meter.

However, British Gas customers will only be able to redeem their vouchers on their electricity meters.

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What if I have separate gas and electricity suppliers?

If you have a gas prepayment meter and a standard credit electricity meter or vice versa, only one of your energy suppliers will provide the £400 energy bills discount.

Your electricity supplier will be the one to pay you the discount and if you are on a standard electricity meter and pay by direct debit, we have listed how you'll receive the £400.

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