How much is the energy grant, when will it be paid and am I eligible? What YOU need to know as Government reveals details of cash scheme to help with cost-of-living
Britain’s households will get more than £60 off their energy bills each month this winter, the Government said today as it revealed more about its support scheme.
The money, which is part of a cost-of-living support package first announced in May, will come in six instalments over six months to some 29million homes.
Families will see £66 taken off their energy bills in October and November, and £67 between December and March. The news marks the first detail of how the £400 support package announced in May to help with the crisis will be paid out.
The support, which came alongside other targeted efforts for the poorest Britons, followed predictions of bills hitting £2,800 for the average household in October.
But since then the forecasts have got even bleaker, with consultancy BFY saying bills could hit £3,420 per year from October – before rising further in January.
Here, MailOnline looks at how the various parts of the Government’s support scheme will work over the coming months– and what you will be eligible for:
The support will come in six installments over six months to some 29million households.
What is the Energy Bills Support Scheme?
The Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme will provide a £400 non-repayable discount to all eligible households to help with energy bills from this October.
Who is eligible for the support?
The scheme will help around 29million households across Britain, the Government said.
It adds that all households with a domestic electricity connection in Britain are eligible for the £400 discount.
The Government says there is no need to apply for the discount.
Ministers say energy suppliers will deliver it to all British households with a domestic electricity connection over six months from October 2022.
They add that there is no need to contact energy suppliers about the discount.
How will you receive the discount?
The Government says the £400 discount will be administered by suppliers and paid to consumers over six months – with payments starting from this October.
Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.
The discount will be provided on a monthly basis regardless of whether you pay monthly, quarterly or have an associated payment card.
Will you need to provide bank details to get the discount?
No. Households will never be asked for their bank details, and all Britons with a domestic electricity connection will not need to apply.
What happens if you don’t receive the first payment in October?
The Government advises electricity bill payers to speak to their supplier if they have not received their first instalment by the end of October.
Otherwise, Ministers say there is no need to contact your supplier because all domestic electricity customers will be automatically eligible.
How will you get the payment if you’re on a direct debit?
Direct debit customers will receive the discount automatically as a reduction to the monthly direct debit amount collected.
The Government says it could also be processed as a refund to the customer’s bank account following direct debit collection during each month of delivery.
Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account and the discount will be shown on the bill, whether it’s a paper or online statement.
How does it work for standard credit and payment card customers?
Standard credit and payment card customers will see the discount automatically applied as a credit to standard credit customers’ accounts in the first week of each month of delivery.
The credit will appear as it would if the customer had made a payment.
What about those on pre-payment meters?
Smart prepayment meter customers will see the discount credited directly to their smart prepayment meters in the first week of each month of delivery.
Traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with redeemable vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) in the first week of each month.
These will be issued via text message, email or post. The Government says customers will need to take action to redeem these at their usual top-up point.
Traditional prepayment meter customers must also ensure their supplier has their updated contact details so they receive their voucher and know how to redeem it.
What about if you pay for energy as part of your rent?
The Government says that landlords who have a domestic electricity contract with a licensed electricity supplier and then resell the electricity to their tenants based on energy usage must comply with the maximum resale price rules.
The maximum resale price for electricity is currently set as the same price as that paid by the person reselling it. Under these circumstances, the Government says it expects landlords to pass on the discount received to each tenant.
Landlords with a domestic electricity connection who charge ‘all inclusive’ rent, such as is the case for many student houses, where a fixed cost for energy costs are included in their rental charges, should also be passing on the discounted payments to tenants.
What if you don’t think your landlord is passing on the discount?
The Government there are rules which can protect tenants and ensure they receive the benefit of this policy.
Ofgem has published guidance here on how to ensure customers are being charged no more than they should when they buy the electricity through their landlord, including what to do if they think there has been a mistake.
Is the support for all parts of the UK?
The Energy Bills discount will apply to consumers in England, Scotland and Wales
The UK government said it is ‘urgently working to ensure the people of Northern Ireland receive the equivalent of this support as soon as possible’.
Will you get the discount if you live in a park home, houseboat or are an energy consumer living off the grid?
The Government said 1 per cent of UK households are currently ineligible to receive the discount because they do not have a domestic electricity meter and a direct relationship with an electricity supplier.
But it said further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the 1 per cent of households who will not be reached through the discount. An announcement is expected on this in the autumn.
What if you switch energy suppliers or your circumstances change?
Electricity suppliers will apply the discount to bills from October. The Government says this will be done by meter points, so it won’t matter if you switch supplier.
The scheme will now provide six monthly payments based on six qualifying dates, rather than a single date in October.
The Government says this allows new eligible households to benefit from the relevant portion of the total £400 because there will be multiple qualifying dates.
What if your energy supplier goes bust?
The Government said it will ensure that customers who switch payment methods, or whose energy suppliers fail, will not be penalised.
If a supplier is not able to provide the discount to all its eligible customers, they must report to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Ofgem what steps they are taking to ensure it is delivered.
What if you change payment method or tariff?
The Government said eligible customers will receive their discount on a monthly basis regardless of their supplier, payment method or tariff.
How will the scheme work for customers who are in arrears or debt?
All households with a domestic electricity connection in Britain are eligible for the £400 discount, whether or not they are in debt on their bill.
The Government said it expects and encourages suppliers to make it their priority to work actively to move customers with large arrears balances onto repayment plans wherever possible, adding that this is already a licence condition for suppliers.
Why are people with second homes getting more than one payment?
The Government said: ‘We want to ensure households start to receive this support from October and taking action on second homes could risk the start date for delivering the Scheme as a whole for winter, which would have an impact on many more households including the most vulnerable.
‘We acknowledge that delivering support at this scale and pace means there may be instances where people receive the discount multiple times if they are paying multiple electricity bills.
‘However, any delay would further disadvantage consumers experiencing high energy bills, particularly those in lower income households who are most in need of the payment.
‘Removing the discount from those with multiple meters could also stop people who are paying on behalf of elderly/disabled individuals from receiving a needed discount.’
What about vulnerable households who need even more support?
Households who are most in need will be eligible for further support in addition to the £400 discount.
- a £650 one-off Cost of Living Payment for around 8 million households on means tested benefits
- a one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment for over 8 million pensioner households to be paid alongside the Winter Fuel Payment
- a payment of £150 for around 6 million people across the UK who receive certain disability benefits
- a £500 million increase and extension of the Household Support Fund
Click here to find out whether you are eligible for any of these extra payments.
Can I donate my £400 to charity instead?
The Government said it is for individual households to decide if they do not wish to retain it. Any charitable donation is your own choice from your own assets.
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