Energy bill rebate: Who is eligible and how will the £400 be paid?

LBC caller says he will 'go hungry' this winter as energy bills go up

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With energy bills forecast to top £3,500 in October after the second price cap hike of the year, many households will be feeling the financial squeeze. As part of the Government’s £37 billion support scheme to help Britons with spiralling living costs, it’ll be offering a £400 energy bill discount to help soften the blow for millions of households.

Energy bills saw a 54 percent increase in April adding £700 on average to households’ outgoings.

But while the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to put pressure on global supply chains, the price cap is expected to jump a further 30 percent in October. The exact cap hike will be announced by Ofgem on Friday.

Business and energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “People across the country are understandably worried about the global rise in energy costs, and the pressure this is placing on everyday bills.

“While no Government can control global gas prices, we have a responsibility to step in where we can and this significant £400 discount on energy bills we’re providing will go some way to help millions of families over the colder months.”

The £400 discount, which will be administered by energy suppliers, will be paid to households over six months with payments starting from October 2022, to provide additional support throughout the winter months.

Who is eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme?

All households with a domestic electricity connection across England, Scotland, and Wales, are eligible for the £400 discount.

The Government website notes there is no need to contact energy suppliers concerning this, as it will be applied to bills automatically.

How will households receive the discount?

The discount will be applied to bills by suppliers over six months, as follows:

  • October – £66
  • November – £66
  • December – £67
  • January – £67
  • February – £67
  • March – £67

The discount will be provided every month regardless of whether consumers pay monthly, quarterly or have an associated payment card.

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How will the payment be applied for each payment method?

Direct debit customers

According to the Government website, direct debit customers will receive the discount automatically as a reduction to the monthly direct debit amount collected, or as a refund to the customer’s bank account following direct debit collection during each month of delivery.

Standard credit and payment card customers

Standard credit customers 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, with the credit appearing as it would if the customer had made a payment.

Smart prepayment meter customers

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

Traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with redeemable vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) from the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post. Customers, however, will need to take action to redeem these at their usual top-up point.

In all cases, no household should be asked for bank details at any point during the fund distribution.

Ministers are urging people to be cautious of potential scams and report them to the relevant authorities where they are suspected.

John Herriman, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Everyone is at risk of being scammed but the cost of living crisis results in more and more consumers facing increasing levels of vulnerability.

“This means they face even greater risks of being caught by unscrupulous and illegal practices by those who are intent on exploiting the already difficult situation people find themselves in.

“At a time when the sad reality is that some are having to make choices between heating and eating, people can be particularly vulnerable to, for example, fraudsters offering cheaper energy. It is crucial that the public is wary of all these threats and that they contact the authorities if they suspect any attempt to defraud them or others.”

If an energy customer does fall victim to a scam, Ofgem advises they report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 if living in England or Wales, or Police Scotland on 101, or call Ofgem on 020 7901 7295.

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