Details of how households will get £400 knocked off their energy bills this winter have been outlined by the Government.
Here is a look at how people will get the discount and what other help is available:
– How will the £400 discount be paid?
Households will start receiving money off their energy bills from October, with the discount made in six instalments.
A discount of £66 will be applied to energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.
– How will I get the discount?
It will be administered by energy suppliers. Those with a domestic electricity meter point paying for their energy via standard credit, payment card and direct debit will receive an automatic deduction to their bills.
Traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with energy bill discount vouchers in the first week of each month, issued via text message, email or post, using the customer’s registered contact details. These customers will need to take action to redeem these at their usual top-up point, such as their nearest local PayPoint or Post Office branch.
Smart prepayment meter customers will see the energy bill discount credited directly to their smart prepayment meters in the first week of each month of delivery.
Suppliers will be expected to report to Government the action they are taking to ensure the support has been passed on to consumers, including notifying customers in writing they have received the £400 energy bill discount and ensuring it is clearly shown on bills or statements.
– Do I need to give my bank details?
No. It is important to bear in mind that scammers may use this as an opportunity to strike – just as they did when financial support was announced early on in the coronavirus pandemic and it prompted a slew of fake rebate emails and texts purporting to be from official bodies.
The Government says no household should be asked for bank details at any point. Ministers are urging consumers to stay alert of potential scams and report them to the authorities.
Scam texts, for example, can be reported to 7726 and Ofcom has information about how to do it here – www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/scams/7726-reporting-scam-texts-and-calls.
– Will I need to pay the money back?
No, it is non-repayable.
– What other support is available?
Further Government support includes a £650 one-off cost-of-living payment for around eight million households on means-tested benefits;a £300 one-off pensioner cost-of-living payment for over eight million pensioner households to be paid alongside the winter fuel payment; and a £150 one-off disability cost-of-living payment for around six million people across the UK who receive certain disability benefits.
People who are struggling with their energy bills should contact their supplier. Ofgem rules mean suppliers must offer payment plans people can afford and customers can ask for “emergency credit” if they use a prepay meter and cannot top up.
More information about this and the schemes, grants and benefits available is at www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting-help-if-you-cant-afford-your-energy-bills.