Govt. announces £400 energy bill grant

The Government has announced a £400 energy bill grant will be paid to households over six instalments to help them cope with the cost of living crisis.

Initially announced in February 2021 as a £200 payment, the scheme will see households in England, Scotland and Wales with a domestic electricity account get a non-payable grant of £400.

There will be funding for Northern Ireland to provide similar support, although details have not yet been revealed.

The package forms part of the £11.7 billion energy bills support scheme, forming part of the £37bn cost of living assistance package for UK households over the 2022/23 winter.

Business 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 Government has also announced further funding will be made available for those who may miss out on the £400 grant.

It said about 1% of households will slip through the cracks of the scheme - mainly those without a domestic electricity meter or direct relationship with their supplier, such as those in park homes. Further details will be available in due course.

In addition, the Government has said it expects landlords to "pass the discounted payments on appropriately" to their tenants.

How the £400 energy grant will be paid

All payments will come directly from suppliers and will be paid between October 2022 and March 2023. How households receive the payment depends on how they pay for their energy.

Those paying by direct debit, standard credit or have smart prepayment meters will get the grant automatically over six months - £66 in October and November, and £67 in each of the remaining four months.

However, traditional prepayment customers will not get the grant automatically and will instead have to redeem it to get it.

They will therefore need to ensure their supplier has their up-to-date contact details as their money will be sent as six separate vouchers via text, email or post, which can be redeemed in a shop or post office.

Crucially, traditional prepayment customers will have three months to redeem the voucher. Lost or expired vouchers can only be reissued up until 31 March 2023.

Maureen Fildes of the fuel poverty charity National Energy Action said she was fearful that some people may struggle to get the struggle.

"A lot of people on prepayment meters don't have a lot of interaction with the energy supplier; they just top up as and when they need to," she said.

"If it's a paper voucher, we'd like to ensure that people don't ignore the post from their supplier. It's not going to be another bill; it is going to be some level of support."

Scam warnings

Unfortunately, there have been scams that use cost of living support as a way to trick people into giving out personal details.

It's crucial to know, therefore, that regardless of how you get the payment, you will not be asked for your bank details - again, the payments will come directly from your supplier.

Your supplier already has your bank details and so has no reason to ask for them again.

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