Energy Bills Support
In addition to targeted support for those most vulnerable, there is also universal support for households and businesses being made available. This support is being delivered by the government through energy suppliers, so will not require action from consumers. However, you may be advised to contact your electricity and gas suppliers to ensure your contact information is up to date.
In Northern Ireland, the government combined the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and the £200 Alternative Fuels Payment (AFP) into a single, one-off payment of £600, made to every household with a domestic electricity supply, regardless of their income.
All five NI electricity suppliers have set up dedicated pages with more information about the scheme:
The scheme closed on 30 June 2023, so all households should have received their payments either by bank transfer or redeemable voucher.
If you are not connected to the domestic electricity grid you were not eligible for the £600 payment and needed to apply through the Alternative Funding scheme summarised below.
If you pay someone else for your energy usage, such as a landlord, letting agent or another tenant, they should have received the payment and passed on the benefit to you in a ‘just and reasonable’ way. In other words, they should not have charged you more for your energy usage then they pay the supplier, including savings from the energy payment scheme.
If you are unsure about how this worked, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local advice service. Specialist advice on housing matters is available from Housing Rights, including a mediation service for landlords and tenants that can help you to resolve a dispute.
The government provided support equivalent to the Energy Bills Support Scheme to those people not connected to the domestic electricity grid through an online application process:
The portal closed to new applications on 31 May 2023, but some payments continued to be made after that date to those who had completed an application before the deadline.
If you have not received a payment you applied for, you can contact the customer support team by telephone on 0808 175 3894, Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. If you need assistance dealing with an outstanding claim, contact us at email@example.com.
In addition to direct bills support, the government also funded energy suppliers to restrict the unit prices that can be charged for electricity and gas:
- Average unit prices of 10.3p/kWh for gas and 34p/kWh for those on standard tariffs, with slight differences for prepayment customers.
- Customers on fixed-rate deals eligible for a discount of ‘up to’ 19.9p/kWh for electricity and 4.8p/kWh for gas, reducing to 13.6p/kWh for electricity and 3.9p/kWh for gas from January 2023.
- If your deal was already below the average price for standard tariffs, no discount was applied.
- Standing charges not affected.
Due to a reduction in wholesale prices, the government has since decided to end all aspects of the Energy Price Guarantee in Northern Ireland with effect from 1 July 2023. As a consequence, some households may have been subject to an increase in prices at that time.
More information is available from the UK government website.
Between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023 the government provided support to businesses, charities and other non-domestic customers through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS).
This has been replaced by the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), running from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, which provides 3 separate targeted discounts to certain eligible organisations. Full details of the discounts can be viewed via the link provided.