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.
£600 Payment (EBSS AFP NI)
In Northern Ireland, the government has decided to combine the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and the £200 Alternative Fuels Payment (AFP) into a single, one-off payment of £600:
- Every household with a domestic electricity supply will receive this support, regardless of their income.
- Direct Debit customers will receive a direct payment to their nominated bank account.
- All other customers will receive a voucher that must be redeemed at a local Post Office.
- Payments will begin on Monday 16 January 2023 and will continue until the end of February, with priority being given to those on suppliers’ Customer Care Registers.
Electricity suppliers and the Utility Regulator are asking customers to avoid contacting suppliers to chase a payment before 1 March 2023. However, if you receive a voucher with incorrect information you should contact the supplier immediately as they will be able to issue a replacement.
All five suppliers have set up dedicated pages with more information about the scheme:
A summary of how the scheme will work is available at gov.uk:
We have provided more detailed information on the scheme, including a copy of an FAQ document from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, in our recently published Information Briefing.
If you are not connected to the domestic electricity grid you will not be eligible for the £600 payment and will be supported through the Alternative Funding scheme summarised below.
If you do not pay your electricity bills by Direct Debit your supplier will issue a voucher letter that you will need to redeem at your local Post Office. This applies to two groups of people:
- ‘Standard credit’ customers, who pay their bill on demand from the supplier. These letters will be issued to the account holder (e.g. ‘Mr J. Bloggs’) at the supply address. If the name on your letter is wrong, you will need to contact the supplier to inform them and ask them to issue a replacement.
- ‘Keypad’ customers, who have a prepayment meter that must be topped up. These letters will be issued to ‘The Occupier’ at the supply address, as suppliers do not hold names of account holders for prepayment accounts.
You can opt to have the payment deposited directly into your bank account or withdraw the sum as cash. To redeem the voucher you will need to bring the following documentation:
- The voucher letter from the supplier.
- Proof of address – this must show your address and be dated between 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2023. Acceptable proof of address includes (but is not limited to):
- utility bill, such as phone, water, electricity, TV licence
- bank statement
- rental or mortgage agreement
- letter from a UK government or Northern Ireland department
- If you are requesting payment into an account – your bank card and/or account details.
- Photo ID – only required if you are redeeming your voucher as cash. Your ID must be valid at the time you redeem your voucher, and must be one of the following:
- UK or EU / EEA photo driving licence
- Armed Forces ID card or Police Warrant card
- Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
- Translink SmartPass (senior / 60+ / war disabled / blind person)
- Asylum ID card
If you do not have photo ID, you will need to obtain it or contact your electricity supplier. See how to apply for an Electoral Identity Card.
- Keypad customers also need to bring their keypad app or top-up card, in addition to the voucher and proof of address. If you are not able to provide your top-up card or app, you will not be able to redeem the voucher.
It is also possible to nominate someone to redeem the voucher on your behalf. The rear of the voucher includes a template that must be filled in with the details of the nominated person, and they must bring their own photo ID in addition to the documents listed above for the account holder.
If you pay someone else for your energy usage, such as a landlord, letting agent or another tenant, they will receive the payment and are required to pass on the benefit to you in a ‘just and reasonable’ way. In other words, they cannot charge you more for your energy usage then they pay the supplier, including savings from the energy payment scheme.
Exactly how this will work in practice will depend on the specific arrangement in place, but the person who pays the bill should let you know what they intend to do and how it will affect your payment.
If you are unsure about how this will work, 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 has committed to providing support equivalent to the Energy Bills Support Scheme to those people not connected to the domestic electricity grid. An online portal opened on 27 February 2023:
The portal can be used to make a direct application for energy bills support by any of the following groups of people:
- in a residential park home;
- on a boat on a permanent residential mooring;
- on a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site;
- part of a heat network without an electricity meter;
- in social or private rented accommodation which has a business energy connection or a communal electricity supply;
- off the mains electricity or gas grid;
- in a care home or assisted living facility and you pay for some or all of your care (directly or through loss of pension or other benefits);
- in a non-domestic property which is used as a home (such as a farm or a separate flat above a shop).
To apply for the Alternative Funding you will need the following:
- an email address and phone number (if you have one);
- your bank account details (a UK current account in your name);
- proof of address (such as a utility bill or bank statement from the last 3 months);
- photo ID (if you rent your home);
- tenancy agreement or rates exemption certificate (if you do not pay rates).
Care home residents will also need to provide either:
- an invoice for your care home fees from the past 3 months; or,
- an official document from the care home including your name and address, a funding statement and the name and address of the care home.
If you are unable to apply online, you can also contact a dedicated customer support team by telephone on 0808 175 3894, Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
Energy Price Guarantee
In addition to bill support, the government will also fund energy suppliers to restrict the unit prices that can be charged for electricity and gas until April 2023:
- 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 will be 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 current deal is already below the average price for standard tariffs, no discount will be applied.
- Standing charges will not be affected.
More information is available from the UK government website.
As the Chancellor announced in the most recent budget announcement, restrictions on prices via the Guarantee will continue for a further 12 months from April 2023, with the average bill rising to £3,000 per year.
Energy Bills Relief Scheme
Equivalent support is also being made available for all non-domestic customers:
- Support will be provided for at least the next 6 months.
- Available to businesses, voluntary organisations and public bodies.
- Sets a baseline ‘government supported price’, which has been set at £211 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas.
- Equivalent figures for Northern Ireland have not yet been determined.
- Likely to shift to more targeted support to organisations most in need from April 2023, with the outcome of a review of the Scheme expected before the end of 2022.