Energy bills support for consumers
The UK Government is supporting Northern Ireland energy consumers this winter through a series of financial interventions. The Utility Regulator has been working with the UK Government and local energy suppliers to help deliver energy support schemes in NI. These schemes are designed and administered by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to deliver the equivalent support to NI and GB customers.
Energy Bills Support Scheme (£400) and Alternative Fuel Payment (£200)
Households in NI have been receiving a single non-repayable payment totalling £600 to help with their energy bills, regardless of how they heat their home.
The payment is automatic and no application is required. If you get a message asking for your bank details, this could be a scam. You can report messages you think are suspicious by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More info on what to do if you think you have believe you have received a spam call or message: Scams | nidirect
What the payment includes
The payment is made up of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (£400) and the Alternative Fuel Payment (£200) and has been provided by the UK Government through NI electricity suppliers.
A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document on the scheme can be found here: Energy Bills Support Scheme and Alternative Fuel Payment in Northern Ireland FAQs
All households with a domestic meter (T01) and electricity contract are eligible for the payment.
How you’ll get the payment
The payment will be made in different ways, depending on how you pay for your electricity. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website at the following link: Getting household energy bill support in Northern Ireland - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Direct Debit customers have received the payment directly into their bank account;
If suppliers have been unable to complete a payment for a Direct Debit customer into their bank account, then that customer will have received a voucher from the Post Office in the name of the electricity account holder.
Customers who pay by standard credit (bill pay):
Credit customers who pay for their electricity by standard credit (bill pay) will have received a voucher from the Post Office in the name of the electricity account holder. Customers who are on their supplier's Customer Care Register will have received their vouchers first.
Customers who pay for their electricity via a keypad meter:
- Customers who pay for their electricity via a keypad meter will have received a voucher in the mail from the Post Office addressed to the ‘Occupier’.
- Customers who are on their supplier's Customer Care Register will have received their vouchers first.
- The delivery of the voucher was phased. Not everyone will have received it on the same date.
- All customers should have received vouchers by 28 February 2023.
- If you have not received your payment, please contact your supplier.
What if I don’t have a domestic electricity contract?
In some cases, you do not get the discount automatically, for example if you pay for energy through a landlord, housing manager or site owner, or live in a park home, houseboat or off the electricity grid
You may be eligible to apply if your main home is:
- 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)
You can apply if:
- you pay for the energy your household uses; you’re applying for your main, permanent home; you have a fixed address in Northern Ireland
Who cannot apply?
You will get this support automatically and do not need to apply if you or your landlord:
- have a standard domestic electricity meter
- pay your bills directly to your energy supplier (such as Power NI or SSE Airtricity)
If you pay for your electricity as part of your rent it is your landlord’s responsibility to share the discount with you.
You cannot apply if you’ve already had £600 energy bill support from your electricity supplier
If you have not got a payment by 1 March 2023 but think you should, contact your energy supplier.
You also cannot apply if you live:
- in purpose-built student accommodation; in a care home and all your fees are paid by a Health and Social Care Trust; on a boat as a continuous cruiser (currently under review); on a non-permanent caravan or mobile home site (currently under review); in accommodation provided by your employer (such as seasonal workers, ‘service occupiers’, security guards, building caretakers); in a building where you are acting as a property guardian; in business premises, such as a pub or hotel, where your address is the same as the business address
If you live in a care home
You’ll need to upload either:
- an invoice for your care home fees from the past three months
- an official document from the care home including your name and address, a funding statement and the name and address of the care home
To apply online, click the link below:
Online portal link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-energy-bill-support-northern-ireland-if-not-automatic
What you need to know:
After you apply, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will check you live at the address you apply for. You’ll be told about the progress of your application by email or letter. You should get a response within 6 weeks. If you’re eligible, you will get a one-off payment. You do not need to repay this money.
Other ways to apply
If you cannot apply online, phone the Northern Ireland customer support team.
Telephone: 0808 175 3894
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
More information via this link on how to apply for energy bill support in Northern Ireland if you do not get it automatically.
Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding Portal Poster
FACTSHEET FOR MORE INFORMATION: Energy Bills Support Scheme for Northern Ireland (EBSS AF NI) Factsheet | Utility Regulator (uregni.gov.uk)
What happens if vouchers are received with an incorrect name?
This will not be a problem for customers who pay for their electricity via keypad, as their vouchers will have been sent in the name of the 'Occupier' only, and so do not need to have their name on the voucher to redeem it at the Post Office. Please note: This is the correct process for the payment. Any other communication suggesting that a named voucher is needed for customers who pay for their electricity via keypad is incorrect.
However, if a customer who pays for their electricity by standard credit (bill pay) received a voucher with the incorrect name, they should contact their supplier who will cancel the incorrect voucher and re-issue a new voucher in the correct name.
The Energy Price Guarantee Scheme
This support scheme applies a discount to all electricity and gas bills. Energy suppliers will reduce bills by 14.29p/kWh for electricity and 4.09p/kWh for gas. The scheme is providing households in NI with equivalent financial support with their electricity and gas bills as for those in GB.
Read more here: Energy Price Guarantee - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Energy Bills Support Scheme and Alternative Fuel Payment in Northern Ireland FAQs
Apply for energy bill support in Northern Ireland if you do not get it automatically - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Energy Bills Support Scheme for Northern Ireland (EBSS AF NI) Factsheet | Utility Regulator (uregni.gov.uk)
Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding Portal Poster | Utility Regulator (uregni.gov.uk)
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Advice if you're struggling to pay your energy bills | nidirect
NI Energy Advice Line
Help with domestic energy costs | nidirect
Energy | Consumer Council
Contact us | Consumer Council
Energy Bill Relief Scheme: help for businesses and other non-domestic customers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)