Energy bills support for consumers
The UK Government is supporting NI 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 are to receive 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 at email@example.com.
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 will be 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:
Starting from 16 January 2023, Direct Debit customers will:
Receive 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 receive a voucher from the Post Office in the name of the electricity account holder.
Customers who pay by standard credit (bill pay):
Starting from 16 January 2023, credit customers who pay for their electricity by standard credit (bill pay) will receive 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 receive their vouchers first.
Customers who pay for their electricity via a keypad meter:
- Starting from 16 January 2023, customers who pay for their electricity via a keypad meter will receive a voucher in the mail from the Post Office addressed to the ‘Occupier’.
- Customers who are on their supplier's Customer Care Register will receive their vouchers first.
- The delivery of the voucher will be phased. Not everyone will receive it on the same date.
- All customers should receive vouchers by 28 February 2023.
- If you have not received your payment, please wait until after 28 February 2023 to contact your supplier.
What if I don’t have a domestic electricity contract?
Equivalent payments will be made at a later date to households who do not have a domestic electricity contract (e.g. residents of park homes, some care homes, tenants in certain types of private and social rented homes, homes supplied by private wires, residents of caravans and houseboats on registered sites, farmers living in domestic farmhouses without a domestic electricity connection, households off the electricity grid). Further details will be published by BEIS.
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 be 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) receives 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
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)