The Energy Bill Support Scheme was first announced by government in May and applies across England, Scotland and Wales.
Under the scheme, everyone's energy bills are being cut by £400 applied over six months, with a reduction of £66 in October and November, and £67 every month between December and March 2023.
For customers who have a traditional prepayment meter, which requires topping up via a key or card in a local newsagent or Post Office, the help with energy bills comes in the form of a voucher
These vouchers are being sent out each month and need to be redeemed at a Post Office or PayPoint shop. The first vouchers were sent in the post / by email or text in October 2022. Future vouchers should arrive then arrive monthly in the post by 17th of each month.
Thousands remain unused
But thousands of vouchers remain unused. This could be because some people have been waiting before redeeming the vouchers, but there is concern that some people:
- May not have received them.
- May not have opened their post, not realising what's inside.
- May not know how to redeem them.
- May be experiencing problems redeeming them.
The vouchers need to be redeemed within 3 months of being issued (so the first vouchers need to be redeemed by the beginning of/mid January – the specific deadline will depend on when it was issued). Vouchers can be re-issued but it is unclear what information / evidence suppliers will need to agree to do this.
Not received it?
If issued by text or email, one reason why someone may not have received their voucher is because their energy supplier does not have their up to date mobile number or email. Someone should be able to do update these details on their online account (if they have one) or by contacting their supplier directly.
If the voucher was sent but has not been received, it should be able to be re-issued.
May not be opening their post?
Some people shy away from opening their post - particularly if they are unsure what's inside.
Everyone with a a tranditional pre-payment meter should have received a voucher by now. If they have not, they should first check any unopened post.
How do they redeem the vouchers? / Problems with redeeming the vouchers?
They need to take the voucher to a Post Office or PayPoint shop (not Payzone) - the voucher should say where it is redeemable. Although, we have seen reports that some PayPoint shops are telling customers that they cannot redeem the vouchers – this shouldn’t be the case but individual shop owners may not understand the scheme. If one PayPoint shop refuses to redeem the voucher, the advice is to try a different shop.
They will need to have ID with them – this can be photo ID but doen't have to be. We have heard that some people have not been redeeming the vouchers as they do not have photo ID, but alternative forms of ID should be acceptable such as a domestic bill / statement dated within the last 12 months.
If someone cannot get to a Post Office, someone else should be able to redeem their voucher for them - this person will need ID for themselves as well as for the person the voucher was sent to.
Beware of Scams
Some people have been receiving text messages inviting them to click on a link to apply for their £400 payment – but these are a scam. These payments / vouchers do not need to be applied for. These messages should be ignored.