UK Gov to Help 500,000 Northern Ireland Households with Energy Bills

Vouchers will start to be issued from mid-January.


Some 500,000 households in Northern Ireland will receive vouchers from the UK Government, starting mid-January, to help cope with the burden of increasing energy bills.

Mid-December, the UK Government announced all households across Northern Ireland will receive a single ?600 payment, consisting of ?400 through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Northern Ireland (EBSS NI) and the ?200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP).

Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart confirmed that for customers on standard credit schemes without direct debits set up, and those on prepayment (keypad) meters, this will take the form of vouchers, with the most vulnerable customers getting priority access.

Standard Credit customers with no direct debit arrangement and prepayment keypad customers will receive the voucher from their supplier which they can redeem at a Post Office, either by depositing it in a bank or credit union, or where needed as cash.

Customers with a direct debit arrangement with their energy supplier will receive the payment directly to their bank account and will not be provided with vouchers.

Vouchers will start to be issued from mid-January, with every eligible customer receiving them in time to feel the benefit this winter.

It comes on top of the Energy Price Guarantee which has so far saved each household in Northern Ireland using electricity around ?65 and a further ?75 for those using gas.

“This is welcome news for many Northern Ireland households who do not pay for their electricity via direct debit and I hope provides further reassurance as we enter the new year. I appreciate the hard work from officials and NI stakeholders to overcome the difficulties presented by NI’s energy market, and the absence of the NI Executive, to ensure NI households receive this much needed support this winter,” said Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris.

While the news should give peace of mind to customers in Northern Ireland, Minister Stuart also urged them to beware scams which the Government is already aware are being attempted. He warned customers that vouchers will come in the form of letters, will carry badges of the relevant electricity supplier and the UK Government, and will contain a barcode. Customers will not be asked to go online or to provide any details.

The easiest way people can redeem their voucher will be paying the money directly into their bank account by taking their bank card to the Post Office and requesting to deposit. For those without a bank or credit union account, going to the Post Office and redeeming for cash will be an option – but that will be subject to the branch having the cash available.

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