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27 million households bag £1.8bn energy bill help in October

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Millions of Brits received the first £66 towards spiralling fuel costs in October, as a total £1.8bn was paid out in the month as part of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS).

Over 27 million households received £66 off their energy bills last month as part of the first instalment of the £400 energy rebate scheme.

This figure was split between:

  • Direct debit reduction: nine million households, worth £595m
  • Direct debit refund: 8.5 million households, worth £565m
  • Credit: six million households, worth £402m
  • Smart meter: two million households, worth £134m
  • Traditional meter: two million households, worth £135m.

By biggest supplier number, 5.5 million payments were made to British Gas customers, 4.7 million to E.ON, 3.7 million to OVO, 3.2 million to EDF, 3.2 million to Octopus, 2.4 million to Scottish Power and 1.3 million to Shell Energy.

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), 97% of eligible households in England, Scotland and Wales received the discount.

While vouchers were sent to two million customers with traditional prepayment meters, these households were urged to redeem them as soon as possible, after figures showed only around two thirds (1.2 million) had already done so. Here the value of payments made stood at £135.5m, but so far, just £80m has been redeemed.

Suppliers will tell customers where to redeem them, for example at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop. Payzone outlets are unable to accept the vouchers.

Vouchers are valid for 90 days only and all vouchers must be redeemed by 30 June 2023.

This is the first payment made through the EBSS since it launched in October and will see households receive a total £400 discount on energy bills paid in six monthly instalments:

  • October: £66
  • November: £66
  • December: £67
  • January 2023: £67
  • February 2023: £67
  • March 2023: £67.

The second instalment of the EBSS will reduce households’ November energy bills, which brings the total amount spent on the scheme so far to £3.8bn.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps, said: “The government is committed to supporting people facing unique stresses with the cost of living and rising energy costs. Today’s figures show how we are making a difference in over 27 million homes across Great Britain.

“All vouchers have now been sent to customers who should have them, so I urge everyone who uses a traditional prepayment meter to make sure they receive their voucher from their supplier and redeem them promptly so they get the energy bill support they are entitled to.”

Budgets on energy bills

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said their calculations show that the £400 total discount means the average household will spend 8% of their entire budget on energy bills over the six-month period to the end of March, instead of 11%.

“The situation remains bleak for poorer households. They could spend almost 16% of their budget on energy bills over the same period with the £400 discount taken into account, instead of 23% without it. But this group could still spend twice as much on gas and electricity bills this winter than they did last year.

“For higher earners, the £400 discount means they could spend the same percentage (3%) of their budget on energy bills as they did last year, instead of 5%.”

Just yesterday, the Autumn Statement confirmed the Energy Price Guarantee would rise to £3,000 in April (£2,500 currently) and would be extended for 12 months.

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