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Claim energy vouchers for prepayment meters now or lose out, warn charities

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Organizations including Energy UK, Citizens Advice, PayPoint and Post Office have banded together to build awareness of the Energy Bill Support Scheme (EBSS) for households with prepayment meters.

Recent data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that most (97%) of the eligible households (including those on credit and prepayment meters) have received the first payment of £66. But the charities and consumer groups want to make sure that figure gets to 100%.

The Government’s Energy Bill Support Scheme (EBSS) is a non-repayable discount designed to shave £400 off Britons’ home energy bills. It is to be paid in six installments between October 2022 and March 2023.

For customers with credit meters and smart prepayment meters the monthly discount is applied automatically. For customers with traditional prepayment meters, the discount will either be applied as an automatic credit when they top up or they will be sent vouchers by SMS text, email or post, that can be redeemed at Post Offices or PayPoint locations.

Update contact details to receive energy vouchers

Andrew Goddard, head of payments at Post Office, said: “We are working very closely with the energy industry to share best practice on how to best deliver the EBSS for customers. It’s hard to overstate how big a challenge it is getting almost £100m to customers, who are often some of the most isolated in society, each month. So it’s been crucial for everyone involved to work together to solve shared problems.

“We’ve found that some of the biggest challenges are getting customers to update their contact details so we can get their voucher to them – it’s really important that people tell their energy supplier where to post or email their voucher.

“There’s still over £50m of EBSS unclaimed from October and November – it’s really important that people come forward and bring their voucher to a Post Office so they can get their extra credit, especially as the weather starts to turn colder.”

‘At risk of being left in cold, dark homes’

Gillian Cooper, head of energy policy for Citizens Advice, said: “At a time when energy bills are extremely high, it’s vital people are getting all the support they’re entitled to. We’re worried that people on prepayment meters – who are at risk of being left in cold, dark homes if they don’t top up – could be missing out on their vouchers.

“If anyone has not received their voucher or isn’t sure how to redeem them, they should contact their energy supplier for support.”

Vouchers will expire

Madeline Costello, senior policy executive at Energy UK, commented: “It’s possible that some people haven’t claimed their vouchers yet because it’s been fairly mild, or they may have already had credit on their account, but as the weather gets colder and people use more energy over the winter holidays, it’s important that customers have the right information as the vouchers will expire after three months.”

Steve O’Neill, corporate affairs director at PayPoint, said: “Once you’ve received your voucher, the process is simple, quick and convenient, with stores open early ‘til late, seven days a week and over 99% of the UK population living within one mile of a PayPoint location.”

The charities reminded pre-payment customers to make sure their energy supplier has their current name, email address, flat number if appropriate, and address to help get the vouchers to the right locations. And know that you won’t be getting  a cash payment, but rather a discount on your electricity bill. The vouchers should be issued by the 11th working day of the month.