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Nearly a quarter of prepayment energy vouchers worth £125m unredeemed

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn
Posted:
Updated:
20/02/2023

Only 76% of £400 prepayment energy vouchers have been used by households – with vouchers worth about £125m left unclaimed.

The government has published figures showing how many vouchers have been used across energy suppliers.

It’s the second time the Government has released voucher redemption rates for the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) broken down by supplier – and things have improved since last month’s figures when almost a third of vouchers were left unclaimed.

The increase in the number of vouchers that have been claimed follows a government communications campaign, with the energy security secretary calling on suppliers to do everything they can to deliver support.

The best and worst suppliers

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 76% of prepayment energy vouchers have been used, meaning 24% have not been redeemed.

However, the Government said the figures show the support reached more vulnerable households than at any other point since the scheme began.

Customers with E Gas and Electricity are most likely to redeem their vouchers – it has an 87% redemption rate, while Octopus is in second place with 85%.

The five suppliers with the largest number of prepayment customers – Centrica (British Gas), E.On, Ovo, EDF and Scottish Power – all showed an increased number of voucher redemptions, although some remained amongst those with the lowest rates overall.

Calls for suppliers to do more to deliver support

The government is calling on suppliers to continue efforts to reach customers with unused vouchers – with around 1.9 million remaining unredeemed.

Energy security secretary Grant Shapps said: “The help we’ve put in place means we are covering around half of most household’s energy bill this winter – this is an unprecedented level of support.

“With January temperatures having dropped to as low as -10 degrees in some parts of the country, I am pleased to announce today a record numbers of households taking up the government support.

“But many households are yet to redeem the vouchers they are entitled to and I want energy companies to redouble their efforts to get the support to those who need it.”

Today’s numbers reveal that more than £7.2bn has now been provided to 98% of households across the UK through the EBSS. Across the regions, rates of voucher redemption increased overall, but numbers show the fewest households making use of support in London (58%), Scotland (68%) and the Southeast of England (69%) – meaning many households are still missing out.

Redemption rates in all other regions are now above 70%, although ministers are maintaining calls for communities, local leaders and suppliers to make sure households using traditional prepayment meters are aware of the support and how to access it.

How does the EBSS work?

The EBSS gives each household in the UK £400 off their energy bills this winter. The cash is from the Government but it’s administered by energy suppliers.

Post-pay and direct debit customers get the money via a credit to their energy bill or a cash transfer into their bank account.

But prepayment energy customers with traditional (non-smart) meters are sent monthly vouchers by their supplier via text, email or post. These vouchers have to be redeemed when customers top-up their meter.

Suppliers should tell customers where to redeem vouchers, which will be at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop, and must make several attempts to contact customers who have not redeemed their vouchers.