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Two million prepayment meter vouchers worth up to £400 unredeemed

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

An estimated 78% of households on traditional prepayment meters have used their energy bill support vouchers, with millions of pounds in support yet to be claimed.

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

It’s the third time the Government has released voucher redemption rates for the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) broken down by supplier – and things have improved slightly since last month’s figures when 76% of vouchers were claimed.

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.

In total, 7.6 million Energy Bills Support Scheme vouchers have now been redeemed by households on traditional prepayment meters, but 2.1 million are yet to be claimed. The total value of payments delivered (to February) stands at £645.2m.

The best and worst suppliers

According to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, 78% of prepayment energy vouchers have been used, meaning 22% have not yet been redeemed.

Customers with Shell Energy, E and Octopus Energy have the highest redemption levels. However, suppliers with the most vouchers still outstanding – with nearly 400,000 yet to be redeemed – include Scottish Power, Ovo Electricity and British Gas.

Separately, these three energy firms were also found to have the highest number of forced prepayment energy meter installations in 2022.

The figures come after the Government and regulator Ofgem have clamped down on the malpractice after The Times suggested a third-party firm used by British Gas broke into vulnerable people’s homes to forcibly install these pricier meters.

Minister for energy consumers and affordability, Amanda Solloway, said: “Another increase in the number of energy bill support vouchers redeemed by customers is great news, but I urge those that haven’t done so to use them as soon as possible – and suppliers must continue to do everything they can to make sure this happens.

“We will not stand for the mistreatment of vulnerable customers who have been forced onto prepayment meters. I welcome the move from Ofgem to make it easier for customers to report cases but this can’t be a one-off, and suppliers must now offer redress to those they have wronged.”

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, either at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop, and must make several attempts to contact customers who have not redeemed their vouchers. They are valid for 90 days only.