Households to get £400 energy grant in six monthly payments from October, but some will have to act to get it – here are all the details
The Government has announced details of how the Energy Bills Support Scheme – a £400 payment for all households in Britain to help with energy bills this winter – will work. Most will get the grant automatically from their supplier in six instalments between October and March, but if you've a non-smart prepayment meter you WILL have to take action to get the money.
The scheme – which was initially announced in February as a £200 payment – will see households in England, Scotland and Wales with a domestic electricity account get a non-repayable grant of £400. There will be funding for Northern Ireland to provide similar support but details have yet to be revealed.
The Government has also announced that further funding will be available to those who may miss out on the scheme. It said about 1% of households will not qualify for the grant – mainly those without a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with their supplier, such as those in park homes. Further details on this funding will be made available in due course.
In addition, the Government said it expects landlords to "pass the discounted payments on appropriately" to their tenants.
For more on the cost of living support package, and all the help available, see our Struggling to pay your energy bills? guide.
How the £400 energy grant will be paid
Regardless of how you get the payment, you WON'T be asked for your bank details to access the grant – do be aware as we've already seen scams that use cost of living support as a way to trick people into giving out personal details. All payments will come directly from your supplier and will be paid between October 2022 and March 2023. How you'll get the payment all depends on how you pay for your energy.
Those paying by direct debit, standard credit, or those who have smart prepayment meters will get the grant automatically. You'll get £66 in October and November, and £67 in each of the remaining four months. It's slightly different for those on traditional prepayment meters – here's what you need to know:
- Monthly direct debit customers. You'll get the grant automatically, as a deduction on your monthly payment, or as a refund into your bank account shortly after your direct debit payment is taken each month. It's not clear yet which approach each supplier will take – we'll ask providers and will update this story when we know more.
- Standard credit customers. This includes those who pay by cash, card or cheque after receiving a bill monthly or quarterly. You'll get the payment automatically – in the first week of each month between October 2022 and March 2023. It'll be added as credit to your account, so you should see this added to your bills over this period.
- Smart prepayment customers. You'll get the grant automatically as credit applied directly to your meter in the first week of each month.
- Traditional prepayment customers. For these customers, the grant ISN'T automatic – you have to redeem it to get it. You'll need to ensure your supplier has up-to-date contact details for you as your money will be sent as six separate vouchers via text, email or post – which you'll need to redeem by topping up as normal in a shop or post office.
Crucially, the Government has said you'll have three months to redeem each voucher – and if you lose them or they expire, they can only be reissued up until 31 March 2023. So you could miss out if you don't act to redeem all of them in time. We're checking if the value of the vouchers will be split in the same way as for other payment methods and we'll update this story when we know more.
What does the Government say?
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: "People across the country are understandably worried about the global rise in energy costs, and the pressure this is placing on everyday bills.
"While no Government can control global gas prices, we have a responsibility to step in where we can and this significant £400 discount on energy bills we're providing will go some way to help millions of families over the colder months."