Urgent: On non-smart prepay for energy? You have until 30 June to use or lose your £400 Government help vouchers
If you pay for energy by topping up and you're on a traditional (non-smart) meter, you have just days left to redeem your six Government energy support vouchers worth £66 or £67 each before they expire on Friday 30 June. Here's what you can do if you haven't got your vouchers, you're having problems redeeming them or they've expired.
Households in England, Scotland and Wales with a domestic electricity account got a non-repayable grant of £400 between October 2022 and March 2023. This was paid in six instalments: the first two, worth £66 each, were made in October and November, and another four, worth £67 each, were made between December and March.
Yet over 1.7 million vouchers (15%) – worth over £110 million in total – have yet to be redeemed, according to the latest official statistics. Meanwhile, earlier figures from the firms processing the vouchers – PayPoint and the Post Office – showed that nearly a fifth (19%) of vouchers issued for October and November 2022 had expired without being used (PayPoint and the Post Office couldn't share more recent figures).
MoneySavingExpert.com and its founder Martin Lewis were among a coalition of organisations at the end of last year that called on energy firms to take urgent action to ensure households could access the Government's vital energy help.
If you're struggling to pay for energy, whether you're on prepay or not, see our Energy bill help guide.
You MUST ACT to redeem your voucher(s) – it's not automatic
If you have a non-smart (traditional) prepayment meter, you need to actively redeem the vouchers you've been sent.
Once you've got a voucher from your energy supplier, you need to take it to a Post Office or PayPoint shop (click the links to find your nearest) to add it to your gas or electricity top-up key or card.
Those paying their energy suppliers directly by direct debit, on receipt of a bill or using smart prepayment meters didn't need to do anything to get their £400 support payments – the money was either taken off their monthly payment, sent directly to their bank account or applied as credit to their bill or meter.
By default, vouchers issued under the scheme are valid for 90 days. Expired vouchers can be reissued, though you'll need to contact your supplier to arrange this.
However, bear in mind that reissued vouchers may not be valid for a full 90 days. That's because all vouchers, regardless of when they were issued, have to expire by 11.59pm on 30 June 2023 – as that's when the scheme officially ends.
The Government has ordered energy suppliers to return any unused funds immediately after the end of the scheme – so it's vital to redeem your vouchers before the 30 June deadline to ensure you don't miss out.
And if you're storing your vouchers to redeem later, be aware that most meters can only hold up to around £250 of energy credit at a time.
Not got your voucher, lost it or had it expire? Ask your supplier for a new one – they can reissue it
As mentioned above, all eligible prepay users should have received all six of their vouchers by now. These will have been sent from your energy supplier by post, email or text message.
If you haven't got yours, or if you did but have since lost it or it's expired, contact your energy supplier and it should be able to resend it. Some suppliers, such as E.on and EDF, are automatically reissuing expired vouchers if they can see that you've redeemed another month's voucher – as it's clear they have the correct data to reissue using the same details.
If the voucher was initially sent by post, you can ask your supplier if it can send it by email or text message instead. The Government says suppliers are required to make all reasonable efforts to ensure you get your discount.
As a last resort if you're not getting anywhere, you can also raise a formal complaint, either directly with your supplier or by using the free Resolver tool.
In most cases, you DON'T need photo ID to redeem the vouchers
MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis asked his social media followers if they'd claimed their winter energy help vouchers – and, if not, why not? Several replied that they didn't have photo ID, so couldn't redeem the vouchers.
However, all of the suppliers we checked DO accept alternatives to photo ID, as shown in the table below.
|E.on / E.on Next||
Voucher not accepted? Try a different store
If your voucher was issued by PayPoint, you should be able to use it at any PayPoint shop. However, we've seen a handful of reports on social media about some PayPoint shops refusing to process the vouchers.
There are some 28,000 PayPoint shops across the UK, so it would be impossible to investigate these individually. If you're having issues, see if another nearby store will accept the voucher. Alternatively, you can email PayPoint directly at email@example.com.
It's also worth noting that Post Office and PayPoint vouchers are NOT interchangeable – your voucher will say where you can redeem it.
Unfortunately, you can't redeem your voucher in any of the 24,000 Payzone stores and outlets across the UK as they are unable to accept the vouchers.