Energy support payments confirmed for Northern Ireland households – UPDATE
The UK Government has now confirmed that households in Northern Ireland will, in January 2023, start to receive the long promised £600 support toward the current high costs of electricity and heat.
In early 2022, the UK Government announced a range of measures to support households across the whole of the UK with the rising cost of energy. Alongside a temporary cap on the price that can be charged per unit of electricity and gas, these measures included a payment of £400 to every household to help with increased energy bills, and an additional £100 – later increased to £200 in Northern Ireland – for those customers not served by the gas grid. These two payments total £600 for households in Northern Ireland.
It has now been confirmed that these payments will roll out from January 2023, and there is further detail on how they will be paid. Information is set out below.
Northern Ireland specific support
The unique way that the energy sector operates in Northern Ireland, coupled with the high proportion of households who are reliant on home heating oil to heat their home, has meant that the roll out of these payments has been delayed compared to households in England, Scotland and Wales. In those regions of the UK households have been receiving this support in instalments, starting in October, as a credit to their energy bills.
The Government has now confirmed that in Northern Ireland these payments, totalling £600, will start to be paid in January 2023 as a single, one-off payment administered through electricity suppliers, and paid to every household with a domestic meter and an electricity contract. However, the way you pay your electricity supplier will dictate the way in which you receive this payment.
How will I receive the payment?
The way that you will receive the £600 payment will differ depending on the type of contract and the way you pay your electricity supplier.
If you pay your electricity supplier by direct debit you will receive the £600 paid directly into your bank account. Payments will be deposited into accounts from mid January. You do not need to apply for the payment and you will not be asked for your bank details at any point.
If you have a standard credit account (without a direct debit arrangement) or a prepay (keypad) meter your electricity supplier will send you a £600 voucher in the form of a letter with a barcode. You can only redeem this voucher at a Post Office, however you can choose to have the payment made directly into your bank or Credit Union account or to receive it as cash. A checklist of what you need to take to the Post Office to verify your eligibility to redeem the voucher, including if you need to nominate someone to redeem the voucher on your behalf, is available here. The voucher will be valid until 31 March 2023 so you will need to redeem before this date.
If your household does not have a domestic meter or has a non-domestic electricity contract you will also be eligible for the £600 payment but there will be a separate process for getting this payment which will be announced soon.
There a number of different types of households that this scenario could apply to including:
- residents of caravans or houseboats on registered sites,
- residents of certain types of private and social rented homes
- farmers living in domestic farmhouses without a domestic electricity connection
- households off the electricity grid
Please be aware that if you receive any calls, letters, texts or emails regarding the Energy Support Payments that are requesting your bank details or other information your supplier should already have, this is likely to be a scam. You do not need to apply for the payment and you will not be asked for bank details at any point.
While the implementation of the Energy Support Payments for Northern Ireland has been delayed in coming it will mean that households in Northern Ireland will have received the full £600 sooner that households in the rest of the UK.
To make sure your family is claiming all the financial support you are entitled to, contact the Family Benefits Advice Service for a free, personalised ‘better off’ calculation. Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email email@example.com.