With the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) payments set to kick off from the 1st of October, many are wondering what this will mean for them, how this will work, and when they will see the benefit.
Prime Minster Liz Truss has previously confirmed a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ to halt escalating annual bills for households. It means a typical household will pay no more than £2,500 a year for energy over the next two years.
In addition to this, the UK Government has put together a package of support for all eligible UK households that will see £400 provided to help offset energy price increases through the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS).
What is the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS)?
The Energy Bills Support Scheme is a £400 discount that will be applied to the energy bills of all UK households to help with the cost of energy bills from the 1st of October 2022.
You do not need to apply for the discount. The specifics of how payments will be provided by your energy supplier (more on this below).
This will be delivered over a six-month period from October 2022, with many suppliers advising payments will be made within 10-days of the commencement of the scheme.
Who is Eligible for EBSS?
Every household with a domestic electricity connection in the UK is eligible for the £400 discount. Energy suppliers will contact you about the specifics of how payments will be made.
How will I Receive the Discount?
Individual energy suppliers will administer discounts for their own customers and make payments over the six-month period to ensure households receive financial support over the winter months.
This will be applied as follows:
- October 2022 – £66
- November 2022 – £66
- December 2022 – £67
- January 2023 – £67
- February 2023 – £67
- March 2023 – £67
The discount will be supplied monthly, regardless of the frequency of customer payments – meaning those who pay quarterly or with payment cards will be paid the amounts with the same regularity.
YOU WILL NEVER BE ASKED FOR YOUR BANK DETAILS FROM OFGEM, OR ANYONE ELSE – Those with a domestic energy supply do not need to apply for the discount.
In our recent article, we looked at the Scam messages doing the rounds relating to the Energy Bills Rebate Scheme, and how to avoid them.
There are scammers reaching out to people asking for financial and personal information. It is important to ensure we DO NOT Supply this information and report any suspected scams or suspicious activity.
You do not need to get in contact with your energy supplier, as all domestic energy customers will be automatically eligible. Those who have not received their first instalment by the end of October should reach out to their energy supplier for more information.
All domestic electricity customers will be automatically eligible. Electricity bill payers should enquire with their supplier if they have not received their first instalment by the end of October.
So, how will the payments be made?
The way the discount is applied will vary between energy suppliers. A breakdown of how this could be paid, broken down by customer payment methods can be found below –
- Direct Debit customers– Either paid as an automatic reduction on monthly Direct Debit amounts, or as a refund to the customer’s bank account following DD collection during each month of delivery.
- Standard Credit Customers/ Payment Card Customers – Automatic credit to standard credit customer accounts in the first week of each month of delivery, with the credit appearing as a payment made.
- Smart Prepayment Meter Customers (Smart Meters) – Discount will be applied directly to smart prepayment meters in the first weeks of each month of delivery.
- Prepayment Meter Customers (Traditional Meters) – Will be provided with redeemable vouchers, or Special Action Messages (SAMs) in the first week of each month issues by SMS text message, email, or post. Customers will then take these and top up at PayPoint or Post Office, depending on the energy supplier.
Those on traditional prepayment meters should ensure that their supplier has the most up-to-date contact information for them, to ensure that they receive the vouchers and understand the process for redeeming them.
I pay for energy as part of my rent – How do I ensure that my landlord passes on this reduction?
Landlords who have a domestic electricity contract with a licensed electricity supplier and then resell the electricity to their tenants based on energy usage must comply with the maximum resale price rules.
The maximum resale price for electricity is currently set as the same price as that paid by the person reselling it. Under these circumstances, the UK Government expects landlords to pass on the discount received to each tenant.
Landlords with a domestic electricity connection who charge ‘all inclusive’ rent, such as the case for many student houses, where a fixed cost for energy costs are included in their rental charges, should also be passing on the discounted payments to tenants.
There are rules which protect tenants and ensure that they receive the benefit of this policy. Ofgem’s guidance on how to ensure customers are being charged no more than they should when they buy the electricity through their landlord, including what to do if they think there has been a mistake, is available HERE.
Will students receive the discount too?
Students that are tenants of properties with domestic meters will be eligible for the scheme. Landlords with a domestic electricity connection who charge ‘all inclusive’ rent, often the case for many student houses, where a fixed cost for energy costs are included in their rental charges, must pass on the discounted payments to tenants.
There are rules which can protect tenants and ensure they receive the benefit of this policy (see section above). Those living in Purpose Built Student Accommodation, such as halls of residence, will not receive the discount as they do not have a domestic electricity meter and a direct relationship with an electricity supplier.
Will I Get the Discount If I Live in a Park Home, Houseboat, or I am an Energy Consumer Living Off the Grid?
Approximately one per cent of UK households are currently ineligible to receive Energy Bills discount as they do not have a domestic electricity meter and a direct relationship with an electricity supplier.
The government has confirmed that further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the 1% of households who will not be reached through the Energy Bills discount. An announcement with details on how and when these households across Great Britain can access this support will be made at a later date.
The Scottish Government’s Home Heating Support Fund seeks to provide financial relief to energy consumers who are experiencing significant financial hardship and strives to provide this support to households regardless of the fuel or payment method used. This includes users of prepayment meters, district heating networks and unregulated fuels.
You can find out more about the fund by visiting www.homeheatingadvice.scot.
Other situations for consideration
- Switching energy suppliers / Changes in household circumstances
Electricity suppliers will apply the discount to bills from October 2022. This will be completed using meter point information (which is specific to the meter in the property), so it will not matter if you switch supplier.
- Changes to Payment Method / Tariff
Customers who are eligible for support from the Energy Bill Support Scheme will receive their discount on a monthly basis from their supplier, regardless of the payment method or tariff.
- Customers in Debt / Who have arrears
All households with a domestic electricity connection in Great Britain are eligible for the £400 discount. The government expects and encourages suppliers to make it their priority to work actively to move customers with large arrears balances onto repayment plans wherever possible. This is already a license condition for suppliers.
Individual Supplier Information
More information about how your supplier will be making payments can be found through their individual websites / customer service teams –
Advice Direct Scotland provide free, practical, and impartial advice and information on a range of subjects, including energy and debt-related matters, supporting the citizens of Scotland through the cost-of-living crisis.
- energyadvice.scot provide free, practical advice and information on energy-related matters to the citizens of Scotland and can answer energy-related enquiries. Their specialist advisers are available on 0808 196 8660*, or through the website at www.energyadvice.scot. They can provide in-depth support for consumers experiencing ongoing issues with their energy supplier or problems with their utility bills.
- The Scottish Government’s Home Heating Support Fund seeks to provide financial relief to energy consumers who are experiencing significant financial hardship and strives to provide this support to households regardless of the fuel or payment method used. Funding is available from the Scottish Government, through charity partners, for people struggling to pay energy bills. Individual households that have received money and / or energy advice from an accredited advice agency can also apply through the ‘Household Application’ route. Advice Direct Scotland can also make referrals on to the fund on a customer’s behalf. More information about the fund is available through the website at www.homeheatingadvice.scot.
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