Households in Derry to receive £600 Energy Bills Support payment from mid-January
Around 500,000 households in Northern Ireland will receive support with their energy bills, with new vouchers starting to be issued from mid-January.
On Monday, 19 December, the UK Government announced all households across Northern Ireland will receive a single £600 payment, consisting of £400 through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Northern Ireland (EBSS NI) and the £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP).
Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart confirmed on Friday, December 30, that for customers on standard credit schemes without direct debits set up, and those on prepayment (keypad) meters, this will take the form of vouchers, with the most vulnerable customers getting priority access.
Standard Credit customers with no direct debit arrangement and prepayment keypad customers will receive the voucher from their supplier which they can redeem at a Post Office, either by depositing it in a bank or credit union, or where needed as cash.
Customers with a direct debit arrangement with their energy supplier will receive the payment directly to their bank account and will not be provided with vouchers.
Vouchers will start to be issued from mid-January, with every eligible customer receiving them in time to feel the benefit this winter.
It comes on top of the Energy Price Guarantee which has so far saved each household in Northern Ireland using electricity around £65 and a further £75 for those using gas.
Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart said: “We are determined to ensure that whatever their circumstances, every customer in Northern Ireland gets the support they are entitled to.
“Those without direct debits set up, and those on prepayment meters, will from January start to get these important vouchers which will provide vital help with their bills. Those already paying by direct debit will get the support straight into their bank accounts.
“I would urge those customers getting vouchers to look out for them, and to use them swiftly so they can benefit, and see the impact on their bills as soon as possible.”
Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This is welcome news for many Northern Ireland households who do not pay for their electricity via direct debit and I hope provides further reassurance as we enter the new year.
“I appreciate the hard work from officials and NI stakeholders to overcome the difficulties presented by NI’s energy market, and the absence of the NI Executive, to ensure NI households receive this much needed support this winter.”