Smart energy meter

Worst energy suppliers for household support named

Image credit: Mike Taylor/Dreamstime

The government has provided data on which energy suppliers are meeting their responsibilities in ensuring prepayment meter customers receive £400 of support with their winter energy bills.

So far, £5.7bn has been provided to 99 per cent of households in Great Britain through the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS), with 71 per cent of all prepayment vouchers redeemed.

Figures released today reveal the voucher redemption rates for the EBSS broken down by supplier. E Gas and Electricity is at the top, with an 85 per cent success rate, with soon-to-be-defunct Bulb coming in second at 79 per cent.

The fewest redemptions include Good Energy, Utilita and Scottish Power, with the government calling on them and others to make sure they are doing all they can to ensure that customers with prepayment meters know what to look out for and how to redeem their vouchers.

EBSS is designed so that customers receive the discount in the same way they pay their energy bills, such as via direct debit, credit, smart meters and traditional prepayment meters.

Most people will receive the support automatically, with no action necessary. However, people who use traditional prepayment meters are sent monthly vouchers by their supplier via text, email or post, with suppliers having contacted customers in advance of the scheme launching in October to advise how the discount would be applied.

Yesterday, business secretary Grant Shapps pledged to crack down on the mistreatment of energy users by suppliers, following reports showing that some aren’t doing enough to support vulnerable customers.

“The public have a right to know which suppliers are leading the charge with getting this help to them, and that’s why I’m holding energy companies to account to make sure they are doing everything they can to support their customers at this time,” Shapps said.

“We’re ramping up efforts so consumers know exactly what they need to do to redeem these vouchers, but we need suppliers to do much more and I want to see these numbers rise.”

In addition to the EBSS, households have their energy bills capped to £2,500 for an average household. This April, the energy price guarantee will rise to a higher £3,000 cap for the following 12 months.

While initially considered an expensive move, wholesale gas prices have fallen significantly in recent months leading to hopes that households will soon see lower prices.

The government has also set out more detail on which households will be eligible to receive £200 of support under its Alternative Fuel Payments (AFP) scheme, with the vast majority of eligible households due to receive the payment automatically from 6 February 2023.

The scheme will deliver £200 to households who use alternative fuels such as biomass, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or heating oil, helping around two million off-grid households to meet their energy costs this winter.

The scheme will particularly support households in rural areas that are not connected to the gas grid. Support was doubled to £200 in the Autumn Statement to reflect the price rises experienced by people using alternative fuels to heat their homes.

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