900,000 more households across England, Scotland and Wales will benefit from the government’s £400 help with energy bills, via an online application portal.
- Support households who do not have a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, as they do not hold a domestic energy contact themselves, or the intermediary who provides their electricity has a commercial energy contract, such as a landlord.
Households without a direct relationship to an electricity supplier, such as those living in park homes and care homes, can now apply via a secure online portal to receive the support as a one-off, non-repayable lump sum under the ‘alternative funding’ route of the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS AF). For those without online access, a dedicated customer helpline is available to assist eligible customers.
The launch of applications follows months of close work with stakeholders across the country to deliver the government’s help for households with the cost of living. The alternative funding route is the latest in a range of targeted measures which are covering around half of a typical household’s energy bills this winter.
To ensure people feel the benefit of this support as quickly as possible, the payment will be provided directly into people’s bank accounts. Over £7.2 billion has been provided so far to 97% of households across England, Scotland and Wales through monthly instalments, which most households receive automatically in the same way they pay these bills.
The alternative funding route is designed to make sure the same level of support reaches those without a direct relationship to an electricity supplier. It’s also available for households who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off-grid.
Ministers are today urging all eligible households to apply as soon as possible for their support, whilst also warning households to stay alert to potential scams and report them to relevant authorities where they are suspected.
The government will never provide any links to the application portal, or directly ask individuals to apply for the £400 support. Those that require additional help when applying for support may wish to seek assistance from a family member or trusted friend.
In addition to the £400 of total support provided through the EBSS, the government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) is saving a typical UK household £900 over this winter by reducing the unit cost of electricity and gas. Together, the support provided through the EPG and EBSS cover around half of a typical household’s energy bills. The EPG will continue to provide support for another 12 months from April 2023, providing an average of £500 support for households in 2023 to 2024 in the face of energy prices that are forecast to remain high. A further £1,200 of support in direct payments is also being provided to vulnerable households this year, with £26 billion worth of targeted support to help protect the most vulnerable announced by the Chancellor for the next financial year.
- To check eligibility and apply for the £400 of support, people need to search for “Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically” in the search bar on GOV.UK or in an internet search engine.
- For those without online access, the contact centre helpline can be reached on 0808 175 3287 for applicants in Great Britain, or 0808 175 3894 for applicants in Northern Ireland, where a representative will guide them through the application process. The helpline is open 08am to 6pm on Monday to Friday.
- Households eligible to apply for support under EBSS Alternative Funding include:
- care home residents and others in care facilities/sheltered accommodation (wholly or partly self-funded)
- park home residents
- houseboats and caravans that can provide proof of address
- social and private tenants who pay for energy through a landlord on a commercial supply
- homes on a heat network/private wire
- off-grid homes
- farmhouses used for wholly domestic purposes
- The EBSS AF is intended to support those households who do not have a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, as they do not hold a domestic energy contact themselves, or the intermediary who provides their electricity has a commercial energy contract, such as a landlord. The Energy Prices Act includes measures to make sure EBSS payments under the main scheme are passed on to households who pay for their energy via an intermediary such as a landlord.
- Customers eligible for support under the main Energy Bills Support Scheme are not eligible for support under the alternative funding aspect of the scheme.
- The government will never provide any links to the application portal, or directly ask individuals to apply for their support. Those who require additional help when applying for support may wish to seek assistance from a family member or trusted friend.
- Applicants who are unable to submit a form via the online portal or contact centre, for example due to a medical condition, can have a trusted family member, friend, or carer, apply online on their behalf, as long as the applicant’s details and proof of their consent are provided.
- Applications that pass initial checks are then shared with an applicant’s Local Authority for further verification – either using existing information such as council tax records or they may write to request additional information if this is needed to confirm eligibility. Local Authorities will make the payments to successful applicants.
- The EBSS alternative funding scheme is open to all eligible households across Great Britain and Northern Ireland until 31 May 2023.
- See more details on the design and delivery of the Energy Bills Support Scheme.