A third of people miss out on UK Energy Help vouchers not being redeemed | Energy industry | Daily News Byte


Ministers have been urged to intervene after it emerged that more than a third of vouchers aimed at easing people’s energy bills on prepayment meters have not been redeemed.

Data released on Tuesday by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed that 34% of vouchers from the scheme launched in October have not been redeemed.

The Energy Bill Support Scheme was introduced this winter to soften the blow of rising bills. The Energy Price Guarantee cuts bills for people on direct debit while the voucher scheme was designed to help those on prepayment meters.

However, more than 1.3m vouchers remain unredeemed, with many lost, delayed or unclaimed. The Guardian revealed in early December that half a million of the UK’s most vulnerable families have been left without government help since October.

In total, less than 2.7m of the more than 4m time-limited vouchers for £66 sent to households with traditional prepayment meters have been claimed.

Consumer champion Martin Lewis joined Which?, Age UK, Citizens Advice and National Energy Action in writing to Business Secretary Grant Shapps to raise concerns about low redemption rates.

“It cannot be right that millions of pounds of government aid go unclaimed while low income and vulnerable groups are at risk,” they wrote in an open letter published on Tuesday.

They called on the government to regularly publish redemption rates including the delivery method; Investigate why redemption rates are low; Develop awareness of the plan and consider adapting it when problems are identified.

“We understand that this is a new, complex plan that has been implemented quickly during challenging times. However, we believe that you, along with the government, have a responsibility to do everything you can to ensure that this vital aid reaches people as soon as possible,” they wrote.

Earlier on Tuesday, Shepps accused some energy suppliers of picking up the phones on customers.

“What worries me is the gap between vouchers being sent out and people finding vouchers,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Dhara Vyas, deputy chief executive of industry body Energy UK, said: “Suppliers are doing everything possible to ensure that vouchers reach customers and make repeated efforts using channels – such as text, email, phone or post – and contact details. will do available to them.”

Concerns about the vouchers come amid calls from MPs to ban the compulsory installation of prepayment meters, saying the elderly and vulnerable are effectively being cut off from heating and power supplies.

Prepayment meters are being scrutinized as thousands of warrants allowing mandatory installation are being issued.

On Monday, the Government extended existing support to allow people living in care homes and caravan parks to receive £400 to help with their fuel bills. Around 900,000 households in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to apply online for £400 without having to deal directly with an energy supplier.


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