Recently the UK government introduced new measures intended to help the most vulnerable families deal with rising energy costs. In fact, the suggested solutions are not entirely new as the government had previously announced a number of solutions to lower people’s energy bills. Nevertheless, these have now been reviewed and improved given that the energy bills are only getting higher and are expected to keep increasing in the next few months.
Previously, the government had said £200 would be taken off everyone’s energy bills but that people would have to pay this reduction back in installments over the course of five years.
After the latest changes, the discount has been doubled and the government got rid of the requirement to repay it. That means that from October this year, everyone’s energy bill will be reduced by £400 and people do not have to worry about having to save money to pay this discount back at some point.
How can I get the £400 discount?
Households in England, Wales, and Scotland qualify for the discount and you can get it automatically, there is no need to apply for it. The discount will automatically be added to accounts of direct debit and credit customers. If you are using a prepayment meter, the money will automatically be added to your meter. Alternatively, you can receive a voucher that you can then use to top up your meter.
As for Northern Ireland, it will get equivalent funds to distribute amongst people who can then spend it on their energy supply. Nevertheless, it has not yet been announced how it will be done.
What about the £650 payment?
While the £400 discount will be available to all energy consumers in the UK, there is an additional payment of £650 intended for the most vulnerable households. This money will be allocated to around eight million low-income households who ‘receive Universal Credit, tax credits, pension credit and other means-tested benefits,’ BBC explains.
Just like the £400 discount, the payment will be made automatically into bank accounts of eligible energy consumers. The difference is that this payment will come in two installments. The first one will come in July and the other one in autumn. Those who are on tax credits will receive their payments shortly after.
Is there any additional help for pensioners?
Households where at least one person is of pension age will receive the Winter Fuel Payment worth between £200 and £300. On top of that, these homes will receive an additional payment of £300 in November or December.
That means that pensioners will get extra help of £300 in the beginning of winter. This measure will supposedly cover almost all pensioners around the country. Low-income pensioners that claim pension credit can also get the £650 payment for those on benefits. So together they can qualify for £950 in reductions.
While these measures do not offer a sustainable solution to the energy crisis, they can help people, especially those that do not have much income coming in, survive these difficult times.