Please see the latest update (19th December 2022) in relation to Government support for homes using heating oil
“Support with winter energy bills is on the way for millions more households across the United Kingdom, as the government today (19th December 2022) confirms details of a single £600 payment to help households in Northern Ireland with their heating and electricity bills, as well as details of how those using alternative fuels and households without a direct relationship to an energy supplier will receive help with their energy costs.
These schemes augment the cost-of-living package of assistance the government has in place to help reduce energy bills for households across the United Kingdom. This includes the Energy Price Guarantee which saves a typical household in Great Britain around £900 this winter and an equivalent level of support in Northern Ireland.
Energy bills support for households in Northern Ireland
All households in Northern Ireland will receive a single, one-off £600 payment to help with their bills. Payments will start in January 2023. This will be made up of £400 of support under the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Northern Ireland (EBSS NI), and £200 of support under the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme, which will go to all households in Northern Ireland irrespective of how they heat their home.
The UK government has confirmed today it will fund electricity companies for this payment to ensure they’re administered quickly, and that suppliers should start to make payments to customers in January. This means most NI consumers will receive the full amount of energy bills support before households in Great Britain, whilst still receiving the same level of support this winter.
All households in Northern Ireland will receive the support in a single payment to ensure the full benefit of the scheme is felt as soon as possible. The Northern Ireland scheme differs in this respect from EBSS in Great Britain to account for the particular nature of the NI energy market.
Administered by energy suppliers, customers who pay by Direct Debit will receive the £600 into their bank account directly. Other customers will be sent a voucher to redeem the £600 payment, with further details of how they will work and what ID will be required to be set out shortly.
Today’s announcement comes as the Minister for Energy and Climate writes to Northern Ireland energy suppliers setting out his expectations, which includes urging them to suspend all debt recovery and enforcement activity until the end of January, as well as provide payment holidays until the end of January where customers are struggling to pay their bills.
Energy bills support in England, Scotland and Wales via EBSS Alternative Funding and Alternative Fuel Payments
As well as this support for homes across Northern Ireland, the government has also announced details today for how people in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, including many care home residents and those living in park homes, will receive a £400 discount on their fuel bills through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS Alternative Funding).
The government is also providing a further £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) to help those households in Great Britain who use alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil to meet energy costs this winter. Most households eligible for the AFP support in Great Britain, will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier in February, with no need to take any action. Those households who will need to apply for the AFP, for example because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will be able to do so in February, through the same GOV.UK portal as the one that will be used to apply for support under the EBSS Alternative Funding scheme.”