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Take-up of energy bill support rises among prepayment meter users

A record level of Government energy bill support reached vulnerable households last month, though many are still missing out.

Those on prepayment meters used 1.7 million vouchers in January – more than in previous months, with three quarters of all vouchers now redeemed, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

It comes after Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps pushed suppliers to do more to help vulnerable customers access support.

Homes across Great Britain were promised £400 in payments this winter to help them with energy bills.

For a majority of customers the money is automatically deducted from their energy bills. But those who pay through a prepayment meter have to redeem vouchers and take-up was low in earlier months.

Data on Monday showed that the fewest households making use of the support are in London, where over a third of vouchers remain unclaimed.

Edinburgh, Brighton and Glasgow are also seeing low redemption rates.

Mr Shapps said: “The help we’ve put in place means we are covering around half of most households’ energy bill this winter – this is an unprecedented level of support.

“With January temperatures having dropped to as low as -10 degrees in some parts of the country, I am pleased to announce today a record numbers of households taking up the Government support.

“But many households are yet to redeem the vouchers they are entitled to and I want energy companies to redouble their efforts to get the support to those who need it.”

Government support since October has reduced average energy bills to £2,500 but that will rise to £3,000 when the support becomes less generous from the start of April.