Cost of living crisis: Liz Truss supporter says ‘nothing is off table’
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The support will be paid in six monthly instalments, starting in October, to help people pay their bills through the coldest months of the year. Many will get the funds paid automatically but some may be concerned that the payments will not be credited to their account.
Consumer rights expert Martyn James wrote for The Mirror about what people should do in this situation.
Many readers wrote in to say they had problems receiving the previous £150 rebate on council tax, and the first instalment of the £650 support for people on low incomes.
Britons said they had not had the money or there were delays, or they had issues in chasing up why the payments were missing.
Mr James said: “I don’t like to be cynical, but given the previous problems – and the wide array of different payment methods for the Energy Bills Support Scheme – it seems likely that some people may experience some problems getting the cash.
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“Firstly, it’s vitally important that you make sure your energy firm has the correct contact details for you – including your phone number.
“This is because some of the voucher payments may be made via text message.”
He advised contacting the energy supplier if there is a problem.
The expert said: “Given the Government is working with the energy firms to ensure everyone who is entitled to the payment receives it, the best way to chase the money if it’s missing is through the energy company.
“This works on two levels. Not only will the energy firm be aware of how the payment is due to be made to you, it’s also a good way to flag up financial difficulties if you are struggling to pay.”
People who pay their energy bills by direct debit will get the discount automatically off their bill, or as a refund after the direct debit has been collected.
Credit and payment card customers will also get the £400 applied automatically, in the first week of each month.
Those on smart pre-payment meters will also get the discount credited to their meter in the first week of the month.
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People with traditional pre-payment meters will be given redeemable vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) from the first week of each month.
These will be sent via text, email or post. Customers have to redeem these at their usual top-up point.
For tenants, the payment will go to their landlord rather than directly to them.
Mr James said: “The Government has said that the discount should be passed on to tenants through the amount they pay in their bills.
“If you are concerned about this, then check your contract to see what it says about energy costs.
“This is a good idea anyway, given rocketing prices. If you are in a dispute with a landlord about this (or anything else) you may want to speak to your local council to find out more about your rights and mediation services.”
The energy expert said he was “stumped” recently when a woman, living on a houseboat, asked him if she would get the payment.
He has since found the answer: “People who don’t have a direct, domestic energy provider (like people living in houseboats or caravan parks) aren’t covered by the current scheme.
“I’m pleased to see that the Government website has been updated to address this – and apparently this will be addressed soon.”
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