I just wanted to highlight a couple of announcements that have been made by BEIS during the last couple of days, concerning the Alternative Fuel Payment and the forced instalment of prepayment meters.
- Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP)
In essence, from today, households that do not use mains for gas heating will start to receive their £200 AFP payments towards their energy bills. The vast majority of households will receive the payment as a credit on their electricity supplier bill throughout February.
A small minority, such as those who live in park homes or on non-static houseboats, who do not have a direct relationship to an energy supplier will need to apply via an online portal, which will launch later this month. As part of this process, Ministers are also warning households to stay vigilant to scams and only enter their details on the Gov.uk website. Nobody will be asked for information by any individual or organisation prior to this or outside of the portal.
From Wednesday (8 Feb), energy suppliers will also start making £150 payments to businesses who use alternative fuels as part of the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment scheme (ND – AFP). This support will be delivered up to 10 March, with most customers expecting to receive it later this month.
Finally, the announcement also reveals new figures, which show that £3bn in Government support has been paid out to businesses and public sector organisations in just over three months to support them this winter
Useful Links – I have pasted the full text of the press notice below the text of this email, but please do use these links to aid amplification / understanding:
- Prepayment meters
Following media reports last week, highlighting what appear to be breaches of rules and regulations to protect vulnerable households, the Business Secretary wrote to the CEOs of energy suppliers, asking them to lay out the plans they have to provide remedial action to those who have faced wrongful installations. In doing so, he gave them a deadline of Tuesday (7 February) to report back.
In addition, the Business Secretary also wrote to the energy regulator, Ofgem, telling them to toughen up on energy suppliers and investigate customers’ experiences of how their supplier is performing. In doing this, he suggested that Ofgem stop relying on energy firm bosses to share information with their regulator and instead set up a new customer reporting system to allow households to feedback on how they are being treated.
Useful links –
- Gov.uk press notice
- Secretary of State letter to suppliers (Twitter)
- Secretary of state letter to Ofgem (Twitter)
- Secretary of State on Sky News (Twitter)
- BEIS tweet
As always, please do let us know if you are intending to (or already have) issued a public response to either of the announcements above, as it is always useful to track from our side.
Households, businesses and organisations off the gas grid to receive energy bill support over the coming weeks
- £200 energy bill support to begin arriving with households off the gas grid across Great Britain.
- Businesses using alternative fuels will also start receiving £150 credit on bills– with payments expected to be delivered by 10 March.
- New figures show £3bn in government support has been paid out to businesses and public sector organisations in just over three months to support them this winter.
From today households across Great Britain who don’t use mains gas for heating will start receiving £200 towards their energy bills as the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme launches. Most will get the £200 AFP automatically as a credit on their electricity bill but some customers will need to apply for the support later this month.
Nearly two million households who use alternative energy sources such as heating oil, biomass and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to warm their homes will receive the support which was doubled to £200 last year.
The vast majority, including many homes in rural areas, will get it automatically through their electricity supplier as a credit on their bill throughout February. A small minority of customers, such as those living in park homes or on static houseboats with no direct energy supplier, will need to apply to receive the payment through an online portal that will launch later this month.
Meanwhile from Wednesday, energy suppliers will also be able to start making payments to businesses and both public and voluntary sector organisations that use alternative fuels to heat their buildings. A credit of £150 will be provided to eligible customers across the UK through the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel
Payment scheme (ND-AFP). Suppliers will deliver this support up to 10 March, with most customers expected to receive it later this month. There is no need to contact your supplier.
This comes as new figures show that, thanks to the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme, £3 billion has been cut from business energy bills in just over three months – helping both private and public sector organisations from schools, to hospitals and pubs.
Minister for Energy and Climate Graham Stuart said:
“Our main energy bill support schemes have seen millions of homes and businesses across the country get much needed help to cover costs, with figures today showing nearly £3 billion in government support has been paid out to business to date. Now we’re getting support to those remaining few that are off the gas grid and most difficult to reach.
“I am determined to see households and businesses of all stripes protected from global pressures this winter – whether that’s those living in a houseboat, park home or operating a rural hospital or school.
“That’s why we are kicking off payments of £200 to households using alternative fuel to heat their homes today – while businesses and organisations using alternative fuels will receive a boost of £150 in the coming weeks.”
Ministers are today warning households to stay vigilant to scams and only to enter their details on the Government’s gov.ukwebsite, which will provide all official communications, if applying for support. No one will be asked for information by any individual or organisation prior to this or outside of the portal. Those that require additional help when applying for support may wish to seek assistance from a family member or trusted friend.
These schemes form part of a suite of energy bill support for domestic and non-domestic customers across the UK for winter 2022-23.
On the domestic side, the Energy Price Guarantee is saving a typical UK household £900 over this winter by reducing the unit cost of electricity and gas, while the Energy Bills Support Scheme provides a further £400 off electricity bills through a monthly discount of £66 or £67. So the average family is saving £1300 altogether while more vulnerable households have received £800 on top of that as well – making a £2100 saving.
Businesses and other non-domestic customers are also benefitting from Government support on a comparable basis. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme provides a direct subsidy of wholesale electricity and gas prices until the end of March, protecting jobs in charities and businesses alike. This will then be replaced by the Energy Bills Discount Scheme from April, which will offer universal support albeit at a reduced rate to protect the public finances.
Notes to editors:
Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment
Domestic AFP support was doubled to £200 in the Autumn Statement to help with rising fuel costs. Automatic payments will appear as a credit on bills and start from 6 February. They are expected to be completed within the month – although this will depend on customers’ suppliers and how they pay their bills.
A small minority of customers, including those living in park homes or on houseboats with no direct electricity supplier, will need to apply to the domestic AFP Alternative Fund to receive payment. An application portal on gov.uk will open later in February, alongside further information on which households will need to apply. Those on the gas grid but without a gas connection and using alternative fuels as their main heating source will also likely need to take this route.
Customers should take no action until the online portal launches later in February. The application process will require customers to enter their household bank details onto the gov.uk portal. Customers will not be asked for details by any individual or organisation prior to this or outside of the portal, and any such contact is likely to be a scam. If you require additional help when applying for your AFP support, you may wish to seek assistance from a family member or trusted friend.
Non-domestic Alternative Fuel Payment
Last year the Government committed to providing businesses and other non-domestic energy customers using alternative fuels with support equivalent to the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. This includes shops, offices, libraries, schools, hospitals, factories, and farms, among others. A credit of £150 will be provided to eligible customers across the UK through the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment scheme (ND-AFP).
The government has today issued instructions to electricity suppliers on how to deliver this support to eligible customers. Credits will be delivered by 10 March, with most businesses expected to receive it later this month.
Electricity suppliers will be provided with a list of households eligible to receive support under the Alternative Fuel Payments (AFP), identifiable by their Meter Point Access Number (MPAN).
- MPANs are unique codes assigned to everyone’s electricity supply. The Government determined whether an MPAN was eligible by taking a list of all domestic MPANs and removing those which are on the gas grid or where the local area predominantly uses electricity for heating.
- Households eligible to receive £200 AFP have been determined using:
- GB post codes where there is no active gas meter connection as of 13 December 2022.
- Mapping active GB post codes to Lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) using ONS National Statistics Postcode Lookup.
- Census data on heating type.
- The MPAN report produced by the Retail Energy Code (REC), which will be accurate as of February 2023.
- The AFP Alternative Fund application portal will open later in February. The application process will require households to provide their bank details – any direct request for your bank details from any individual or organisation is very likely a scam and should not be responded to.
|Rory Ngah (he/him)
Senior External Affairs Officer
1 Victoria Street, SW1H 0ET