Beware of scams! Worcestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team is warning residents about a new scam where cold callers pretend to be helping people claim the Government’s £150 energy rebate and Energy Bill Support Scheme along with other grants.
The Local Government Association has now warned councils that it has become apparent that criminals are cold calling residents asking for bank details in order for them to receive the Government’s rebates, grants & funding.
For more information, please visit Worcestershire County Council, Energy rebate scams on the rise, and for further detail of how to identify a scam and check if it’, please visit Don’t be fooled by new scams, councils say Local Government Association
Energy bills are on the rise, over the past 12 months the wholesale price of gas alone has increased by 404%. The price cap increased by 54% in April 2022 to £1,971 and it will increase again by 27% October 2022 to £2,500.
The Government recognises that many households need support with the cost of rising energy bills. Along with the announcement of the Energy Price Guarantee, the Energy Bills Support Scheme is intended to provide support for domestic energy meter customers with a £400 discount, October 2022 until March 2023. While the requirement to repay has been scrapped.
Its important to remember this discount is automatic. If you receive any messages or calls asking for bank details this could be a scam. You can report messages you think are suspicious. More details on how to report can be found at avoid and report internet scams and phishing: Report internet scams and phishing GOV.UK.
All households with a domestic electricity connection in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible for the discount.
If your circumstances change, you’ll still get the discount if:
- you change your payment method
- you change your tariff
- you switch electricity supplier
- you move to a new address
- your supplier goes bust
- you’re in arrears on your electricity bill payments
If you live in a park home, houseboat or off the grid
The government has confirmed that further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the 1% of households who are not eligible for the discount.
This includes households without a domestic electricity meter and a direct relationship with an electricity supplier, for example if you live in a park home, houseboat or you live off the grid.
You do not need to apply for the discount, and there’s no need to contact your energy supplier.
The discount will be applied to your monthly household electricity bill for 6 months starting in October 2022. You’ll get:
- £66 in October and November
- £67 in December, January, February, and March
You’ll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card.
Traditional prepayment meter users will get equivalent vouchers that you will need to redeem - see ‘If you have a traditional prepayment meter’ below for more information.
Your electricity supplier should provide more guidance on the scheme before it starts. If you have not received your first instalment by the end of October 2022, you need to contact your supplier.
Direct debit customers
You’ll get the discount automatically in one of the following ways, as:
- a reduction to your monthly direct debit amount
- a refund to your bank account following the monthly direct debit collection
Standard credit or payment card customers
Your discount will be automatically applied as a credit to your account in the first week of each month. The credit will appear as it would if you had made a payment.
Smart prepayment meter
Your discount will be credited directly to your smart prepayment meter in the first week of each month.
If you have a traditional prepayment meter
You’ll get the discount from the first week of each month. You’ll get the discount automatically in one of the following ways, as:
- redeemable vouchers, sent by SMS text, email or post
- an automatic credit when you top up at your usual top up point
Your electricity supplier will let you know in advance how you will get your discount.
Your supplier should have your contact details, but if you’re not sure or you don’t receive any information from them, you should check that they have your latest number and email.
If you get vouchers, you’ll need to redeem them at a top-up point. Your supplier will tell you where to redeem them, for example at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop. Payzone outlets are unable to accept the vouchers.
If you pay for your electricity as part of your rent
If your landlord has a domestic electricity contract with a licensed electricity supplier, and you pay for your electricity as part of your rent, your landlord may pass their discount on to you.
Your landlord may be reselling the electricity to you based on your usage, in which case:
- they must comply with the maximum resale price rules which say they must not make a profit
- the maximum resale price for electricity is currently set at the same price as that paid by the person reselling it (see Ofgem’s guidance on ensuring customers are being charged no more than they should)
Your landlord may charge an ‘all inclusive’ rent, where a fixed cost for energy usage is included in your rental charges, in which case:
- they are encouraged to come to an agreement with you on the discount in line with the arrangement in your tenancy agreement
- the landlord’s fixed charge may already provide you with similar protection from the impact of the energy price increase