Winter feels a way off right now, but we’re already feeling a little daunted by the energy bills. Yesterday we were warned UK citizens could be facing a £500-a-month bill by January next year, and it can feel like the bad news just keeps coming.
But amid all the cost-of-living anxiety, there might be a small relief to take some of the load off. Some households in the UK will be able to get £400 knocked off their energy bills for the winter, starting in October this year.
The discount of £66 will be made in six instalments, and rise to £67 in December this year, as part of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Importantly, you won’t ever have to pay this amount back because it’s a discount, not a loan.
And what’s more, it’s going to be pretty simple. If you pay with a credit or debit card, you’ll receive an automatic deduction to your bill. For those with a traditional prepayment meter, there will be energy bill discount vouchers in the first week of each month, issued visa post, email or text message.
The government has announced that energy suppliers will have to report evidence that customers have received the £400 discount as well as that they’ve been notified of it in writing.
Of course, this is a drop in the ocean for a lot of UK households. It was only in April this year that the cap on energy charges was raised, hiking prices up to £1,971 a year on average. And the forecast isn’t looking good either – bills are expected to hit £3,850 by January.
There have even been some protests gathering momentum in response, like this campaign urging millions not to pay their energy bills this winter.