Cost of living warning: £400 energy bills boost may be ‘faff’ for Britons on older devices

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Martin Lewis fumes at the 77% price cap increase on bills

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Ministers confirmed today that the extra help will be paid to consumers over six months by energy suppliers. However, the payment scheme may be difficult to process for Britons on older prepayment devices, an expert has warned.

However, the payment scheme may be difficult to process for Britons on older prepayment devices, an expert has warned.

Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst at interactive investor, warned that it will be easier for some than others to access the cash.

He said: “The payment of the energy bill grant will be seamless for consumers who pay their energy bills via direct debit and those with ‘smart’ prepayment devices.

“They will see an automatic deduction off those bills.

“However, it will be a bit of a faff for those with older “non-smart” prepayment devices.

“This cohort will not get this money automatically. Instead, they will receive an energy bill discount voucher in the first week of each month, via text, email or in the post.

“They then would have to redeem these in person at their usual top-up point, such as a local Post Office or a shop which offers PayPoint or Payzone.”

The government has said it will work with suppliers and third parties on targeted communications and messaging, to ensure that prepayment customers use the vouchers.

Payments will start from October 2022, to ensure households receive financial support over the winter months.

Consumers will get a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.

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Another concern is that scammers will look to take advantage of the Government’s cost of living package, which includes a £650 one-off payment for people on low incomes.

The first instalment of the payment has been going out to people on Universal Credit, Income Support and Pension Credit this month.

Mr Jobson said: “It is important to be extra vigilant and be wary of scams amid the rollout of various government cost of living support schemes.

“As we saw during the pandemic, there are no depths unscrupulous individuals won’t sink to to swindle cash from unsuspecting victims.

“Households will never be asked for their bank details to receive the energy bill grant, and those with a domestic electricity connection will not need to apply.”

The financial expert also warned that the Government’s cost of living package announced in May is already out of date, with inflation set to reach 11 percent by the end of the year.

He said: “Every little helps when battling the onslaught of inflation, but the multi-billion energy support package announced in May is already out of date, with some sections of the energy industry predicting that the energy price cap could rise by £3,420 in October – a much higher sum than the £2,800 predicted in May by Ofgem.

“Prices could soar further still by an additional £500 for the month of January alone.

“This winter is set to be the bleakest when it comes to energy bills in a generation.

“The energy bills situation is already beyond crisis point for many of the most vulnerable members of society and the expected price cap rise is set to push more and more people into fuel poverty and could force households to choose between ‘eat or heat.’”

He urged Britons to assess their finances and make sure they have what they need in place for the coming months.

Some energy providers have support for customers struggling to pay their bills or keep on top of energy debt.

The British Gas Energy Trust offers grants of up to £1,500, with higher amounts available in exceptional circumstances.

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