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Prepayment energy meters – don’t miss out on free vouchers!

If we have an older-style prepayment energy meter we should have received a voucher in October

Lots of us with prepayment energy meters might be missing out on help with our bills that’s worth hundreds of pounds.

Since the start of October the government has been giving every home cash to help with their energy bills. It’s called the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

If we have a smart prepayment meter or pay by Direct Debit we get the discount automatically. (Watch out for this text scam telling us we have to apply for it).

But if we have an old-style prepayment meter we’ll be sent vouchers in the post, by email or by text message.

The first voucher was worth £66 and was due in October – so we should have had it by now. We’ll get the vouchers over winter for six months and we’ll get £400 in total.

We have 90 days to redeem the vouchers. But figures suggest that so far nearly half of us haven’t cashed in the October payment.

Why has this happened?

It seems some vouchers haven’t been sent yet, and some may have been delayed by postal strikes. But there are concerns people may not know about the vouchers and so aren’t checking their post.

If we haven’t had ours yet we need to contact our energy supplier as soon as possible. They’ll help us find out what’s gone wrong.

We can redeem our vouchers at the Post Office or at PayPoint stores – wherever we usually top up.

The Post Office says that if we forgot to claim our October discount we can bring the voucher in when we claim our November payment.

If we’ve been holding on to our voucher because the weather hasn’t been cold that’s fine – as long as we remember to cash it in before our 90 days (about three months) are up.

Prepayment meters

More than four million of us have a prepayment meter and around half are the older style. What’s more, many of us are going on to prepayment meters as energy prices continue to climb.

The cost per unit of energy has been frozen over winter, meaning a typical home will pay around £2,500 a year. But because it’s the unit price that’s capped, the more we use, the more we’ll pay. There’s no cap on bills.

And with a prepayment meter, it means the money we put on it won’t last as long as it used to when the price cap was lower.

(Quids in! has lots of tips on cutting energy use where we can).

That’s why it’s so important to make sure we’re using our energy vouchers. And check out the Quids in! website for details of other help with paying bills.

If we’re struggling, we should always check with our supplier in the first instance. They might have a fund to help us pay, or be able to rejig our payments if we’re in arrears.

Worried about bills? Check out the latest Quids in! tips on ways to do more than just cut back on usage and #ThinkBiggerThanBills.

Image: Bigstock

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