With energy prices as high as they are, it is no wonder many households in NI are struggling to heat their homes this winter. Help has come in the form of a new scheme which aims to support up to 20,000 households in NI during this difficult season.
The emergency scheme, developed by the Department for Communities alongside the Consumer Council, Bryson Energy and local energy suppliers, offers a one-off support of £100 to be spent on oil, gas or electricity.
What does the support give you?
Households can apply once for one of the following options:
- £100 electricity meter top-up for pay-as-you go customers or a credit to your account for billing customers
- £98 gas meter top-up for pay-as-you go customers or a credit to your account for billing customers
- £100 oil credit with an oil supplier
Are you eligible for support?
- Have a total gross annual household income of less than £23,000. (Do not include Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Carer’s Allowance or Attendance Allowance in this calculation)
- Have been made unemployed in the last 8 weeks and are awaiting confirmation of benefit / first benefit payment
- Have had your benefits payments recently interrupted
- Have ran out of your chosen energy type (electricity, gas, or oil)
- Have 3-5 days or less worth or less of your chosen energy type (electricity, gas, or oil)
You will need to provide various pieces of evidence, such as bank statements to prove your annual income or a photograph to show that you have run out of your energy source.
When will I receive support?
After you have completed your application, you should receive a confirmation email and 24hrs later a text message to advise you on whether you are eligible. Support will be arranged directly with suppliers rather than customers.
Energy saving help
This scheme comes at a critical time for many families as this year sees huge price hikes across all energy suppliers in Northern Ireland. If you are waiting for support or are not eligible for support, you can still consider other means of managing your energy bills.
For one, make sure that you have switched energy suppliers in the last 12 months. If you have not, you are unlikely to be paying the cheapest price for your energy. Power to Switch customers, for instance, save roughly £140 when they switch with us.
You can then have a look at energy saving tips on our blog. See the following for advice for the winter in particular: