Energy Bills Support Payments
Households in Northern Ireland are to receive a single non-repayable payment totalling £600 to help with their energy bills. What are the arrangements for students living in the private sector?
The current guidance on this payment can be found on the NI Direct website.
You can also find helpful information from the Consumer Council here. Support with energy costs | Consumer Council
- For those who pay by Direct Debit, the £600 payment will be made directly to the account from which the direct debit is made. In a shared house, the occupants will need to arrange how this payment will be distributed and used.You are advised to discuss this with your flatmates to ensure that this is done in a fair and equitable manner.
- Those with a keypad meter, or who have a standard account they pay as bills are received, will receive a voucher to the household. For those with a keypad meter, the voucher will be addressed to the occupier. For those who pay as bills are received, the voucher will be in the name of the registered electricity bill payer. The voucher can be redeemed in a Post Office - providing the relevant proof of address and ID are provided. Keypad customers need to bring their keypad app or top up card to the Post Office, along with the voucher and proof of address (if you're not able to provide your top-up card or app, you will not be able to redeem the voucher for the keypad). Those in a shared house will need to make arrangements between themselves as to who will ‘cash’ the voucher and how the funds will be distributed between tenants of the property.
- For students with a landlord who charges ‘all inclusive’ rent - where a fixed cost for energy usage is included in your rental charges - the landlord is required to 'pass through the support through in a just and reasonable way to tenants’. Regulations for ‘pass-through’ requirements came into force in NI on 12 January 2023 and the official government guidance can be found here. The guidance provides information on the obligations of landlords who charge for energy usage to notify their tenants if they received the energy support payment and how they will pass the benefit of this payment on to tenants. It is important to understand, it does not necessarily follow that your landlord must provide you with a monetary payment. If landlords do not deem it appropriate to pass on some or all of the benefit they received, they must outline in writing why this is the case. The guidance includes a series of illustrative examples of how the pass-through requirements apply in hypothetical scenarios and what the tenant can do if the pass-through requirements are not met. If you have concerns about the way your landlord is managing the payment, please contact SU Advice for further advice.
The PSNI is urging householders to be vigilant and on their guard against scammers looking to cash in on these payments. You can view the PSNI advice: Vigilance urged against scammers cashing in on energy payment vouchers | PSNI
If you have queries relating to the payment, please contact SU Advice: firstname.lastname@example.org.