Households in Northern Ireland can expect to receive help with energy bills this month, as the Government confirmed a single payment of £600 will start in January. The support combines the £400 from the energy bills support scheme, as well as £200 under the Alternative Fuel Payment scheme announced during Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement. New details have also been confirmed for people who live in park homes, off-grid, and care homes, who are still yet to receive their energy rebate.
According to the Government, the Northern Ireland scheme differs from the energy bill support scheme in Great Britain to account for the “particular” and “complex nature” of the NI energy market and the “delays caused by the lack of the NI Executive”.
Recognising the urgent need for this support, the Government confirmed NI consumers will benefit from a single, one-off £600 payment, which means that they will receive the full amount before households in Great Britain, and payments will start this January.
On the support on offer, Grant Shapps, business and energy secretary, said: “We want households in Northern Ireland to be able to keep warm this winter and reduce the worry about the consequences of turning up the thermostat.”
He noted the support comes in addition to the energy price guarantee, which has been subsidising NI energy bills since November.
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Mr Shapps continued: “Northern Ireland energy users will be the first in the UK to receive the complete payment package offered through our Energy Bills Support Scheme. This, combined with our NI Alternative Fuel Payments, means households will receive a total of £600 from [January].
Graham Stuart, minister for energy and climate, said January’s support will be “a lifeline” for households across Northern Ireland.
He said: “It will add to our existing support, giving people the peace of mind they need to keep their heating on and ward off what has been a biting winter so far.
“We’ve worked tirelessly to support the people of Northern Ireland with rising energy costs and this is another step in our comprehensive response to shield the public from the impacts of global strains on the energy market.”
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This includes people who live in park homes, houseboats, off-grid and care homes, or pay their energy bills as part of all-inclusive rent directly to their landlord.
The process is expected to be “up and running” for applications this winter, according to a written response from MP Graham Stuart.
Answering a question tabled by MP Liz Saville Roberts in December on when park home residents can expect to receive their energy bill support and how it will be distributed, Mr Stuart said: “The Government is working to finalise the details of the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding and have the process up and running for applications this winter.”
He said eligibility, timescales and the method of delivery will be announced shortly.