Thousands of people living in homes with central electricity are still waiting to know if and when the UK government will pay them the £400 promised under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
While those in traditional homes with standard electricity meters are set to receive their second monthly payment of £66, concern is growing among some of the hundreds of thousands of families who get electricity through a community supply that they will see none of the money. They promised.
The government has informed the activists of an announcement of how their salaries will be paid in “weeks instead of months”.
The Energy Bills Support Scheme, announced by then-chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in February provides a £400 discount to households through reduced domestic electricity bills spread over six months between October 2022 and March 2023.
While payments were going to those living in ordinary homes and paying for their energy via direct debt, the scheme had problems getting the money to other groups.
Last week, it emerged that people using prepaid meters were struggling to use vouchers to connect their help, while those who depended in their homes on shared electricity supplies and local sub-meters–private wiring supplies, as they are called–remain in the dark because they for how to help them.
The problem mostly affects those who live in recent residential developments with communal electricity supply. These tenants are usually billed by the landlord or the managing agent company according to the amount recorded by a sub-counter. It’s a similar story in most of the UK’s 180,000 or so homes, and many larger homes that have been converted into family homes.
This week The Guardian reached out to the owner of one of 63 apartments in the Horizon View complex in Westward Ho! in Devon.
Sue Ellis said: ‘While most apartments are vacation vacations and are not entitled to payments, there is a core group of seniors, many with serious health issues, who live here all the time but don’t make the £400 like Everyone has promised.
“I understand that because while each apartment has its own gas meter, all electricity is centrally provided by one company. Concerned about my elderly neighbours, I asked our local MP about the matter but heard nothing more than an admission.”
Stephen Knight, director of Heat Trust, the national consumer protection scheme for heat networks, says he has taken up this issue with ministers and was informed that a decision remains a long way off.
“Traditionally, there was good reason to have a centralized electricity supplier in some buildings. They usually had solar panels or other generation capacity, which allowed residents to share in the benefits. Ministers promised they would look into the matter but so far no details have emerged on how Pay this group after.”
A government spokesperson said: “We know this is a difficult time for people across the country, including those with a shared electricity supply, which is why they will be getting help with their energy bills through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. We have issued Recently, legislation meant that private network suppliers must pass on the savings they receive through the program to residents.
“In addition, community electricity users will also receive a £400 subsidy through a scheme that has been set up for those without a local electricity meter which we will announce soon.”