Calls for clarity on how £600 energy payment will be delivered in Northern Ireland

There have been calls for clarity on how the £600 energy payment will be delivered to Northern Ireland.

Households will receive support with energy bills in the form of a single payment of £600 from as soon as January 2023.

However, both Sinn Fein and the DUP say it is unclear how the money will be delivered.

“It should have been paid long before now, but finally we have at least got confirmation that people are going to start to receive their payments from January,” said Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill.

"That’s all that we know at this stage, that it’s a £600 payment, a one-off payment paid directly to every household across the north.

“There are still some details that need to be clarified and we are asking for that from the British government.

“I have no doubt that had there been an Executive up and running this money would have been with people long before now and I very much regret that that is the case.”

Direct debit customers will receive the payment of £600 automatically into their bank account, but the DUP’s former Economy Minister Gordon Lyons says that still leaves a lot of people in the dark.

“We have some clarity for those who pay their electricity by direct debit, what we don’t have is any clarity whatsoever for keypad meter customers who make up a significant portion of the market here in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We don’t know how that is going to be paid to them, we don’t know when it is going to be paid, we don’t know the verification system.

“These are all very complex issues. These issues were addressed in July and August this year when we were looking at the different schemes that might be possible. So I hope that the Government have the answers to those questions because right now, nobody in Northern Ireland is any the clearer.”

Retail NI are also calling for further clarification on how those consumers with top-up electricity and gas cards will receive their payment given that many of its members process the payments in their stores.

“While this announcement is welcome, further clarification is needed from the UK Government as to how consumers who use top up gas and electricity cards, will qualify for the £600 payment,” Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said.

“This clarity is just not important for those customers, but also for many of our members who process these top up card payments in their shops. We need detailed guidance given to retailers on the next steps

“Many of our members know first-hand just how many of their customers who use top up cards are struggling with the huge cost of energy. These low-income families need to be first in the queue for assistance and not an afterthought”

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