The long-awaited £600 energy support payment has begun to arrive with Northern Ireland households.
The support, pledged by the government last year has been delayed in Northern Ireland. Officials in London have blamed the difference in the market place in NI and the collapse of power sharing.
Households in the rest of the UK began receiving payments in October, and receive monthly installments.
In Northern Ireland, the original £400 payment was upped to £600 due to the amount of people who rely on alternative fuel such as oil.
The government has said around 800,000 households will get the money. Those with a second home will get it twice. Around 500,000 will get a voucher.
Am I eligible?
All households with a domestic meter (T01) and electricity contract are eligible for the payment. For those without a domestic meter or non-domestic contract, there will be a separate scheme for them. When will I receive payments?
Payments will be rolled out over the next four weeks and will be completed by the end of February.
The first payments being made to consumers registered as vulnerable with their energy supplier, and the remainder being posted in batches to assist delivery.
Vouchers went out from Friday to those on pre-payment meters. While those on direct debit will receive theirs between January 16 and February 23.
What if I don't receive my payment?
You should wait until the end of February, and if you have still not received your money contact your supplier.
How will I receive payments?
Payments are being made in two ways, depending on how households pay for their energy.
Direct debit customers will receive the payment of £600 automatically into their bank account.
While those other customers - who are on pre-paid meter for example - will receive vouchers, which can be redeemed at post office branches.
The Post Office said it has worked with the electricity suppliers to prioritise the delivery of vouchers to households on the customer care register.
Do I need to do anything?
Not at first. But pay attention to what comes in the post.
The Post Office has urged everyone due to receive a voucher to pay close attention to their post and to be careful not to accidentally throw their voucher away.
Letters will be marked indicating there are "important documents" enclosed. If you do pre-pay, the voucher will be addressed to "the occupier".
What do I need to redeem the voucher?
The Post Office is urging people to cash in the voucher as soon as possible with staff working "flat out" to process the vouchers. It can deposit the money in bank accounts, or pay cash.
People have been urged to read the voucher carefully and ensure they have the right identification in order to get the money.
Andrew Goddard, head of payments for the Post Office, added: “We also encourage customers to receive your money and deposit this straight into your bank account. We have an agreement with all the major banks and staff at the branch will be able to do this for you there and then. “Your energy provider may contact you to say your voucher should be arriving in the post soon."
Will I receive the vouchers in any other way?
No. The voucher will come in the post and no other way. The public have been urged to be wary of those that may take advantage. The voucher will never be sent by email, text or other route.
What do I need to redeem my voucher?
1. The letter containing the voucher. 2. Proof of address - this must show your address and be dated between 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2023. Acceptable proof of address includes (but is not limited to): - utility bill such as phone, water, electricity, TV licence - bank statement - rental or mortgage agreement - letter from a UK government or Northern Ireland department 3. If you are requesting payment into an account - your bank card and / or account details. 4. Photo ID - only required if you are redeeming your voucher as cash. Your ID must be valid at the time you redeem your voucher, and must be one of the following: - passport - UK or EU / EEA photo driving licence - Armed Forces ID card or Police Warrant card - Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card - Translink SmartPass (senior / 60+ / war disabled / blind person) - Asylum ID card If you do not have photo ID, you should either: obtain photo ID - see how to apply for an Electoral Identity Card. contact your electricity supplier to redeem as cash 5. Keypad customers only also need to bring their keypad app or top up card, in addition to the voucher and proof of address. If you are not able to provide your top up card or app, you will not be able to redeem the voucher for the keypad. Can someone get my money for me?
If you are unable to take your voucher to the Post Office, you can nominate someone to redeem it on your behalf. You must complete the template on the back of the voucher to provide written authorisation for the person you have nominated to redeem your payment. To be able to redeem the payment on your behalf at the Post Office, the nominated person must take: - the voucher with completed authorisation - your photo ID and proof of address - their photo ID - your bank account details if the payment is being made into your account - if you are a keypad customer, they must show your keypad app or top up card - If you pay for your electricity as part of your rent Your landlord may be reselling the electricity to you based on your usage, in which case they must comply with the regulations which require third party intermediaries such as landlords to pass the support through in a just and reasonable way to end users such as tenants.
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