More than half of energy support vouchers issued in Northern Ireland have been redeemed

More than half of the £600 energy support scheme vouchers issued in Northern Ireland have been redeemed at the Post Office.

Those who pay their electricity bills by direct debit receive the £600 directly into their bank accounts.

Thousands of others are receiving the payment via a voucher posted to their house to be redeemed at a Post Office.

The money includes a £400 payment as part of a UK-wide support scheme and an additional £200 in recognition of Northern Ireland's dependence on home heating oil.

Electricity companies are being funded directly for the scheme to deliver money to households amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Consumers in the rest of the UK began to receive energy support payments last year, with the political impasse at Stormont blamed for the delay in the rollout in Northern Ireland.

The rollout of the vouchers started in the region two weeks ago in the middle of January.

On Tuesday, the Post Office said more than half of the total energy vouchers, issued on behalf of the Government to households in Northern Ireland, have now been redeemed, according to its data.

A spokeswoman said around 250,000 vouchers have been redeemed out of a total of 500,000 that are being issued in the ongoing rollout.

The rollout of the vouchers has been described as on track to be completed before the end of February.

The Post Office has urged everyone due to receive a voucher to pay close attention to their post and to follow instructions in the letter to redeem their voucher.

Andrew Goddard, head of payments for the Post Office, said it is pleased with the progress of the voucher rollout.

"Our postmasters have been working hard within their communities to help people redeem their vouchers quickly," he said.

"We are pleased with the incredible progress of the voucher rollout, with over half of the total vouchers having now been redeemed within just two weeks of starting the mail-outs.

"We ask people who are due a voucher to keep a close eye out for it in the post.

"Please read the voucher very carefully and ensure you take it, plus the forms of ID specified, to ensure the post office teams can process your voucher and you receive your money."

UK Energy Minister Graham Stuart added: "In just a matter of weeks since the scheme launched, more than a quarter of a million Northern Ireland households have redeemed their UK Government energy bill support vouchers - providing £600 to help with energy costs.

"Today's figures from the Post Office show just how quickly the support has arrived, with over half of vouchers issued so far used. However, I am urging anyone who has not yet redeemed their voucher to pop to their local Post Office as soon as possible so they can reap the benefits of this support.

"Vouchers are being issued throughout February so all households on Keypad meters should look out for them."

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