Thousands still waiting for emergency payment to help with winter fuel bills in Devon

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Thousands of households across the South West that rely on domestic heating oil are still waiting for emergency payments to help with their bills this winter.

The Government promised £100 to families that are not connected to mains gas, as part of its Energy Bills Support Scheme, but there is still no detail on how this will be paid.

Heating oil customer Amanda Barrow, who runs a small campsite at Dawlish in Devon, says the money needs to be paid soon, before the oil price rises any further.

She said "It will help if it is distributed now. If it's distributed in January that's no good because that will be taken up in price increases.

"The likelihood is, with everything that is going on in Ukraine and Russia, these prices are only going to go up. They're not going to go down so we need the money now, not in two months time."

Amanda Barrow and her son David are both heating oil users Credit: ITV Westcountry

Amanda's son David said people who rely on oil for their hot water and heating cannot wait any longer to top up their tanks.

He said: "Winter is coming. I want to get the cheapest deal I can possibly get because I don't earn great money. I am on minimum wage. It is really difficult, so I monitor it quite closely.

David added: "With gas, you can probably talk to the companies and negotiate if you are struggling. With oil, if you haven't got the money, that's it."

Many homes in rural areas do not have access to mains gas Credit: ITV Westcountry

There are said to be more than 135,000 households in the South West that are dependent on heating oil.

The Government said details of when the Alternative Fuel Payment will be made will be confirmed shortly and it is expected to be paid as a credit on electricity bills.

A spokesperson at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We recognise people are struggling with the rising cost of living, including those who use heating oil to warm their homes, which is why we remain committed to delivering the £100 Alternative Fuel Payment to customers as quickly as possible.

"We are also working rapidly with stakeholders on the best way to identify and deliver support to those who do not use the gas grid for their heating.”