More than 700,000 households thought to have missed out on £400 energy bill support
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Around 700,000 households might have missed out on a payment of £400 that was aimed at helping relieve some of the pressure of high energy bills.
If you remember back to the winter – although many of us are trying to forget it – the energy crisis really was pretty all-consuming.
However, not everyone has an energy supplier in then traditional way, so they were eligible for payments of up to £400, but they would have had to apply.
We’re looking at people who have houseboats or park homes, and the like.
Back in February, the government said that they reckoned 900,000 homes were eligible to receive this support, but – according to BBC research – only 200,000 applications were made before the cut-off point on May 31.
That means that there could be as many as 700,000 households out there who simply got nothing, when they could have had a £400 payment.
It’s a lot of money to turn down, isn’t it?
All households were supposed to get £400, as per the government’s plans to ease energy price pressure, with anyone paying their bill through direct debit getting that paid monthly from October until March.
However, non-conventional energy users had to claim the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding earlier on this year.
According to the BBC, who have analysed data from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, there were more than 200,000 applicants - with 125,000 having been paid by June - whereas 6,000 had been accepted but not paid, with 13,000 on hold or waiting for validation from councils.
Then, about 60,000 were rejected or cancelled, which means that a lot of people missed out on the support money.
Matt Cole, from charity the Fuel Bank Foundation, said that there could be a few things at play when considering why more people didn’t claim.
He told BBC News: "The launch of the scheme in spring this year rather before winter when it was needed most, the reliance on families self-identifying that they were eligible rather than them automatically receiving it, and the somewhat complex process to claim help will all have contributed."
The government said it spent more than £50 million ‘supporting 130,000 households without a domestic energy supplier’.
That means that around £300 million of the £360 million possible was not claimed.
Narrowboat owners have reported problems, with one man claiming he was told that he might be ineligible for the support.
Mark, who lives on his canal boat, said: "A lot of people [on canal boats] tried to put an application through for claiming for it [but] we hit a barrier when it said: 'Do you live in a marina or are you off grid?'
"The minute you clicked 'off grid' you went through to a box that said 'you are not eligible at this time'.
"[The £400 payment] would've been a great help. That money's had to come from somewhere so it's had to come out of the rest of my budgeting or my savings.
"It would've made my winter a bit easier, maybe I could have spent a bit more money on the grandkids."
A spokesperson for the government said: "We spent billions to protect families when prices rose over winter, covering nearly half a typical household's energy bill.
"We're now seeing costs fall even further with wholesale energy prices down by over two thirds since their peak.
"We are urging councils to process applications and complete final checks as quickly as possible to ensure all those eligible receive the support they need."