Pensioners To Get £20m Saving On Energy Bills
By Alison Steed
AROUND 250,000 pensioners will get £80 off their next electricity bill if they are with British Gas, EDF Energy, E.On, npower , ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy and their subsidiary companies.
In a deal struck by the Government with the main energy suppliers earlier this year, up to £20m will be rebated to Britain’s poorest pensioners in a one-off rebate.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is writing to everyone who is eligible to let them know their rebate will be paid automatically, or to call the helpline on 0845 600 0033 to confirm their entitlement.
Steve Webb, Minister of State for Pensions, said: "This cash will help thousands of pensioners get help with their fuel bills who might otherwise be struggling to make ends meet. As many rebates as possible will be awarded automatically, however this will not apply in all cases. If anyone gets a letter from us asking them to call our helpline they should ring straight away to make sure they don't miss out."
Those eligible are households where at least one person is aged 70 or over, receiving the guaranteed element of Pension Credit but not the savings credit element, are responsible for the electricity account where they live and don't already benefit from a discounted tariff.
Gregory Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, said: "This scheme is a huge step forward in the way we help the most vulnerable people in society pay their fuel bills in the future. Fuel poverty remains a massive concern and the coalition government is committed to being far more effective in the way it helps those most in need."
The Government will evaluate the scheme, which is operating under an existing voluntary agreement with these energy suppliers, and see what lessons can be learned for tackling fuel poverty in the future.
More information is available at www.direct.gov.uk/energyrebate or via the Scheme helpline on 0845 600 0033.
Who will get the rebate?
Pensioners are eligible if, on 26 March 2010, all of the following applied to them, or their partner:
- they were aged 70 or over.
- they were receiving the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit but not the savings credit element.
- they were responsible for the electricity account where they live and were not receiving a social or discounted tariff on their electricity bill.
The guarantee credit element of Pension Credit guarantees a minimum income by topping up weekly income to £132.60 a week for a single person, or £202.40 for a couple. The savings credit element is for people who have made some provision towards their retirement such as savings or a second pension.
Pensioners who are living permanently in a care home or who were in hospital receiving free in-patient treatment and had been for more than 52 weeks will not be included in the scheme.
All eligible customers should have received a letter by the end of July 2010.
Pensioners who receive Pension Credit also get help to pay their fuel costs during cold spells in their area through Cold Weather Payments. Most people who have reached state pension age for women are also eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment.
Further information is available to the public at the Energy Rebate Scheme Helpline on 0845 600 0033. Those with speech or hearing difficulties can call text phone on 0845 606 0285.