UK Government announces plans for energy support for off-grid households
Off-grid homes in Wales which have missed out on help with soaring energy costs, will be able to claim support from the start of next year.
Overall it is estimated that 19% of households in Wales are not connected to the gas grid.
Ceredigion has the highest percentage of off-grid homes, according to UK Government figures, with 74% not on the gas grid in 2020. Powys has the second highest number of homes without a mains gas connection at 55%, followed by 53% of properties in Ynys Mon and 49% in Gwynedd.
The UK Government has announced it will pay £200 to households which use fuels such as heating oil or wood pellets this winter.
Care home residents, people who live on houseboats or in park homes and those who live off-grid will also qualify for £400 in support from the new scheme – matching what is being paid out to millions of households with a more traditional energy set-up.
The support – which will also allow Travellers access to the cash for the first time – will extend to the 900,000 households in Great Britain that do not have a direct relationship with an energy supplier.
It also confirmed that households in Northern Ireland will receive a single £600 payment to help with their energy bills, starting in January.
“Putin’s illegal war has caused global energy prices to soar, but we are continuing to work hard and urgently to get help to households across the UK, and this update provides people with more certainty on when and how we will deliver help with fuel bills,” said UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps.
The support comes on top of the energy price guarantee, announced under Liz Truss’s government, which caps the price that a household pays for electricity at 34p per unit and 10.3p for a unit of gas.
For a household using an average amount of energy, this will mean an annual bill of around £2,500. But of course this is relative to how much energy you use.
Most households are also receiving £400 this winter either taken directly off their bill, or in the form of vouchers.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re already limiting the amount suppliers can charge consumers for their energy through the Energy Price Guarantee, which will continue to help consumers through to March 2024.
“We’ve all seen and felt the temperature dropping recently, so today’s updates will help millions worry less about their energy and heating bills this winter.”
Payments of the £400 to households without a direct relationship with a supplier will be made through local authorities across Great Britain.
Online applications open in January. There will also be a helpline for those without internet access.
Those who benefit will also include people in sheltered accommodation, those who pay through a landlord on a commercial supply deal, homes on a heat network and farmhouses that are only used for domestic purposes.
Minister for energy and climate Graham Stuart said: “Getting this support for households’ bills out across the country will save hundreds of pounds for millions of people during the coldest months of the year.
“This has been a top priority and joint effort, with close work between officials and electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland, as well as with local authorities in Great Britain who will help get support to over 900,000 households who don’t have the direct relationship with energy suppliers that the vast majority of households do.”
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