“No one has the impetus to sort it out because they don’t benefit from the rebate,” the woman said. “But it’s important to me. £60 is potentially two months of electricity based on what I use, and in the cost of living crisis that money can make a huge difference.”
After The Big Issue contacted EDF, a representative for the CEO’s office reached out to the woman about her concerns and the company is making progress to ensure the meter is registered.
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Alasdair Mcclenahan, from tenant advice non-profit Justice for Tenants, said: “Energy companies should be writing to all addresses where they have a customer who they have not given a rebate to, informing them they are entitled to a rebate, and giving clear instructions on how to claim the rebate.”
He added that it’s “especially upsetting” as people on prepayment meters are often the poorest tenants, who are most in need of this rebate.
Another person told The Big Issue they were in a similar position – having had years of issues getting their prepayment meter registered with the correct address. Their meter is believed to have been incorrectly registered, so the supplier has no record of the serial number.
After nearly 14 years trying to get the meter correctly registered and updated, there is still significant confusion over which supplier is actually providing them with electricity. British Gas has said the electricity rebate vouchers are in the post, but there is no sign of them and the voucher number given over the phone was refused by the Post Office.
“I’m angry and frustrated,” the person said. “It’s even affected my sleep as it just rolls around in my head, over and over again.”
Payment company PayPoint, which also processes the vouchers, told the BBC it expected to process 800,000 vouchers in October, worth a total of £52.8million. Only £27million has been redeemed so far.
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis also tweeted saying he has heard some people are unable to claim their energy support vouchers because they “say you need photo ID – and you may not have”. He added they should accept a household bill or bank statement dated within the last 12 months instead.
Another reason people seem to be missing the vouchers is that they are simply not turning up in the post. One man called British Gas a week after the vouchers were expected and was told by customer services that they had already been sent.
“They couldn’t provide me with a date it was sent or an estimated date of arrival for it,” he added. “As of today I haven’t received any voucher.”
A spokesperson for Energy UK, the country’s largest energy trade association, said customers who haven’t received vouchers should get in touch with their suppliers.
They added: “Suppliers want to do everything they can to help those struggling with bills and so will make repeated attempts to ensure customers receive their vouchers, using the channels and contact details available to them.”
Mcclenahan, of Justice for Tenants, also advised that customers reach out to their energy provider in writing to request their rebate, confirming their meter serial number and also their home address. If the issue isn’t resolved he suggested complaining to regulator Ofgem.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not respond to a request for comment.
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