Prepayment meter energy vouchers worth millions of pounds unclaimed - how to get yours

380,000 energy vouchers were left unclaimed by households on prepayment meters, Post Office data reveals

Woman at home calculating expenses, paying bills
(Image credit: Getty images)

One in five households on prepayment meters has not redeemed energy vouchers in October and November to help with their energy bills.

81% of energy vouchers were claimed in October and November according to Post Office figures, leaving around 380,000 homes with unclaimed vouchers. Missing out on £132 support with energy bills. 

Every household in the UK is receiving £400 through the Energy Support Scheme and customers who pay their energy bills via direct debit have automatically received the £66 monthly payments in their bank account. 

Unfortunately, customers on prepayment meters have to claim vouchers to receive the same support via email or post. Vouchers then have to be taken to a local PayPoint store or a Post Office to be credited onto a meter.

Not only have many of those on pre-payment meters - who are often considered vulnerable - missing out on essential financial support, but wrongful prepayment meter installation has also been making the headlines.

The government is urging energy suppliers to do more so customers can take advantage of the help they are entitled to. 

They said suppliers should make a minimum of three attempts to reach customers by using more than one means of communication, which can be via post, text message or email. 

The deadline to claim the November vouchers was 5 February which has now passed, but there are still ways to claim.

How to claim the energy vouchers

Although the vouchers have expired, there is still time to claim if you are on a prepayment meter. 

To claim the vouchers you can contact your energy supplier, check that they have the correct contact details on record - your address or email - and ask it to reissue the vouchers. 

If you haven’t claimed the vouchers for October and November, make sure you tell your energy supplier this, so you can be issued all of the support you are entitled to.

Other help available on energy bills

There is more help available on energy bills that you can take advantage of. 

  • Hardship funds. Many energy providers are offering hardship funds if you are on a low income and are struggling to pay your energy bill. In most cases you can only get a hardship fund from your current energy supplier, find out what help suppliers are offering in their hardship fund. British Gas is an exception as you do not need to be a customer and anyone on a low income can apply. 
  • Get paid to use energy at off-peak hours. Some energy providers including Britsh Gas, Ovo Energy and Octopus Energy are encouraging customers to use energy at off-peak times by giving up to a £100 reward incentive. Read more on how it works and what your energy provider is offering its customers in return. The scheme is running until March. 
  • Contact your local council. You might be eligible for financial support through your local council via their Household Support Fund or welfare assistance schemes. And you could get extra support if you claim Universal Credit. 
  • State benefits to help with energy costs. You could be eligible for one-off discounts from the government for example the cold weather payment, cost of living payments and winter fuel payments
  • Call your energy provider. If you’re struggling to pay your energy bill, you can simply give your energy provider a call and explain your circumstances. Under Ofgems rules energy suppliers must make a payment plan for you that you can afford, and if you are on a prepayment meter, you can ask for emergency credit (if you’re unable to top up). Other things you can for include more time to pay, payment breaks or reductions and advice on how to use less energy

Find out what’s available for more help with energy costs: what can you do if you can't pay your energy bill? 

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Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University. She has gained experience writing local stories around Leeds and Leicester, which includes writing for a university publication and Leicester Mercury. 

She has also done some marketing and copywriting for businesses.

When she is not writing about personal finance, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.