Government ministers have now provided more detail about how the scheme will operate and when it is likely to be implemented. The £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding will provide support for those residents in park homes that haven’t previously qualified for assistance. Unlike other domestic households, these households cannot be identified by their energy supply, so the scheme cannot be delivered in the same way.
The government has concluded that the best way to deliver the scheme is through Local Authorities, who are best placed to process applications and carry out verification checks. As there is no single register of eligible households, therefore payment is still a complicated matter. The government must ensure that the right money gets to the right people. This includes making the process as simple as possible for applicants. An eligible household will be able to fill out a short form on GOV.UK with a few simple details, including their name and address. Much of this data will be verified up-front to reduce burdens on Local Authorities, who will then verify the address and administer the payment. You will understand that this is a complicated process.
The system is currently being tested to double-check the verification process and anti-fraud measures. We must do all we can to prevent errors that could result in households not receiving the support they need. The scheme will open for applications in January 2023, with a commitment to deliver the payment to households this winter. For those that use alternative fuels - such as heating oil, liquified petroleum gas, coal, or biomass for heating the government has doubled their payments to £200. Most of these residents will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier with no need to take any action. Payments are anticipated early in the new year.
I will continue to monitor the situation and remind government ministers that this support is vital and there should be no further substantial delay in payment.