MORE than one million hard-up households are missing out on free cash to help pay for energy bills as vouchers go unredeemed.
In May, the government announced millions of households would receive £400 to help with their energy bills this winter.
The £400 payment is being split into six monthly instalments, starting in October and ending in March, 2023.
The first two payments were worth £66 and the remaining four are worth £67.
For the majority of energy customers, their monthly bills are automatically discounted.
However, households with traditional pre-payment meters are being sent vouchers to redeem at their nearest top-up point instead.
New figures from PayPoint, which has payment services in 28,000 UK retailers such as newsagents and convenience stores, shows that only around a quarter if the vouchers have been claimed in December.
It says postal strikes have left households across the country waiting on payments amid plunging temperatures.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are set to walk out tomorrow and Christmas Eve.
Typically, around three quarters of all the vouchers are issued by post and a quarter are sent through email.
Just 17% of December’s postal vouchers have been redeemed, a sharp drop compared to 78% of October’s and 74% of November’s vouchers that have been claimed.
Meanwhile, 63% of December’s vouchers issued by email have been claimed.
PayPoint stressed that people can still claim their Government discounts, with independent shops open early in the morning and late at night over Christmas.
People can also contact their energy supplier to request their voucher is reissued, change their contact details, or switch to receive vouchers through email rather than post.
What can you do if you’ve not been able to redeem your vouchers?
If you’re on a prepayment meter and have not yet received your vouchers, you should contact your supplier to find out where they are.
But they should have been sent by text, email or post and in most cases are valid for three months.
All vouchers will expire by June 30, 2023.
If you have received your vouchers and you don’t know how to redeem them, again you can check with your supplier.
However, in most cases, you’ll need to take them to your usual top-up point.
This will be either a Post Office branch or PayPoint.
You might need a photo ID to claim them, so it’s worth taking a driver’s licence or passport along with you.
Again, if you’re not sure how to redeem the vouchers, your supplier should explain to you how.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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