Energy Price Guarantee launches in Northern Ireland

Households will see the discount automatically applied to their energy bills from 1 November, with savings for October’s energy use seen in bills from November until the Scheme ends on 31 March 2023.

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Those using key meters will see the discount applied to the rate they pay, which will automatically be applied by the electricity supplier. This is in addition to the £400 payments under the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) to each household previously announced. The timings of this payment for Northern Ireland have not yet been announced.

The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) is equivalent to the support being provided in England, Scotland and Wales, and will reduce bills in Northern Ireland by up to 20p/kWh for electricity and 4.8p/kWh for gas for both prepayments and billed customers. Those not on the main gas grid and, therefore, use alternative fuels like heating oil, will receive a one-off £100 payment. 

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25 Oct 2022
Energy prices legislation introduced

The UK Government’s new Energy Prices Act has been put into law to support consumers in England, Scotland and Wales with energy costs. Households in Northern Ireland will receive a £400 discount on bills through the Northern Ireland Energy Bills Support Scheme.

Support with energy bills is also available for businesses, the public, and voluntary sector organisations across Northern Ireland through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

Householders do not need to do anything to claim the discount or the payments, as these will be applied automatically to their bills. Any request for banking or other personal information in connection with the scheme should be treated with caution and could be a scam.

Key points for letting agents

If energy bills are paid for as part of the rent, there is an obligation on landlords to pass on the benefit to end users (tenants). The EPG will automatically reduce the cost of electricity and gas for any domestic energy contract, therefore, the landlord should not charge the tenant above the maximum resale price if they charge based on usage.

Tenants may recover the amount specified by the landlord if not received by a 'specified time'.

Landlords are obliged to provide information to the tenant to understand and enforce the passing on of the benefits and may have to provide information to the Secretary of State for monitoring, audit and keeping the passing on of these benefits under review.

If landlords charge a fixed rate for bills within the rent (all inclusive) they should pass the EPG and EBSS benefits on to the tenant, if provided for in the tenancy agreement.

The UK Government's advice, in these circumstances, is landlords who resell energy to their tenants should pass the discounted payments on appropriately, in line with Ofgem rules to protect tenants. Meaning that the landlord should not charge more than the maximum resale price of energy to their tenants:

  • landlords are encouraged to come to an agreement with tenants on the discount in line with the arrangement in the tenancy agreement
  • the landlord’s fixed charge may already provide tenants with similar protection from the impact of the energy price increase