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A THIRD of British households are yet to claim £66 energy bills handouts, with Grant Shapps claiming companies ‘aren’t set up’ to give families financial help… so how do you claim YOURS?

  •  Grant Shapps says providers are sending vouchers to people in different ways
  • He accused some providers of not picking up the phone when customers called 
  • Homes across Great Britain have been promised £400 in payments this winter 

Business and energy secretary Grant Shapps has said that energy companies ‘aren’t set up’ to provide the financial support to people with prepayment meters that the Government has promised.

Mr Shapps said that providers are sending out vouchers to people in different ways, and accused some of not picking up the phone when customers called.

‘What concerns me is that gap between vouchers being sent out and people finding the voucher,’ he told ITV‘s Good Morning Britain.

‘There isn’t one way that this is done because the energy providers are sending them out in different ways, sometimes by text, sometimes by email, sometimes through the door.’

Homes across Great Britain have been promised £400 in payments this winter to help them with energy bills. This is on top of the Government’s promise to cap bills at 34p per unit of electricity and 10.3p per unit of gas.

For a majority of customers the money is automatically deducted from their energy bills. But those who pay through a prepayment meter have to redeem vouchers.

But many of these vouchers are not being redeemed. It is unclear exactly why, but it is likely some vouchers have not arrived, that some people will not have seen them or realised what they were, or that others were concerned that they might be a scam. Some might have gone into a person’s email spam folder, Mr Shapps suggested.

Homes across Great Britain have been promised £400 in payments this winter to help them with energy bills. This is on top of the Government's promise to cap bills at 34p per unit of electricity and 10.3p per unit of gas

Homes across Great Britain have been promised £400 in payments this winter to help them with energy bills. This is on top of the Government’s promise to cap bills at 34p per unit of electricity and 10.3p per unit of gas

A spokesperson for trade body Energy UK said: ‘Suppliers are doing everything possible to ensure that the vouchers are reaching customers and will make repeated attempts using the channels – such as text, email, phone or post – and contact details available to them.

‘The energy industry has also been looking to raise awareness of the support available and encouraging customers to redeem the vouchers by working with outlets like the Post Office and Paypoint as well as consumer groups like Citizens Advice.

‘Customers with traditional prepayment meters are advised to ensure their contact details are up to date and to check regularly for any communication from their supplier.

‘With more customers seeking more help than ever before, call centres are inevitably very busy so we’d urge callers to keep trying.’

Mr Shapps said that there are energy companies that go door-to-door to help customers understand they are losing out, but others are not.

‘Some of the energy companies have now put in place sort of teams of people in some cases to actually go and knock on doors where they see there haven’t been redemptions made and others have put extra customer services,’ he said.

‘But one of the things which really worried me when I came on your show previously was that some of the energy providers haven’t been picking up the phone when they’ve been called, answering those questions.’

He said that he had inherited a new programme that is different to what the Government has embarked on before.

‘It’s a very unusual position. And these energy companies aren’t set up to provide it.’

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