There are two new schemes being launched in 2023 to help households that use alternative fuels like heating oil, who will receive a £200 payment this winter, and households without a direct relationship to an energy supplier – such as care home or park home residents – who will be able to apply online for £400 of non-repayable help with their fuel bills. These are known as the Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme and , rather confusingly, the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS Alternative Funding) Scheme.

Most households eligible for the £200 AFP support in Great Britain, will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier in February, with no need to take any action. Those households who will need to apply for the AFP, for example because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will be able to do so in February, through the same GOV.UK portal as the one that will be used to apply for support under the £400 EBSS Alternative Funding scheme.

Online applications will open in January for households who are eligible for the £400 EBSS Alternative Funding to submit their details, alongside a helpline for those without online access. Payments to households that meet the eligibility criteria will be made by District and Borough Councils. This is likely to include:

  • care home residents
  • residents of park homes
  • tenants in certain private and social rented homes
  • homes supplied via private wires
  • residents of caravans and houseboats on registered sites
  • farmers living in domestic farmhouses
  • off-grid households

Until the on-line application and helpline is open, there is no point in contacting the local council for that form of assistance. There are an estimated 900,000 households in the UK who could benefit from the EBSS Alternative Funding Scheme, but we don’t know how many are in Hertfordshire. It is interesting though that payments will be made under this scheme to care home residents, many of whom may have had an increase in fees as a result of the homes fuel bills increasing. The payment will be made to the individual resident or their appointee but belongs to that resident.

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