Energy bills rebate FAQs
Contacting the council tax team – please bear with us
We are currently experiencing an exceptionally high volume of calls and emails to our council tax team.
What is the energy rebate scheme?
The energy rebate scheme is a government scheme being administered by local authorities to support eligible households with paying their energy bills.
Eligible households in council tax bands A-D will be entitled to £150 payment.
This scheme is being administered by us over a six month period from 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022. We started making payments in April 2022 and payments will continue to be made during the spring and summer.
The scheme will close in September 2022.
How many rebates have been paid so far?
As of Friday 30 September 2022, we have paid 100% of rebates.
This is an amount of £16,688,400 out of our payment target of £16,688,400.
What is the timeline for administration of this scheme?
|03 Feb 2022||Energy Rebate Scheme announced|
|1 April 2022||Scheme goes live – must be resident on 1 April 2022 to qualify|
|10 April 2022||First payment file processed for direct debit payers totalling £5.8 mil|
|April 2022||Further payment files processed for direct debit payers totalling £5.1 mil|
|17 May 2022||First 26,000 application letters sent for non-direct debit payers|
|May/June 2022||Further letters continue to be sent for residents not picked up in initial batch
Further payments made to direct debit payers
|9 June 2022||First payment run for 6475 BACS applicants processed, paying further £970k|
|June/July 2022||Applications processed for payment. Some applicants will be contacted for further bank checks|
|June/July 2022||Launch Discretionary Scheme|
|July 2022||Continue to identify hard to reach households, or residents that data details/bank details don’t match or pass checks|
|August 2022||Review unpaid household to ensure all eligible households have been paid|
|August/September 2022||Post rebate directly to council tax accounts where residents haven’t responded, or where residents have requested council tax|
|30 Sept 2022||National date for scheme closure|
Who is entitled to the rebate?
The £150 rebate will be paid to the liable council taxpayers for households living in band A to D properties, based on their position on 1 April 2022, that meet the government criteria. This includes property that is valued in band E but has an alternative valuation band of band D, as a result of the disabled band reduction scheme.
To qualify the property must be someone’s sole or main residence.
Dwellings that are exempt in the exemption classes listed below will qualify for the energy rebate.
- Class N - property occupied only by students
- Class S - property only occupied by people who are under 18 years of age
- Class U - property occupied only by those who are severely mentally impaired
- Class W - property is an annex or self-contained part of a property which is occupied by a dependant relative of the family in the other part of the property.
If your property is exempt you can check to see whether it falls under one of the exemption codes above by checking your recent council tax notice.
Where the liable party for council tax is not a person (for example where the liable party is a corporate body) the energy rebate cannot be paid.
I don’t pay council tax because I am in receipt of council tax support. Will I be eligible for the rebate?
Yes, a property that meets all the criteria but has nil council tax to pay as a result of council tax support will be eligible for the rebate.
Do second home and empty properties qualify?
No. Houses that are unoccupied or are second/holiday homes will not be eligible to receive the energy rebate.
Do I need to make an application if I pay by Direct Debit?
Most direct debit payers will be paid in April and May. However, the Government have advised that payments shouldn’t be made until the first instalment for the year has been processed.
We have four direct debit instalments dates in the month, 1st, 7th, 15th and 22nd, this means that payments will be staggered during the month, depending on when the household pays their council tax bill.
There are a couple of other exceptions where the council tax bill is paid by direct debit, which are detailed below.
Direct debit payers will not be paid automatically where the bank account holder name does not match that of a liable party for council tax. These households will be contacted separately.
Direct debit payers will not be paid automatically if someone has recently contacted the council tax team about a change in circumstances relating to that property, such as a house move, as that might mean that the liability will change with effect from 1 April 2022 which is the effective date for qualification for the rebate. If you have recently contacted the council tax team or have had a change in circumstances there may be a slight delay in receiving the payment.
I don’t pay by direct debit, how can I receive the energy rebate?
If you don’t pay by direct debit, but you do meet the eligibility criteria, you should receive a letter with instructions on the alternative options to receive the rebate. These options are available on the 'energy bills rebate' page. We started sending letters to eligible residents from 19 May 2022.
More letters will be sent to eligible residents as we work through the process.
When will I receive the rebate?
Rebate payments have now commenced for Direct Debit payers that have a 1 April instalment, and payments should start to hit bank accounts by 13 April 2022. To date we have paid out over 74,000 accounts totalling over £11 million. These will continue throughout April and May for residents that pay by direct debit and payments will be completed by the end of September 2022 for all eligible taxpayers.
Don’t worry if you pay by direct debit but haven’t received your payment yet. We are processing the rebate for direct debit payers after the first instalment for the year has been paid and our instalment dates for direct debit are staggered over the month.
Also, if you pay by direct debit you may not receive your payment automatically. We have to undertake checks to confirm the direct debit payer is one of the residents liable for council tax. Our initial check is automated, so if details don’t match exactly, we will have to revisit these accounts, and will do so as quickly as possible and contact the council taxpayer if necessary. If it looks like your direct debit is paid by someone else, such as a landlord or employer, you will be contacted separately.
If you have applied for a BACS payment or cash voucher, we have started to making BACS payments to over 6,500 applicants and are still working through these applications. Some that have applied for BACs payment will be contacted for further verification of their bank details as a security measure to protect residents against fraud, and to comply with the Government guidance.
Why have I received an email or letter saying that you can’t make a payment into the bank details I have provided?
We are administering this scheme on behalf of the Government. Prior to making payment to residents via a BACS payment into the bank account provided through the application process, the Government have said that councils must first undertake pre-payment checks against the bank details provided. In order to assist with this process the Government have made available its due diligence risking tool, called SPOTLIGHT, to assist local authorities in verifying bank details. This is to protect residents from the risk of fraud.
Further information is available on the Grants Management Function page on GOV.UK.
In some cases the bank account details and the sort code that have been provided as part of the application have been run through the Spotlight verification process but come back ‘unable to check’. This could be because the bank account is less than three months old, or more than 30 years old. There are also a small number of banks not linked to the system. Alternatively, it could be because one or more digits has been typed incorrectly when the application form has been submitted.
Alternatively, there may be a mismatch on the address information that has been checked, meaning that we can’t pay the rebate to that bank account without some additional proof of ID to confirm that the resident is linked to that address.
In these circumstances, the Government have said we are unable to pay the rebate without asking you for some more details.
If you have received a further letter or e-mail, please be assured that this does not mean that we cannot pay you the rebate. It means that we will either need some more information or will have to pay the rebate to you in a different way.
How can I check my council tax band?
If you don't know which band your property is in, you can find it on your latest council tax bill or visit the Gov.UK website to check.
How will you make the payments?
Most households that pay by direct debit will have the payment paid directly to their bank account during April and May after the first instalment for the financial year has been paid. There are some exceptions to this (see above).
For households that don’t pay their council tax by direct debit, the Council are running an application process and these residents are being contacted about that directly and told how they can apply.
You can sign up for direct debit and access your council tax account using our 'Your account online' page.
Should I contact the Council about the energy rebate scheme?
We're fully committed to getting this payment out to all eligible households as quickly as we can. However, we have in excess of 117,000 properties that may be eligible for the energy rebate and paying the rebate correctly to so many households is a big task.
We will be updating the main 'energy bills rebate' page and these FAQs as and when we have further information on how to claim your £150 rebate if you aren't currently paying by direct debit, so please check back regularly.
Please don’t contact us directly about the payment at this time.
What if I don’t qualify and need help - Shropshire Council Discretionary Energy Scheme
The government has provided the Council with extra funding to enable us to provide additional support to be targeted towards those most likely to be suffering hardship as a result of the cost of living crisis. This could be for households that did not meet eligibility under the core scheme (eg households in bands E-H), or a top up payment to vulnerable residents in band A-D. Our discretionary scheme was agreed by the Councils Cabinet on 20 July 2022. The discretionary scheme will run until the end of November 2022.
Shropshire Councils Cabinet has agreed to:
- Make a targeted payment for council tax support claimants in bands E-H in receipt of council tax support as of 1 April 2022 (ie that will not receive the rebate from the core scheme)
- Make an additional top up payment of £70 to existing working age council tax support claimants in receipt of council tax support as of 1 April 2022 (and who are continuing to claim council tax support as of 1 August 2022) and utilise any remaining balance for wider applications for support
We'll be identifying eligible residents during October 2022, and will either make a direct payment where we hold bank details or invite residents to apply where we don't.
If you are suffering financial hardship you may also consider contacting our Welfare Support Team.