Agenda item

Verbal Update - £150 Energy Payment


The Service Manager, Revenues & Benefits updated Members on progress with paying residents the £150 energy payment.


As at today we have paid 20,000 households. £2.9m has been paid out of funding of £5.3m. We need to get these payments made by 20 September. These are all Direct Debit cases paid so far for Bands A-D and Band E with Disability Relief. We have written out to all our customers who have received payment so far advising that if necessary they can write to their banks to ensure that if they have an overdraft the £150 energy payment doesn’t get swallowed up by the overdraft and we have received positive feedback from households on that.


We still have 1500 odd cases that we are currently working on where there has been a mis-match of names, the last payment has not been a DD payment or where we are waiting clearance of their first DD payment if it was set up recently. It could be that they have informed us that they have vacated the property and we need to investigate where they were on the eligible date of 1 April 2022. We are working our way through these mis-matches.


We started with DD cases in accordance with government guidance as those who pay by DD we will already have their bank details and this reduces the risk of fraud. For non-DD payers (there are about 14000 of those) we have been working hard designing a new external portal so customers can securely provide us with their bank account details. We will be writing to those households during June providing them with a secure code.  Once we have received their bank details they will go to a government Spotlight system to validate the bank details and we can then make the payments.


There is also a discretionary scheme and we are looking to finalise that but we need to get the other payments out first. The discretionary fund is £250k and we are investigating making payments to households who are in receipt of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme regardless of what Band they are in and we are also looking at topping up those in Bands A-D and looking at extended payments to those properties who receive a discount who are severely mentally impaired.


The mandatory scheme end date is end September and the discretionary scheme end date is end November.


Following questions from Members of the Committee, the Service Manager, Revenues & Benefits, highlighted the following:


·         We are looking to get letters out to the non-DD payers by the end of June. We will give them 28 days to complete their details online. If they haven’t done this we will then send a reminder and we will then see what we have left and how we can deal with particular cases

·         If someone pays their council tax by credit or debit card we wouldn’t pay the rebate on to their card we would require their bank details to pay into their account

·         Someone can claim the £150 on the property that they are living in on the 1 April 2022 so if they moved out on the 2 April Gravesham would still be responsible for making their payment as they were in this borough on 1 April 2022.

·         With regard to anyone on Bands E-H we are looking at those who are asset rich but cash poor and believe that is fair

·         The one area which is out of our control is where we send details to the government portal to check bank accounts as other local authorities are using the same portal and it could cause delay


The Committee thanked the Service Manager, Revenues & Benefits for the update.