BEIS ANNOUNCEMENT: EBSS AF / AFP / EBSS NI

BEIS ANNOUNCEMENT: EBSS AF / AFP / EBSS NI

This morning, BEIS made a further announcement regarding energy bill support.
This includes:

EBSS Alternative Funding – £400 for those in England, Wales and Scotland who do not have a direct relationship with an energy supplier.
Alternative Fuel Payment – A £200 payment to help those households in Great Britain who use alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil.
A £600 payment to the people of Northern Ireland, combining EBSS and the Alternative Fuel Payment.

Vital help with energy bills on the way for millions more homes across Great Britain and Northern Ireland
UK Government confirms all households in Northern Ireland will receive a single payment totalling £600 to help with their energy bills, with payments starting in January
Households across Great Britain that use alternative fuels like heating oil will receive a £200 payment this winter
900,000 households in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to an energy supplier – such as care home or park home residents – will be able to apply online for £400 of non-repayable help with their fuel bills

Support with winter energy bills is on the way for millions more households across the United Kingdom, as the Government today confirms details of a single £600 payment to help households in Northern Ireland with their heating and electricity bills, as well as details of how those using alternative fuels and households without a direct relationship to an energy supplier will receive help with their energy costs.
These schemes augment the cost-of-living package of assistance the government has in place to help reduce energy bills for households across the United Kingdom. This includes the Energy Price Guarantee which saves a typical household in Great Britain around £900 this winter and an equivalent level of support in Northern Ireland.

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Putin’s illegal war has caused global energy prices to soar, but we are continuing to work hard and urgently to get help to households across the UK, and this update provides people with more certainty on when and how we will deliver help with fuel bills.
“We’re already limiting the amount suppliers can charge consumers for their energy through the Energy Price Guarantee, which will continue to help consumers through to March 2024. We’ve all seen and felt the temperature dropping recently, so today’s updates will help millions worry less about their energy and heating bills this winter.”

Energy bills support for households in Northern Ireland
All households in Northern Ireland will receive a single, one-off £600 payment to help with their bills. Payments will start in January 2023. This will be made up of £400 of support under the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Northern Ireland (EBSS NI), and £200 of support under the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme, which will go to all households in Northern Ireland irrespective of how they heat their home.
The UK Government has confirmed today it will fund electricity companies for this payment to ensure they’re administered quickly, and that suppliers should start to make payments to customers in January. This means most NI consumers will receive the full amount of energy bills support before households in Great Britain, whilst still receiving the same level of support this winter.
All households in Northern Ireland will receive the support in a single payment to ensure the full benefit of the scheme is felt as soon as possible. The Northern Ireland scheme differs in this respect from EBSS in Great Britain to account for the particular nature of the NI energy market.

Administered by energy suppliers, customers who pay by Direct Debit will receive the £600 into their bank account directly. Other customers will be sent a voucher to redeem for the £600 payment, with further details of how they will work and what ID will be required to be set out shortly.

Today’s announcement comes as the Minister for Energy and Climate writes to Northern Ireland energy suppliers setting out his expectations, which includes urging them to suspend all debt recovery and enforcement activity until the end of January, as well as provide payment holidays until the end of January where customers are struggling to pay their bills.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said:
“I am acutely aware of the uncertainty and frustration that people across Northern Ireland have felt about their energy bill support. Families can start the new year knowing that they will receive the full support from January.
“I am grateful that officials and Ministers and energy suppliers have found a solution, especially given the complexity of NI’s energy market, although I would have liked to have seen Northern Ireland political parties deliver this, as part of a restored Executive.”

Energy bills support in England, Scotland, and Wales via EBSS Alternative Funding and Alternative Fuel Payments
As well as this support for homes across Northern Ireland, the Government has also announced details today for how people in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, including many care home residents and those living in park homes, will receive a £400 discount on their fuel bills through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS Alternative Funding).
The Government is also providing a further £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) to help those households in Great Britain who use alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil to meet energy costs this winter. Most households eligible for the 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 EBSS Alternative Funding scheme.

Minister for Energy and Climate, Graham Stuart, said:
“Getting this support for households’ bills out across the country will save hundreds of pounds for millions of people during the coldest months of the year. This has been a top priority and joint effort, with close work between officials and electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland, as well as with Local Authorities in Great Britain who will help get support to over 900,000 households who don’t have the direct relationship with energy suppliers that the vast majority of households do.”
Online applications will open in January for households in England, Scotland and Wales 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 – including people who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off-grid – will be made by Local Authorities in Great Britain. 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; and
Off-grid households.

Most households who don’t have a direct relationship with a domestic energy supplier have already been benefitting from subsidised energy bills through the Government’s business support scheme, with the Energy Prices Act legislation passed earlier in the year to ensure those benefits are passed on to consumers who do not pay their energy bills directly.

To make the process as simple as possible for consumers, those who are eligible for the EBSS Alternative Funding will need to submit a short online form via the Government’s GOV.UK pages, with the application portal due to open in January. A dedicated customer helpline will be available to assist customers who do not have online access, with further details to be released next month. Customers who are eligible for support under the main Energy Bills Support Scheme are not eligible for EBSS Alternative Funding.

Once customers have applied to receive support and their applications have been processed and verified, eligible customers’ details will be shared with Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, who will deliver the one-off, non-repayable support this winter. Applicants will only be able to submit information through GOV.UK from January and should not contact their Local Authority in the meantime. The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant Local Authority.
Existing support for energy bills this winter

As well as discounts provided through the EBSS and Alternative Fuel Payments, the government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will save a typical household in Great Britain around £900 this winter, based on what energy prices would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. For households in Northern Ireland, the Energy Price Guarantee is already providing equivalent support to the rest of Great Britain – helping those using gas and electricity save around £550 this winter. Further support in direct payments is also being provided to vulnerable households this year, including cost of living payments for pensioners, people receiving disability-related allowances and those on means-tested benefits. The Household Support Fund provides additional assistance for those most in need and £26 billion worth of targeted support will help protect the most vulnerable in the next financial year.
BEIS 19TH DECEMBER 2022

UK GOVERNMENT ENERGY BILLS SUPPORT SCHEME

Dear Fellow Members,

Many of you have been in contact with our Advisory Services Team, seeking advice about how you will receive the promised £400 energy relief package, promised to be ‘delivered to every home’, by the Prime Minister.

If you purchase your energy from a supplier in the domestic market, you will be registered with one of the energy retail companies and should have no problem in receiving the £400.

However, although park home legislation affords you the right to source your own energy supplies with an energy retailer, many of you have accepted the convenience of purchasing your energy from your park owner. Unwittingly, in so doing, this has created a major obstacle to you having access to the grant. As a business owner, your park owner must purchase his energy from the non-domestic market, which is not subject to the same price capping controls as the domestic market. The site is likely to have one gas and one electricity meter registered to the park’s business. I understand that you all have meters in your homes, but as you are not registered with the energy retailers, they don’t know about you. Also, it’s unlikely that your park owner has created a record of the serial numbers of your individual meters.

We have also been asked, ‘Why can’t we receive the grant though our Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) supplier? LPG is also sold through the non-domestic market, and IPHAS understand it does not provide a platform that could be used to deliver the grant.

The lack of registration has raised other concerns, for you may well be suffering from a ‘loyalty penalty’, in that you be may paying higher unit charges than you would as an independent consumer, even though your park owner is only allowed to charge you the same unit tariff that he is charged, and he must provide you free of charge, documentary evidence in support and explanation of all his charges to you.

Another consequence of this scenario is, should you suffer an outage that leaves you without power, heat and light for a time, an event which may also have damaged electronic equipment in your home beyond repair, you are unlikely to benefit from the industry compensation scheme, as they only have a contract with your park owner. However, he will be compensated for any personal loss.

As many of you are aware, park home communities are predominately retirement communities, a lifestyle choice for many. Due to the increasing disquiet over how the EBSS can be delivered to all communities (those living in residential care settings are affected in the same way as park homeowners), IPHAS are now engaged with AGE UK to pursue an early resolution to the current impasse on payments. We also seek to establish whether there is further scope for co-operation on all issues affecting park home residents. AGE UK has kindly sanctioned IPHAS to post the following link for your information.

Ian Pye CHAIR, The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (2021) Ltd.                                08/06/2022

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/consultation-responses-and-submissions/safe-at-home/consultation-response—technical-proposals-for-the-energy-bills-support-scheme-department-for-business-energy–industrial-strategy.pdf

Important Announcement

Dear Members and Park Home Owners,

Last year the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, commissioned the University of Liverpool, assisted by Hallam University, Sheffield, to carry out research to gather data to enable an assessment to be made of impacts on the sector of a change to the maximum 10% commission paid on the sale of a mobile home. I am pleased to inform you that we have today received the final report “The impact of a change in the maximum park home sale commission”, from the Department.

A copy of the report is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-homes-the-impact-of-a-change-in-the-maximum-park-home-sale-commission

The Government will now consider the report and recommendations in more detail and set out the next steps in due course.
IPHAS would like to thank all those who participated, and contributed to this important piece of research.

IAN R PYE, CHAIR – IPHAS(2021) LTD.

ENERGY STATEMENT FROM BEIS

Dear Mr Pye,

Thank you for your letter of 21st March, about the challenges facing Park Home residents in terms of their energy contracts.

The Secretary of State is grateful to you for having taken the time to write. I have been asked to respond on his behalf.

We recognise the difficult position that many households are in with the continued impact of Covid-19 and rising energy prices. How much consumers pay for their energy, as well as fairness and affordability are at the heart of the government’s commitment to driving bill savings and ensuring costs are distributed fairly.

The energy price cap was introduced through legislation to address an issue where certain groups of customers in the domestic market were found to be paying too much for their energy through a loyalty penalty. It was not designed to mitigate high global wholesale prices which is what we are currently seeing.

Park home owners purchase gas or electricity in the non-domestic market, which has a greater diversity of supply arrangements for businesses compared to the domestic sector. We are not aware that commercial contracts purchased by businesses, like mobile park owners suffer a loyalty penalty like domestic default tariffs do, and this is why the price cap legislation doesn’t cover them.

Ofgem sets the Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards that must be met by each electricity network company, which includes an entitlement to compensation if distribution companies fail to meet the service standards required.

If residents are connected to a private network that is owned and operated by the residential park owner or operator, instead of being connected directly to the local Distribution Network Operator network, the Distribution Network Operator only has one customer directly connected to their network – the private network owned by residential park owner. Under the Guaranteed Standards of Performance, Distribution Network Operators are only required to make payments for supply interruptions to customers that are directly connected to their network. Private network operators are not required to make payments to their customers under this scheme.

The current compensation rules were set in April 2015 for the duration of the current price control period, which runs from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2023, and cannot be changed. I understand that Ofgem is in the process of considering the arrangements for the next price control period, which starts on 1 April 2023, and as part of this they will review the eligibility criteria for compensation claims due to power disruptions.

The Energy Ombudsman has been approved by Ofgem to independently handle and resolve disputes between customers and energy companies. If residents feel that their energy company has not appropriately handled and resolved their complaint, they can refer this to the Energy Ombudsman. Further details and points of contact can be found at the following link. www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy.

The Government recognises this is a worrying time for consumers facing pressures due to the significant increases in global gas prices. Our priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained. The Secretary of State is in regular contact with the energy industry and Ofgem to manage the impact of high global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation incredibly closely, including the impacts for consumers supplied by commercial energy contracts.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Huish
BEIS CORRESPONDENCE UNIT

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MHCLG SURVEY ON 10% COMMISSION

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government commissioned The University of Liverpool and Sheffield Hallam University to provide essential research on the residential park homes sector to inform their review of the maximum 10 per cent commission paid on the sale of park homes. Their report was received at the Ministry of Housing Staff on 12th January 2022 and is currently being assessed by their staff.

FIT AND PROPER PERSON TEST

The fit and proper Regulations were made on 23 September 2020 and came into force in two parts. The first part came into force on 1 July 2021 by which time local authorities were required to be ready to receive applications from site owners. The second part came into force on 1 October 2021 by which time all site owners were required to have submitted applications to be assessed.

Local authorities will be able to charge an application fee and an annual fee and to recover the costs they have incurred, or which will be incurred, in appointing a person to manage a site with the site owner’s consent. This is consistent with the approach to other licensing fees (i.e., site licence fee). The charges should be shared between all residents and should be added to the Pitch Fee Review The fit and proper Regulations were made on 23 September 2020 and came into force in two parts. The first part came into force on 1 July 2021 by which time local authorities were required to be ready to receive applications from site owners. The second part came into force on 1 October 2021 by which time all site owners were required to have submitted applications to be assessed.

Local authorities will be able to charge an application fee and an annual fee and to recover the costs they have incurred, or which will be incurred, in appointing a person to manage a site with the site owner’s consent. This is consistent with the approach to other licensing fees (i.e. site licence fee). The charges should be shared between all residents and should be added to the Pitch Fee Review under Section 4C of the PFR form – ‘Recoverable Costs’.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1034/data.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-homes-fit-and-proper-person-test-guidance-for-local-authorities/mobile-homes-a-guide-for-local-authorities-on-the-fit-and-proper-person-test