28th March, 2023:
It has been confirmed that residents living in blocks of flats on heat networks will be eligible for support under the Energy Bills Discount Scheme from 1 April 2023. According to a letter issued by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, customers will be entitled to the higher discount rate applied to energy intensive industries.
Munira has tabled Written Questions to the Department to confirm how the Government will ensure this support is passed through by suppliers (see here) and how it compares to the support provided to other UK households (see here).
This update follows the cross-party letter Munira with Liberal Democrats and London MPs with heat networks in their constituencies calling for urgent clarification on what the new scheme will mean for households on heat networks. Read the full letter here.
Further information on the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme is available on gov.uk here.
27th February, 2023:
The online application portal for the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) Alternative Funding, which will provide off-grid households such as houseboats and heat networks customers with the £400 discount on energy bills, opened today on gov.uk.
You can find full information on eligibility and a link to apply for the £400 support here.
This welcome news comes after the Government delayed the opening of the scheme from January until the end of February 2023. Munira challenged the Minister on the delay in Parliament, calling for urgent action to support houseboat residents and those on heat networks.
A number of blocks of flats and apartments in Twickenham are connected to heat networks, a form of communal boiler system.
Despite being endorsed by the Government as part of the path to net-zero, heat network customers have never benefitted from the protection of Ofgem or its energy price cap.
In the context of the cost of living crisis, Munira has been urging the Government to support households connected to heat networks in the face of price hikes of over 500%.
Heat networks customers have been promised “equivalent” support with their energy bills to other households, but can only access this second hand through their suppliers.
Munira has campaigned for households on heat networks in Twickenham to be able to access full, timely support.
- In September, Munira presented a petition in Parliament on behalf of dozens of local residents.
- In October, Munira presented an amendment to the Government’s Energy Prices Act, aiming to ensure that heat networks customers would receive equivalent support to other households.
- In December, Munira asked the Chancellor for clarity over the future of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (which supports heat networks customers through their supplier) beyond March 2023.
- Munira also tabled a Written Question, asking what advice is available to heat networks customers.
- In January, Munira wrote to the Minister asking for clarification on the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme for heat networks. See response here.
- In March, Munira coordinated a cross-party letter calling for urgent clarity, with the close of the EBRS just days away.
Read a copy of Munira’s cross-party letter, signed by Liberal Democrat and London MPs, below:
Twickenham is proud to be home to a large number of houseboats, moored at sites such as Ash Island and Swan Island.
As houseboats often use alternative fuels or are connected to the grid via an intermediary at their moorings, they cannot access the £400 discount on energy bills in the same way as most other households.
Local residents who live on houseboats have been left with a lack of clarity over what support they are entitled to and how to access it.
Munira has campaigned for clear communication and swiftly administered support for houseboat residents in Twickenham.
- At an MP briefing in November, Munira ensured a question was asked about how houseboat residents could access support. She was assured a system would be in place “before Christmas”.
- In December, Munira tabled a Written Question asking for clarity on whether houseboats are eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment.
- In January, after the £400 discount for off-grid households was delayed, Munira called for urgent action to support houseboat residents in Parliament (see below).
- Also in January, Munira co-signed her colleague Jamie Stone’s letter to the Prime Minister, calling for urgent support for off-grid households.
Need help with your energy bills?
A list of resources and links to support schemes can be found on Munira’s website here.