When is the last government energy discount? Date winter energy bills support scheme ends 2023

The government has been applying cost of living help to energy bills this winter, but this support is due to come to an end

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The cost of household energy bills is set to climb from April despite the government’s decision to maintain the current rate of the energy price guarantee.

Ahead of his Spring Budget 2023, Jeremy Hunt confirmed the rate would remain at £2,500 a year for a typical household. The decision followed intense lobbying from cost of living campaigners, including Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, who warned a 20% rise would damage people’s health as well as their budgets.

It comes after inflation grew unexpectedly in February 2023 - a change that led the Bank of England to hike interest rates again in a bid to bring the rate of price rises down. It means households are not only being squeezed by soaring prices for everyday necessities, like food and fuel, but are also facing major hikes to their mortgage repayments.

Further pain is in store in April when a whole host of hikes are due to hit key utility bills. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to a projected fall in inflation later this year, and the news that the UK’s GDP will not fall by as much as had been feared.

So, when will you see the last of the £400 energy bills support scheme payments in your energy bill?

What is the energy bills support scheme?

Announced as part of the Boris Johnson government’s first cost of living intervention in February 2022, the scheme was initially set to be a £200 loan that would apply to household bills from October 2022. Rishi Sunak intended that his ‘rebate’ would be repaid by households in £40 instalments over a five year period from 2023.

At the time of the announcement, energy bills had been rising because of global demand for gas as economies had started reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic. Prices had also crept up yet further because the West was warning of a Russian invasion into Ukraine. When it eventually took place, wholesale prices skyrocketed.

The government’s energy bills support has helped households across the UK this winter (image: Adobe)The government’s energy bills support has helped households across the UK this winter (image: Adobe)
The government’s energy bills support has helped households across the UK this winter (image: Adobe)

After political pressure and a consultation on the scheme, Sunak converted the package into a £400 grant that would not need to be repaid. It meant households would get a discount of £66 to £67 a month on their energy bills over a six-month period across the coldest months of the year.

Most households will have seen these payments reflected in their supplier bill statements since October. Those with prepayment meters have had to use a voucher scheme to access the discount, while people in other types of accommodation have been urged to apply for a one-off payment.

When is the last government energy payment?

The final £67 instalment of the energy bills support scheme will be reflected in household gas and electricity bills for March 2023.

So, while it applies to March, some people may not see it reflected in their account statement until April. If you are applying for the scheme’s lump sum payment, the support may not arrive until later in April.

Will energy prices rise in April?

The consequence of the energy bills support scheme coming to an end is that gas and electricity are likely to get more expensive for most people - even though the energy price guarantee is remaining at its current rate (albeit with minor tweaks taking place from 1 April).

However, the increased likelihood of warmer weather in spring means bills should be lower than they were over the winter as people will not need to heat their homes as much. The governmenth as also announced several cost of living support payments, which it hopes will help support people on low incomes with their everyday costs.

And while the energy price guarantee will rise 20% to £3,000 from July, falling wholesale prices over the last six months mean household bills should have fallen below the cap’s level by this point. It should mean the Ofgem price cap returns as the upper limit for energy bills.