Northern Ireland £600 energy payment roll-out: what to do with your voucher and what documents you need to look out

With the first £600 energy vouchers starting to arrive through letterboxes across Northern Ireland today (Monday, January 16), householders have been urged to pay particular attention to their post.

The Post Office has issued specific guidance on what to do with the vouchers once they arrive.

The vouchers can only be redeemed at post offices and are being sent to all those who don’t pay their energy bills by direct debit.

The mailout of the vouchers is taking place in tranches over the next four weeks and will be completed by the end of February.

Householders are urged to keep a careful check on their post for their energy payment voucher.

The Post Office has worked with the electricity suppliers to prioritise the delivery of vouchers to households on the customer care register. Each gas and electricity supplier is required to compile and maintain a customer care register which stores details of consumers who merit special treatment on account of age, disability or chronic illness.

For customers who pay for their energy using direct debit the £600 will automatically be placed into their bank account. They will not receive a voucher.

The Post Office is urging everyone due to receive a voucher to pay close attention to their post and to be careful not to accidentally throw their voucher away.

The voucher is made up of a £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payment and an additional £200 Alternative Fuel Payment. 500,000 households in Northern Ireland are eligible for the voucher and it is expected post offices will be busier than usual. Of the 500 post offices in Northern Ireland, the vast majority are open on Saturdays and around 150 are open on Sundays.

Energy vouchers are starting to arrive through Northern Ireland letterboxes.

Andrew Goddard, Head of Payments for the Post Office, explained around 75 per cent of customers in Northern Ireland don’t pay their energy bills by direct debit, hence why these vouchers need to be issued and distributed over the coming weeks.

He said: “This is a major logistical exercise and we are working very hard to distribute the vouchers as quickly as possible. We are working with the energy companies to distribute all vouchers by the end of February so please be patient and keep an eye out for yours to arrive.

"The only way to redeem the voucher is at a Post Office. The good news is that when you do receive it, our branches are open long hours and postmasters and their teams will be working flat out to process them and support their communities.

"Please do read the voucher very carefully and ensure you take it, plus the forms of ID specified, to ensure the teams can process your voucher and you receive your money. There are common questions and answers included with the voucher as well as information on what to do if you need to claim the voucher on behalf of someone else.

"We also encourage customers to receive your money and deposit this straight into your bank account. We have an agreement with all the major banks and staff at the branch will be able to do this for you there and then.

"Your energy provider may contact you to say your voucher should be arriving in the post soon. But the actual voucher will only ever be sent by post. The voucher will never be sent by email, text or other route.”

I am expecting to receive a voucher. What should I look out for?

Householders should keep an eye out for an envelope like the one featured in this article. All vouchers will be sent in this envelope. Any other communications received by email, call, text or other route, claiming to be an energy voucher, should be ignored.

I am a keypad customer. Who will the letter be addressed to and what do I need to bring to the Post Office?

For keypad customers, the letter will be addressed to ‘Occupier’. The letter includes details of what that customer needs to bring to the Post Office.

In addition to your letter (the voucher) you will need THREE items of identification as detailed below, with the address clearly shown as matching your letter. The name on each item of ID must be the same. Your ID must be:

ID 1 – Your keypad top-up card OR The keypad app on your phone/smart device

ID 2 – One of the following as proof of address: utility bill such as phone, water, electricity, TV licence; a bank or building society statement; a rental or mortgage agreement or a letter from a UK government or Northern Ireland department. The date on the statement or letter must be between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023.

ID 3 – If you want to pay the funds straight into your bank you need to bring your bank debit card. If you wish to receive a cash payment you need to bring photographic ID – either a valid passport, an NI Electoral Identity Card, a valid UK or EU/EEA driving licence, a Translink SmartPass (Senior/60+/War Disabled/Blind Person’s), an Asylum ID card or an Armed Forces ID or Police Warrant Card.

I am a non-Direct Debit Credit customer. Who will the letter be addressed to and what do I need to bring to the Post Office?

In addition to your letter (the voucher) you will need TWO items of identification, with the name and address clearly shown as matching the letter. The name on each item of ID must be the same. Your ID must be:

ID 1 – If you want to pay the funds straight into your bank you need to bring your bank debit card. If you wish to receive a cash payment you need to bring photographic ID – either a valid passport, an NI Electoral Identity Card, a valid UK or EU/EEA driving licence, a Translink SmartPass (Senior/60+/War Disabled/Blind Person’s), an Asylum ID card or an Armed Forces ID or Police Warrant Card. ID 2 – One of the following as proof of address: utility bill such as phone, water, electricity, TV licence; a bank or building society statement; a rental or mortgage agreement or a letter from a UK government or Northern Ireland department. The date on the statement or letter must be between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023.

Where can I find further details about cost-of living support?

Further information can be found at postoffice.co.uk/costofliving

Where is my closed Post Office?

People can find their nearest Post Office by putting their postcode into postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder