£200 Alternative Fuel Payment can be used by Suppliers to pay Your Electricity Arrears

EDF have refused to refund my AFP, despite my electricity account being £383.17 in credit. Despite having promised to do it when it arrived, they are insisting on another meter reading before releasing it. I gave them a reading on 4th Jan & I'm not due another bill until April as I'm a quarterly direct debit customer. 

Having read the Government guidelines to suppliers on the AFP, the Government are allowing energy suppliers to use the AFP to offset against account arrears.

Even though this doesn't apply to me, I find it shocking that the AFP isn't actually going to be given to customers in order to pay their AF bills if they are in arrears with their electricity bills. In effect, this means that people could be without heating if they have historical debts. It really upset me today to think about it :-(

Comments

  • kassy64
    kassy64 Posts: 215 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 21 February 2023 at 10:50PM
    British Gas have added my AFP of £200 to my account and I am currently in credit but looks like I cannot access the full
    £200 as I have an anticipated £14 arrears forecast in 12 months time.  They have offered to reduce my dd payments or have a partial refund of the credit but not the full £200. Have to say I disagree with this policy as customers should be able to receive the full £200 to pay for their ‘alternative fuel’. 

  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,281 Forumite
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     In effect, this means that people could be without heating if they have historical debts. 
    That is a bit extreme.  In reality, the AFP is a windfall to the majority of consumers.  

    they are insisting on another meter reading before releasing it. I gave them a reading on 4th Jan & I'm not due another bill until April as I'm a quarterly direct debit customer. 
    So, give them the meter reading then.




    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • EDF have refused to refund my AFP, despite my electricity account being £383.17 in credit. Despite having promised to do it when it arrived, they are insisting on another meter reading before releasing it. I gave them a reading on 4th Jan & I'm not due another bill until April as I'm a quarterly direct debit customer. 
    As EDF are only billing every three months so your "credit" may not be all as it seems. As an example I was last billed at the end of September so will not be billed again until the end of March, my account is currently showing as £950 in credit, but in reality when I account for usage that is going to be closer to £350 in credit in real terms. That is why they need to generate another bill to see if you are actually in enough credit to be due a refund.
    Having read the Government guidelines to suppliers on the AFP, the Government are allowing energy suppliers to use the AFP to offset against account arrears.

    Even though this doesn't apply to me, I find it shocking that the AFP isn't actually going to be given to customers in order to pay their AF bills if they are in arrears with their electricity bills. In effect, this means that people could be without heating if they have historical debts. It really upset me today to think about it :-(
    They are an additional £200 better off, after already being given most of the £400, the fact is that people's bills are being reduced by £600, that is not something to find shocking or or get upset over. 
  • @mattx3

    I understand why they request an up to date meter reading. I’m now fully paid up to date & what’s left should be for me to use to purchase alternative fuel. 

    Oh but it isn’t… & that’s my point. 

    The status of the account should be irrelevant to the electricity supplier regarding the AFP for it to be equitable. 

    It is an AFP precisely because it’s meant to be used to buy alternative fuel, not electricity. 

    The AFP is in addition to the help everyone has received because the price of alternative fuels has increased exponentially (there is no cap applied to prices). 

    The electricity supplier is being used as a third party to expediently distribute the extra £200. Unfortunately, some suppliers believe this money to be theirs. It isn’t. 

    Or is it? 

    Where you can already afford to pay your bills & have credit to spare, yes it is yours. 

    Where you’re in fuel poverty, debt & crisis, it isn’t. Then it belongs to the electricity supplier, if they choose. 

    So, someone in debt to their electricity supplier, who runs their central heating on LPG, oil or has a log burner or coal fire to heat their water, now doesn’t have the £200 to buy the fuel to heat the hot water or run their central heating. Their electricity supplier is happier with them though. 

    If you don’t need the money you can put it towards your alternative fuel but if you do need the money you can’t buy alternative fuel because you actually need the £200 to purchase some. 

    It’s too simplistic to see it as extra money or a windfall. 

    After all, if things weren’t so difficult at the moment no one would be getting anything at all. 








  • @mattx3

    I understand why they request an up to date meter reading. I’m now fully paid up to date & what’s left should be for me to use to purchase alternative fuel. 

    Oh but it isn’t… & that’s my point. 
    It is not though, it is to contribute towards costs, but it is not specifically used for anything.
    The status of the account should be irrelevant to the electricity supplier regarding the AFP for it to be equitable. 
    It is to go towards energy costs, getting a refund whilst in debt is not equitable any more than the suppliers who are not refunding the £66/67 payment when accounts are in arrears. 
    It is an AFP precisely because it’s meant to be used to buy alternative fuel, not electricity. 
    It is just a general bung. If one's electricity bill is reduced by £200 that would free the money up to be used elsewhere though.
    The AFP is in addition to the help everyone has received because the price of alternative fuels has increased exponentially (there is no cap applied to prices). 
    The prices have not increased exponentially, they are in fact falling and are still about 30% cheaper per kWh than gas and about a quarter of the price of heating via electricity. 
    The electricity supplier is being used as a third party to expediently distribute the extra £200. Unfortunately, some suppliers believe this money to be theirs. It isn’t. 

    Or is it? 
    It is meant to go towards energy costs, it is not anyone's specifically in that one cannot claim it as cash, but it is reducing the end user's energy costs.
    Where you can already afford to pay your bills & have credit to spare, yes it is yours. 

    Where you’re in fuel poverty, debt & crisis, it isn’t. Then it belongs to the electricity supplier, if they choose. 

    So, someone in debt to their electricity supplier, who runs their central heating on LPG, oil or has a log burner or coal fire to heat their water, now doesn’t have the £200 to buy the fuel to heat the hot water or run their central heating. Their electricity supplier is happier with them though. 
    Their total energy costs are reduced, ultimately their debt being lower means that they are freeing up money in their finances elsewhere. 
    If you don’t need the money you can put it towards your alternative fuel but if you do need the money you can’t buy alternative fuel because you actually need the £200 to purchase some. 
    Alternatively, the government have given those who use alternative fuels an additional £200 over other people, despite their energy costs being the same for electricity and 30-75% lower for the heating component of their energy bill.
    It’s too simplistic to see it as extra money or a windfall. 
    It is a windfall though, at least for those who are not paying for it, those of us who are paying for it it is a net cost.
    After all, if things weren’t so difficult at the moment no one would be getting anything at all. 
    We are getting the handouts at the moment because it is politically expedient. Do not forget the origin of this scheme was the £200 loan/not loan which was horridly announced within hours of the Grey report being published, it was increased to £400 at the same time as another government scandal hit and the £200 "alternative fuel payment" was introduced at the behest of a few Conservative MPs in what will be very marginal seats at the next election who happen to live in non-mains gas areas and that despite the cost of alternative fuels being 30-75% lower than those on mains gas or electricity only. 
  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,281 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    The AFP is in addition to the help everyone has received because the price of alternative fuels has increased exponentially (there is no cap applied to prices). 
    Most alternative fuels have not increased exponentially.   For example, at the point the scheme was announced, the price of heating oil was lower than what it was 6 months earlier.   Currently, oil is at the upper end of its normal around (68ppl)

    The electricity supplier is being used as a third party to expediently distribute the extra £200. Unfortunately, some suppliers believe this money to be theirs. It isn’t. 
    Regardless of whether it is being held to the next billing point or refunded, the £200 is never the suppliers money and they know that.

    It’s too simplistic to see it as extra money or a windfall. 
    So, let's take oil.  it's not currently expensive, and there has never been a taxpayer handout when oil previously got that high in price.    



    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
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