Switchers won’t lose their Household Benefits package electricty or gas allowance
Pensioners who switch their home energy provider will not lost their Department of Social Protection Household Benefits package.
Here at One Big Switch we’ve had householders calling us worrying that they would lose their weekly free fuel entitlement if they switched provider.
While there appears to be some confusion around the issue, the facts are clear.
The Household Benefits package is made up of three allowances, a free TV license, a telephone allowance and a €35 a week electricity or gas allowance.
If the recipient is an Electric Ireland or a Bord Gais customer the credit will be applied directly to their bill.
Customers of other gas or electricity providers will, instead, have the credit deposited into a bank, post office or building society account.
So, anyone who is a Bord Gais or Electic Ireland customer who wants to switch their provider can do so, without losing their allowance, but they will have to have a bank, post office or building society account. Also, anyone switching will have to inform the Department of Social Protection that they are making a switch.
Last year the Commission for Energy Regulation carried out research around the Household Benefits package issue for electricity customers, and found that in 2012 just 5% of recipients of the allowance switched and last year that figure increased slightly to 7%. However, that figure remained lower than the national switching rate.
And, the research showed that one in three recipients of the allowance were concerned that they might not receive the free electricity allowance if they switched.
The CER called for clarity on the issue, saying….”these consumers also need to be provided with reassurance and education about the impact of switching on the payment of their allowance.”