West Devon Borough Council is administering a new government funding scheme to help support households without a direct relationship to an electricity supplier.

If you pay for your electricity through an indirect route, you can now apply to receive the support as a one-off, non-repayable lump sum of £400 under the ‘alternative funding’ route of the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF).

Households eligible to apply for support under the EBSS include:

Care home residents and others in care facilities/sheltered accommodation (wholly or partly self-funded)

Park home residents

Houseboats and caravans that can provide proof of address

Social and private tenants who pay for energy through a landlord on a commercial supply

Homes on a heat network/private wire

Off-grid homes

Farmhouses used for wholly domestic purposes

To make sure money reaches residents as quickly as possible; the payment will be provided directly into residents’ bank accounts. Residents must apply through the government’s online portal www.gov.uk/apply-energy-bill-support-if-not-automatic. For those with no online access, you can call the government’s customer helpline on 0808 175 3287 (open 8am to 6pm on Monday to Friday).

Cllr Tony Leech, West Devon Borough Council’s lead member for cost of living, said: ‘I would encourage those eligible households to apply as soon as possible for the £400. This is an opportunity for those who haven’t been able to claim before; so if you live in a care home or residential caravan park or boat

‘Do be careful however and watch out for scammers as criminals are quick to take advantage of new funding streams. Please get in touch if you are in any doubt at all. We would rather you were safe than sorry.

For other information on a wide range of subjects, ranging from mental health, housing, abuse, training, foodbanks and much, much more, please go to the Council’s comprehensive support directory at: www.westdevon.gov.uk/support-directory

We are working closely with West Devon Citizens Advice, on the Cost-of-Living crisis, and they can offer information on energy, money, budgeting and debt, as well as a host of other information. Get information on their website: https://ruraldevoncab.org.uk/energy/, in-person or by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm on: 0808 278 7999

A spokesperson from Citizens Advice said: ‘This support for people who aren’t directly paying an energy supplier is welcome news. However, if you are facing difficulties keeping-up with energy payments or other outgoings, such as food, rent or paying off debts, please seek help as soon as possible.

‘Citizens Advice can help you by looking at your household budget and looking into what benefits you might qualify for. You can also check our website for a wealth of information on coping with the cost of living.’

West Devon Borough Council will return with more cost of living help and advice later this year.