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Energy rebate

Last updated: 20 May 2022

The technical glitch, which prevented account holders with access codes from supplying their bank account details earlier this week, has now been resolved. Please see ‘how to use your access code’, below.

Key points

The government has introduced a new national scheme through which local authorities responsible for Council Tax collection are providing one-off, £150 energy rebates for homes in Council Tax bands A to D.

This page sets out who qualifies for the national energy rebate and the Council’s arrangements for making the £150 payments to eligible council tax account holders in Cambridge as quickly as possible.

Other useful links

You may be entitled to benefits or other support – read our advice about debt and managing your money.

See also home energy and water use for more information on improving energy efficiency and reducing energy use.

If you don’t live in the city, you will need to contact the council where you live. (See more details in our ‘frequently asked questions’, below).

Latest update

We have now paid the national £150 energy rebate to over 21,000 account holders in Cambridge and are working hard to get the details we need in order to make the £150 payments to all other eligible account holders. We will contact you as soon as we can.

We are contacting eligible account holders who don’t pay their council tax by direct debit in order to get their bank details securely for the energy rebate payment. As there are around 19,000 accounts like this, it may take three or four weeks to contact all these cases. Please bear with us. See ‘how to use your access code’, below.

We are also dealing with a few thousand cases where eligible account holders who pay their council tax by direct debit could not be paid their energy rebate earlier. Further checks are being made, for example, where the name of the account holder for the council tax account and bank account has not matched (possibly, due to different surnames or spellings or because we have no record of your first name). We aim to resolve many of these remaining cases shortly and issue the £150 payments soon.

Thank you for your patience.

Who qualifies for the national energy rebate?

You are eligible for the national £150 energy rebate if, on 1 April 2022, all of the following statements applied to you:

  • You are someone (not a business, organisation or government body) registered with us as liable for paying Council Tax (or you would be liable if the property was not exempt from Council Tax).
  • Your home in Cambridge is in Council Tax band A to D, whether or not Council Tax is charged. Any band E property paying the equivalent of band D (where Disabled Band Reduction is applied) is also eligible.
  • The property is occupied and is someone’s sole or main residence.
  • The property is a chargeable dwelling for Council Tax purposes, even if one of the following exemptions applies: class N (where all the occupants are students), class S (where all the occupants are all aged under-18), class U (where all the occupants are severely mentally impaired) or class W (where an annexe is occupied by elderly or disabled relatives). Accounts in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) will be eligible for the energy rebate.

You are not eligible if, as at 1 April 2022, the property was unoccupied, classed as a second home or a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Only one national energy rebate will be made per eligible household. Recipients are reminded that the energy rebate is expected to benefit all members of the household who contribute to paying energy costs.

Look out for more details (coming soon) of Cambridge’s local Energy Rebate scheme, which will target some further support on households in the city in particular need.

How to use your access code

Over the next three to four weeks, we are contacting those eligible Council Tax account holders who don’t have a direct debit set up in order to seek their bank details securely. This might take a number of weeks. If you are eligible and we haven’t contacted you yet, please bear with us.

We will never contact you to ask you for your bank details over the phone. You can report scams online to Action Fraud, or phone 0300 123 2040.

We will write to you by email or by post. We will give you a unique access code and ask you to complete a simple, short online form to provide your bank details. You will not be able to give us your details until we have given you your access code.

Once you have received your access code, follow the link below. (This part of the process is being handled on our behalf by our suppliers and will show as www.northgate-nes.co.uk in your browser).

Supply your details

The following advice is particularly for those account holders originally sent an access code on 16 May. Following the technical glitch earlier this week, we have since sent you a new access code (say, by email on 18 May). When you log in:

  • Please make sure that you tell us your new access code (as the old one has now expired).
  • Please also type in the 7-digit Council Tax reference that we give you in the email or letter. We know that the account number shown on your council tax bill is 8 characters long, but please only give us the first 7 digits for this energy rebate online form.

What happens next?

Once you have supplied your bank details, we will then need to carry out standard fraud-prevention checks. The government requires all councils to verify the bank details before issuing the £150 energy rebate payments.

At this stage, given the demand for pre-payment checks by councils across the country, we cannot give an exact timescale about how long these checks may take. We will make the payments as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Frequently asked questions

Is this £150 energy rebate a loan that I will be asked to pay back in future?

No, the energy rebate is separate from the £200 Energy Bills Support Scheme for which households with a domestic electricity connection will be automatically eligible from October 2022.

Are there any circumstances in which the energy rebate would need to be paid back?

If records of household circumstances as at 1 April 2022 are updated retrospectively and, as a result, the person liable for the council tax becomes no longer eligible for the national energy rebate, any rebate already issued would need to be paid back.

I moved into my property since 1 April 2022. Will I get the energy rebate for my new home?

No, because the national energy rebate relates to where you were living on 1 April 2022. If you were eligible at your previous address, you could get a rebate from the council for where you were living at that time.

If I have moved from one home to another since 1 April, how can I make sure that I receive my energy rebate for my old address (if I was eligible for a rebate there?)

Visit manage your Council Tax account and check your bill to update your details. As part of this, please give us your up-to-date email address. Having your latest contact details is particularly important so that we can write to you and give you your unique access code (so that you can give us the bank details we will need to pay you your energy rebate).

If my property is not within the city of Cambridge, who do I need to contact about my energy rebate?

How can I keep control of my £150 rebate if my bank account is overdrawn?

‘First Right of Appropriation’ gives you the right to tell your bank or building society how you want the money paid into your account to be used. You may want to do this if money is due to be paid into your account and the account is over-drawn or there are bills or other payments due to be paid from it. You can instruct your bank not to use specific payments made to your account. You can also ask that certain amounts paid into your bank account are used to pay specific bills. Further information and a sample letter are available from National Debtline.

How can I update my council tax account details or sign up to direct debit?

Go to Council Tax. To set up a direct debit, go to Pay your Council Tax. Please note that a direct debit payment needs to be made (to verify the bank account details) before an energy rebate payment can be issued afterwards.

If I don’t want a £150 energy rebate that I have been paid, can I return it?

Yes. If you wish to repay your £150 payment, email energy.rebate@cambridge.gov.uk and we will tell you how to do so. We will return it to central government at the end of the scheme. Please note that councils are not permitted to use the national energy rebate to support other households not covered by the national scheme.

Alternatively, have you thought about donating the £150 to charity? The Localgiving website allows you to search for local charities or you may know of one yourself that you might want to support.

When should I contact the council about my energy rebate?

We will be contacting all eligible council tax holders about their energy rebates as soon as possible within the next three to four weeks, so please hold on until we have been in touch with you. To help us to serve everyone as quickly as we can, we won’t be able to meet any individual requests to be served more quickly.