People in Portsmouth are being urged to make sure they’re not missing out on government money to help with their energy bills.

All households are getting £400 of government support to help with their energy costs, in instalments of £66 or £67. A lot of people don’t have to do anything – the payments are happening automatically.

But the system is different if you pay for your energy with top-ups, and your meter is a traditional one, not a “smart” one.

Many people with this kind of meter need to redeem vouchers sent to them by their energy supplier.

Up to a third of people in Portsmouth who have received vouchers haven’t redeemed them.

So the council is urging residents to make sure they don’t miss out. It’s encouraging people to redeem their vouchers before 30 June, when the government scheme ends.

Cllr Suzy Horton, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “The vouchers are free money from the government, to help with your heating and hot water costs.

“We know that traditional prepayment meters, that take top-ups, are often used by people on lower incomes. It’s really important that people get this money, ideally to help them through the rest of the winter, but definitely before the scheme closes on 30 June. That’s why we’re trying to get the word out.”

Vouchers are sent by energy suppliers by post, email or text. You need to take your voucher to a top-up point, such as a post office or a PayPoint shop, to add it to your gas or electricity top-up key or card. Payzone outlets do not accept the vouchers.

Different energy suppliers have different rules on what ID is needed.

The vouchers expire after 90 days. But after that, you can contact your energy supplier to request a new voucher before the end of June. If you haven’t received a voucher, or you’ve lost it, contact your energy supplier. Check they have your correct contact details.

If you get any communication that asks you to give personal or bank information, this is a scam.

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