The NFU has scored a victory in its campaign to have the government help households which rely on alternative fuels.
Ever since the launch of the EBSS (Energy Bill Support Scheme) last year, the NFU campaigned for support to be extended to off-grid homes which rely on alternative sources of fuel such as tanked gas, heating oil or solid fuel.
This included meeting with Defra to highlight the impact it would have on farmers at a time when they are already facing increasing costs such as the ‘almost 250% increase in the average price of heating oil’.
The NFU also engaged with BEIS over a period of months to ensure farming families can access the payments which are due to them.
The government has announced support for such households which include thousands of farmhouses that were left out of the original scheme.
It includes a EBSS AF (Alternative Funding) £400 discount that will apply to members who don’t have a domestic electricity supply separate to the business supply to their farms.
In these circumstances, members will need to apply to receive the payment through an online portal that will launch across all local authority areas in Great Britain by February 27.
From February 6, households across the country who don’t use mains gas for heating will have started receiving £200 towards their energy bills, following the launch of the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme.
Nearly two million households who use alternative energy sources such as heating oil, biomass and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to warm their homes will receive the support, which was doubled to £200 last year.
BEIS also conducted research into non-domestic buildings, including agricultural businesses, who are dependent on alternative fuels, with a view to the results informing future support schemes.
From 8 February 2023, energy suppliers will be able to start making payments to businesses that use alternative fuels to heat their buildings.
A credit of £150 will be provided to eligible customers across the UK through the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment scheme (ND-AFP).
Suppliers will deliver this support up to March 10, with most customers expected to receive it later in February. There is no need to contact your supplier.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “Like many people across the country, farming families are feeling the pinch as the cost of living crisis continues.
Many farmers living in rural areas, especially those who live off-grid, were worried that they would be overlooked when it came to energy support, and it’s a relief to know that this scheme will deliver for all farming households.
“The NFU has worked closely with BEIS to provide this support for farming families. While this support will be delivered automatically for most, many farming families will need to apply and we are pleased that they will now be able to do so this month.
“We will continue to work with BEIS to try to ensure this application process works smoothly for those that need it.”