Riverbank House, the home of Torridge District Council - Credit: Philip Halling

Torridge begins doling out £150 energy rebates

Joseph Bulmer

Earlier in the year the Government announced that all householders registered for Council Tax in bands A-D on 1st April 2022, would receive a £150 rebate to help offset the steep global rises in energy prices.

Band E properties that currently receive a Disabled Banding Reduction were also included in this phase of the scheme.

Councils only learnt of the rebate at the same time as it was announced to the general public and almost without exception all authorities operated software systems that lacked a bulk payment process that could make these payments to multiple accounts in one go.

Since the announcement Torridge’s software provider has been working to enable the transactions and the project to implement the necessary changes is due to be completed in the next few weeks.

Torridge has announced that the first automated payment runs to those customers already paying by direct debit, and who the council already hold bank details for, will commence from Monday, May 16.

At the same time, the council will be posting forms on their website for the remaining group of cash payment customers in Bands A-D so that they can provide their bank details or agree to the rebate being credited to their Council Tax account.

A discretionary scheme for customers in bands E-F is set to follow once the scheme details and qualifying criteria for this group have been incorporated into further software changes.

Torridge has been reminding customers that to be included in the earlier payment runs customers can sign up to pay their bills by direct debt ahead of the first rebate date by using the online form at https://www.torridge.gov.uk/waystopay or by calling 01237 428900.

This will also allow customers to spread their payments into more manageable sums over a 10-or-12-month period.

It is anticipated that the software implementation for the Bands E-H discretionary scheme will take until mid-June to complete and customers are being asked not to contact the Council but to look out for updates on the Councils website or sign up for Council Tax eBulletin news updates.

Councillor Simon Newton – Lead Member for Customer Services and Internal Resources said: “I am aware that there was probably an expectation that the payments under the rebate scheme would be actioned almost immediately after they were announced by the Government. Unfortunately, the mechanism to deliver these payments didn’t exist, so all Councils have needed to work to the pace set by their software providers in delivering the necessary upgrades to our systems to enable all of this.

“I know that both our officers and the software team have been working very hard to achieve all of this and have done their very best to complete the task as quickly as possible. We would ask for customers in bands E-F to remain patient for a little while longer and also for any customers not already paying by direct debit to consider doing so, which will simplify and speed things up further.”