Hundreds of 'desperate' residents at a Runcorn apartment block unable to claim £400 in government support for soaring energy bills because of a loophole have been assured help is on the way.

The government announced last year it would be providing grants to help people pay rising bills, but residents at Castleview House have been unable to claim support due to the fact they live in properties which are sub-metered, where just one energy meter feeds a number of submeters throughout the block.

It means that residents, along with 900,000 people across the country, which also includes people on developments such as park homes, could not access the original support scheme because they are not in direct contact with their energy suppliers.

Another blow for the 250 households at Castleview is that sub-metered residential households are also not protected by the domestic energy cap.

Supplied on commercial terms, they are subject to a relief scheme aimed at supporting businesses but could pay double the normal household rate.

Gary Wernick, whose Manchester-based company Landlord Metering supplies submeters, including those at Castleview on East Lane, has been lobbying Government to create a mechanism for distributing the £400 energy grant to its customers.
Almost 3,000 of his customers are currently out-of-pocket.

Raising the case in the Commons this week, East Runcorn MP Mike Amesbury, said he had been contacted by a number of residents at Castle View House about the ongoing situation.

He said: “They are desperate, and have been for some time, for payments to get through the door. I know that right honourable and honourable members across the House also have constituents in that situation, many in park homes.”

The government has pledged to get a new online portal up and running by February 27 for those impacted to claim the support they are due, but Mr Amesbury said he was 'not convinced' by the timescale promised.

But responding, Graham Stuart, Climate Minister, said Mr Amesbury was ‘quite right’ to raise the issue and said he was ‘confident’ the scheme would be working by then.

He said: “I and my teams will do everything to make sure that happens. We are working through local authorities, so we must ensure that we have all the procedures—some of which I touched on—properly worked through, and that we have local authority staff trained up so that they can then process the payment. I am afraid that is as far as I can go right now."