Consumer watchdog the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has said it has been unable to determine how much a rebate payment made to a UK energy company is worth.
The payments are intended to help rebates to help consumers who are out of work due to a financial hardship, but critics have said they are a “sham” rebate which doesn’t exist.
The bureau said on Tuesday it has received 1,300 requests for refunds from energy companies for the payments, but only received more than 700.
A spokesperson for the agency said the agency was “currently reviewing all of these claims” and was working with the energy companies on their response.
“It is clear from the responses that many energy companies are not taking their obligations seriously,” the spokesperson said.
The energy companies in question include SSE, Scottish Power, Southern, EDF, Enel and Energex.
The government’s energy company levy is set to rise from 4p to 5p per kilowatt hour, bringing the average bill to £17 per household by 2020.
Energy companies receive a rebate for every megawatt hour of energy generated, or 1.3p per megawatthour.
In 2017, the government approved £9.3bn in rebates for energy bills, which was £11.4m more than the previous year.
In total, the UK government is giving £19.6bn in rebate payments to energy companies, which is equivalent to £16.9bn in total payments.
A spokeswoman for the government said the rebate payments “are a vital source of revenue for the UK Treasury”.
“In 2017-18, the rebate scheme supported over 1 million households and businesses with an energy bill of more than £100 per week.
The rebate scheme also supported thousands of households and small businesses with energy bills of less than £25 per week,” the spokeswoman said.