By Colin O’Carroll

The Post Office says the first £600 energy payment vouchers for people on pre-paid or keypad meters will start arriving from 16 January.

The vouchers are being distributed to about 500,000 people who pay their electricity bills quarterly or use pre-payment meters.

The voucher is redeemable for cash up until the end of March at any Post Office branch.

It's understood the rollout will be staggered over four weeks with those who are flagged by energy firms as the most financially vulnerable hopefully receiving their payments in the first phase.

People who pay by direct debit will not have to do anything as their supplier will deposit the payment directly into their bank account.

The Post Office is urging people to redeem the voucher soon after getting it to ensure post office branches have enough cash.

It's also advising people to transfer it straight into a bank or savings account for security reasons.

To cash the voucher, customers will need to bring the letter they will be sent from their energy supplier notifying them of the payment, the voucher itself, proof of address and some photographic ID.

Keypad customers will also need to bring their top-up card or app on their phone.

People who may not have their name registered with their energy supplier, such as tenants who pay with a keypad, are being urged to contact the firm they deal with to update their contact details so the voucher can be sent out to them and not to their landlord or property agent or owner.

The public is also being warned of potential scams that may accompany the rollout of the voucher scheme.

The authorities said Post Office and energy suppliers will NOT be sending out TEXTS and EMAILS or CALLING customers ahead of the scheme, so any contact of that nature should be reported and ignored, and of course never give out any bank account or other personal details.

Hope this helps to clarify the situation and as usual, any queries or issues, please get in touch.