HELP WITH ENERGY BILLS
If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, you might be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and help offered by the government and energy suppliers.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter.
You can usually get a Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 26 September 1955.
For more info go to https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s very cold.
You’ll get a payment each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period of time.
You’ll only be eligible if you already get:
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
income-related Employment and Support Allowance
For more info go to https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Warm Home Discount Scheme
You might be able to get £140 off your electricity bill under the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you’re either:
getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
on a low income
Check with your supplier to see if they offer the Warm Home Discount – not all suppliers are part of the scheme.
If you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but you switch supplier before you get the payment, you have to apply again with your new supplier. Your new supplier might have different rules about who gets the discount. This doesn’t affect you if you get the discount automatically, without having to apply.
For more info go to https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
Grants to help pay off your energy debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.
The following energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone – you don’t have to be a customer:
There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers:
When you apply for a grant, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help from a friend or family member.
Extra help from your supplier
You might be able to get extra help and support from your energy supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register. You can sign up if you’re a pensioner, disabled or sick, or if your energy network considers you ‘vulnerable’.
They would be able to help you with things like:
reading your energy meter
moving your energy meter free of charge
getting your bills sent or copied to someone else, for example a carer
Get help with bills and budgeting
If you’re trying to cut your spending, or are having problems with your outgoings, you could get help with bills. You could also use this budgeting tool to see exactly where your money goes each month.
You can use this Simple Energy Advice calculator to find out how you can improve your energy efficiency.
ENERGY SAVING IDEAS
We can all make small changes to how we live to reduce energy costs and our impact on the environment. Check out the following tips from the Energy Saving Trust:
Reduce Your Heating Costs
- Don’t leave windows open for long periods of time. Windows need to be opened in most homes to provide adequate ventilation, but leaving windows open all day can cool your home, increasing your heating costs.
- Close your curtains at dusk to help keep heat in your home.
- Check the wall thermostat in your home, if you have one. The recommended temperature should be around 18-21°C, so try keeping it at the lowest level that you feel comfortable at.
- Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by curtains or furniture.
- If drying clothes inside, use a clothes rail instead of hanging them over a radiator which would block heat from your room.
Reduce Your Electricity Costs
- Always turn off your lights when you leave a room. LEDs are the most efficient lighting technology; they are available for most types of light fittings.
- Only boil as much water as you need – but remember to cover the element if you’re using an electric kettle.
- Switch off your appliances – don’t leave them on standby or charging unnecessarily.
- Use the “half load” or “economy” function on your washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher when possible.
- Don’t leave the fridge door open and try to avoid putting hot or warm food straight into your fridge.
- Buy energy efficient appliances – Television: Choosing an F-rated 65” TV over a G-rated 65” TV could save you almost £25 a year; Fridge -freezer: when buying a new fridge freezer, choosing a D-rated fridge freezer over a G-rated model will save you around £30 in energy bills a year; Tumble dryer: choosing an A+++ tumble dryer over an A+ -rated model could save you around £35 a year off your energy bills.