What help can I get with my energy bills?

Whilst there are many ways you can reduce your bills by reducing your energy consumption, it also pays to be aware of the government schemes available to you.

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We’re sure you are aware by now, but the energy market is in crisis, 18 energy suppliers have ceased trading since August impacting over 2 million domestic customers and the number is rising.

Don’t panic if your supplier ceases trading, remain calm and follow the steps we outline in our post on what to do if your supplier goes bust. If your supplier has already ceased trading you can keep updated with our post on who has taken over your energy supply here.

The reality is that bills are rising for everyone who isn’t locked into a fixed term tariff and whilst there are many ways you can reduce your bills by reducing your energy consumption, it also pays to be aware of the government schemes available to you.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

This is a government scheme in place that could give you £140 off your electricity bill in Winter 2021-2022.

The money is a one-off discount on your electricity bill and goes direct to your supplier between October and March. The money will not be paid directly to you.

If you have a dual-fuel tariff you may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead. But you will need to contact your supplier to find out.

If you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme it will not impact any Cold Weather Payments to Winter Fuel Payments you may be eligible for.

Who is eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme? 

You can qualify for the scheme in two ways; 

  1. You get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit

  2. You’re on a low income and meet your energy providers requirements for the scheme

How do I apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

The way you apply is dependent on how you qualify for the scheme. 

If you apply via the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit you should receive a letter between October and December telling you how to get the discount. If you do not receive the letter you should contact the helpline using the details here.

If you are eligible due to being on a low income you need to speak to your energy supplier directly. Your supplier decides who can receive this discount and they can only give out a limited number of discounts, so it makes sense to contact them as soon as you can to see if you are deemed eligible.

For more information on the Warm Home Discount scheme please see the details on the government site here.

Winter Fuel Payment

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The winter fuel payment is a government scheme that allows people born before 26 September 1955 to receive between £100 and £300 to help pay for their heating bills.

How do you receive the Winter Fuel Payment?

There is no need to claim this payment, you will get it automatically if you’re eligible and either;

  • Receive a state pension

  • Get another form of social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Benefit or Council Tax Reduction)

If you are not in receipt of one of the above or live abroad, you may need to make a claim.

Most Winter Fuel Payments are made in November or December automatically but should be paid by 14 January 2022 at the latest. If you do not receive the payment, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre directly on the details listed here.

If you need to make a claim you can do so by following the guidance here.

For more information on the Winter Fuel Payment see the government website here.

Cold Weather Payment

What is the Cold Weather Payment?

The Cold Weather Payment is a government scheme that can allow people to get a £25 payment for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November 2021 and 31 March 2022.

You can receive the payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded, or forecasted to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for a period of over 7 consecutive days.

Who can receive the Cold Weather Payment?

You may get the Cold Weather Payment if you are already receiving one of the following benefits;

  • Pension Credit

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Incomer-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income Support

  • Universal Credit

  • Support for Mortgage Interest

For more detail on eligibility see the government website here.

How do you claim the Cold Weather Payment?

You do not need to claim the payment, if you are eligible you will be paid automatically. If you do not receive the payment you should contact the appropriate department depending on how you are eligible, for example, the Pension Service or the Jobcentre Plus.

For more information on the Cold Weather Payment see the government website here.

What if I’m not eligible for any government schemes?

Not everyone is eligible for these schemes, they are designed to help those who are most vulnerable at this time of year. We can all do more to reduce our energy consumption at home by making small changes in our daily routines. 

If you are struggling and you aren’t eligible for any of the government discounts there are other options available to you.

Contact your supplier and ask for help. Some suppliers such as British Gas, E.ON and Scottish Power offer grants that can help you pay off any debt on your account. If your supplier doesn’t offer such grants, British Gas Energy Trust is open to anyone, not just British Gas customers.

Author: mo

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Category: Guide

Tags: Energy