There are a range of schemes and assistance available for those struggling to pay their energy bills or dealing with energy bill debt.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you can usually receive a Winter Fuel Payment. This is a one-off, annual payment to assist with winter heating costs.
This year recipients will also get an extra £300 with their usual Winter Fuel Payment in November or December. Winter Fuel Payments should start automatically once you reach State Pension age, but sometimes you may need to apply. More details on how to do this are here.
Cold Weather Payments
You are eligible for a one-off Cold Weather Payment, to help with extra heating costs when the temperature drops below a certain temperature, if you already get:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Support for mortgage interest
Again, you will not need to apply, if you are eligible the payment will be automatically paid to you. For more details click here.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
This is a one-off £150 discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. Information on the government website hasn't been updated for the 2023 scheme yet, but you can keep an eye on it here.
If you use a prepayment meter or you don’t use gas or electricity for your heating, you may be able to get a voucher to help pay for your energy. If you can't afford to top up your prepayment meter you might be able to get a fuel voucher. This is a code given to you in a letter or in a text message or email. You can use it to add credit to your gas card or electricity key. Your local council might be able to help you get a fuel voucher.
Fuel vouchers can be used at:
To use your voucher you’ll need to take the code and instructions and a form of ID - for example, your passport or a bill with your name and address. Vouchers must be used within 3 months upon receipt.
If you don’t use gas or electricity for your heating
You might be able to get a fuel voucher if you rely on oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), coal or wood as your main source of heating or if you are not on the gas grid. You’ll need to demonstrate you are unable to afford to heat your home. You should contact your local Citizen’s Advice centre to help you apply for a voucher in this instance.
Extra help from energy suppliers
You can sign up for the Priority Services Register if you've reached state pension age, you're disabled or sick, or if your energy network considers the bill-payer vulnerable. Energy suppliers will then help with meter readings, charges and providing bills to carers or other family members.
Help with energy bill debts
Energy suppliers and the British Gas Energy Trust provide grants to help with energy bill debts. These grants are available to anyone - you don’t have to be a British Gas customer. However you will need to have received debt advice before applying – to get debt advice contact Citizen’s Advice.
Detailed information and a budget will need to be provided to apply so its worth speaking to someone about it – the Money Helper website can assist with this.
You can also use the Money Helper budget planner to get prepared.
Local home energy grants
You can use the Simple Energy Advice website to check if you are eligible for any relevant local grants. And its worth checking with your local council if they are running any schemes or providing grants.