Struggling to pay energy bills? You’re not alone. Millions of people across the UK struggle to stay warm and healthy at home. Rising energy costs, low incomes and energy inefficient homes leave many unable to afford even basic household essentials like energy, food, and heating. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly increased financial hardship, with more families struggling.
There is help available if you are struggling to pay energy bills and this blog is all about signposting you to that help.
Make your home energy efficient
If you are struggling to pay energy bills, you may be able to save money by making your home more energy efficient, through installing energy-saving measures such as insulation and an effective heating system.
There is funding available to support people who are struggling to pay energy bills and are living in poorly insulated and inadequately heated homes.
The Government backed Energy Company Obligation scheme, otherwise known as ECO3, is designed to help save money on householder’s energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, while helping the environment.
If you or a member of your household is in receipt of a qualifying benefit or on a low income, then you could be eligible to funding for cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and boiler replacements (amongst other measures).
Contact your energy supplier or Citizens Advice
If you are not sure which energy tariff you are on, contact your energy supplier to see if you are on their cheapest tariff. If you are worried you are falling into energy debt, contact your energy supplier as soon as possible. If they know there is a problem, they are required to work with you to find a solution, for example an affordable payment plan.
You can also get advice on energy debt from Citizens Advice .
Check you are claiming the correct benefits
Make sure you are claiming the correct benefits. This could increase your income as well as make you eligible for other types of assistance.
You may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Government Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity.
You may be entitled to the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or are on a low income.
You could get £100 to £300 through the Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before a specific date (this date changes each year but currently it is if you were born before the 26th of September 1955) you could get between £100 and £300 to help pay your heating bills.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically, so do not need to claim, if you’re eligible and either in receipt of State Pension or another social security benefit.
If you are struggling to pay energy bills contact your local authority
The Household Support Fund was launched by the UK Government in October 2021 to support households who may struggle to keep warm this winter. The fund runs until April 2022. It helps with the cost of essentials (e.g., clothing, energy, food), and the funds are allocated by your local authority.
Call or check your local authority webpages for further information on how to apply if you are eligible.