Struggling to pay your energy bills? You’re not alone. Ofgem’s new energy price cap means an unprecedented rise in householder’s energy bills, a rise of 80% in fact.
The impact is devastating, as 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.
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 can save money by making your home more energy efficient, through installing energy-saving measures such as insulation and an effective heating system.
You can benefit from 0% VAT thanks to an announcement made by the government. This VAT cut will be available from 1 April 2022 until 2027. As a result, households looking to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes will benefit from further savings with this recent incentive. This is applicable when installing insulation and renewable measures.
Funding may be available from the government Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme. This is an obligation on energy companies to provide funding for energy-saving measures, by government, to upgrade the energy efficiency of the country’s worst performing housing and to provide fuel poverty support. ECO4 funding is available for households with low incomes, in receipt of qualifying benefits and with a low property EPC rating. This is part of a wider government strategy to reduce carbon emissions, tackle fuel poverty and help householders save money on their energy bills.
Energy Bills Support Scheme
The Energy Bills Support Scheme will deliver a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households (with a domestic electricity connection) to help with energy bills from October.
The £400 discount will be applied to consumers energy bills over 6 months. Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.
Contact your energy supplier or Citizens Advice
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 under the Government Warm Home Discount Scheme. This scheme opens again in November.
The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill. 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 Government announced in their Spring Statement, that an extra £500m of funding will be made available to the Household Support Fund, bringing it up to £1bn. 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.