If you’re struggling to heat your home or pay your fuel bills there are a number of ways we can help.
Firstly you should check that you’re receiving all the benefit payments you’re entitled to by speaking to our Welfare Rights Service. Then have a look at our information on energy efficiency to see if there are any ways you can improve your home to make it cheaper and easier to heat.
You should also make sure you’re receiving the best deal possible from your energy supplier. If not, it’s easy and free to switch supplier, you can find easy to follow and impartial advice about switching on the Go Energy Shopping website. Tips on reducing your energy bills can also be found on the Energy Saving Trust website.
The Citizens Advice Bureau offer one to one advice on fuel bills and how to afford them or check their helpful tool to help you understand the different parts of your energy bill.
Help with fuel debt
If you owe money to your energy supplier there are several energy trusts and funds which can help clear debt on fuel bills:
If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit then you’re automatically entitled to receive a discount of £140 from your electricity bill. You should get a letter directly from the Department for Work and Pensions about this.
Check if you’re entitled to one of the heating-related benefits which are available (click on the links for full eligibility rules):
- £140 discount on your energy bills with the Warm Home Discount Scheme
- £100 - £300 contribution towards your energy bills with the Winter Fuel Payment
- Extra help if temperatures fall below a certain level with the Cold Weather Payment
Energy suppliers may also offer this discount to other people who receive certain benefits, are on a low income or are elderly. To find out if you qualify, contact your energy supplier directly.
Consider having your prepayment meter removed
There are two kinds of gas and electricity meters – and which type you have has a dramatic impact on how much you pay for energy. They are:
- prepayment meter (you have to pay for energy before you use it, usually through a card or key at a shop)
- credit meter (you pay for energy after you’ve used it, usually via direct debit)
Paying for your energy with prepayment meters could mean you’re paying an extra £235 per year for your energy.
Contact your energy supplier for more information on how to change your meter. If your current supplier charges a fee to change, consider contacting another supplier to see if they could offer you a cheaper or even a free credit meter.
Help with home improvements
Making changes to your home to make it cheaper and warmer to live in can have a big impact on your energy bills.
If you have a low household income and receive certain benefits you may be able to get government funding to help with the cost of installing energy efficiency measures.
Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service to find out if you qualify.
In some cases the trusts and funds which help clear fuel debt can also provide payments to help with the cost of buying essential, energy efficient household items.
Energy suppliers' priority service registers
If you're a pensioner or are disabled,
you may be able to sign up to the Priority Services Register which entitles you to extra support from your energy supplier. Benefits can include:
- free energy saving advice
- protection from cold-callers with a password protection scheme to keep you safe
- Your meter moved free of charge if it’s hard for you to use or read the meter
- a free quarterly meter reading if you can’t read your meter
- bills sent to a relative, carer or friend to help you check them
- advance notice if your supply is going to be interrupted
- priority reconnection if your supply is interrupted
- annual gas safety checks (subject to further eligibility criteria)
To find out if you’re eligible to join the priority service register, contact your energy supplier.