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HOW TO ACCESS SUPPLIER AND GOVERNMENT HELP WITH ENERGY BILLS

If you can’t afford the energy you need or are already in debt with your energy supplier, there is help available. One step you can take is to check if you are eligible for grants or schemes to help you pay for your energy bills. Continue reading to find out more.

This information was last checked on 15th September 2022 and was correct at that time. Things could have changed since then, so please visit the web links provided for the most up-to-date information.

ENERGY PRICE GUARANTEE (EPG)

Due to the increase of global gas and electricity prices, the UK government announced a new Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) on 8th September 2022 which will limit the price that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy. It will discount the cost of gas and electricity for energy consumers and will apply to all households in Great Britain. Under the EPG, a typical household will pay no more than £2500 per year for their energy. The government has announced that the EPG will run in its present form until April 2023.

In his autumn statement on 17th November 2022, the chancellor announced that the EPG will be extended from April 2023 to end of March 2024, but at a revised rate meaning a typical household will pay no more than £3000 per year.

It’s important to note that you will still pay for the gas and electricity that you use but the government’s EPG will limit the price that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy.

The more energy you use the more you’ll spend.

The EPG is in addition to the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme which will run from October 2022 to March 2023.

For those who use heating oil, live in park homes or are on heat networks, a new fund will be set up to ensure that you are able to benefit from the support.

For more information please visit: helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/help-with-your-bills/

COST OF LIVING SUPPORT PACKAGE

The Government has announced support to help households in England, Wales and Scotland with the high cost of energy this winter. Some of this support is available to all households. Other schemes are targeted at people who may need extra support. There are also some support programmes that are only available in England, some that are only available in Wales and some that are only available in Scotland. The information below was checked in September 2022 and was correct at that time. Things could have changed since then, and more support may be available.

For the latest information, please go to: costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk/help-with-your-bills/

SUPPORT FOR ALL HOUSEHOLDS

Energy Bills Support Scheme

All households that have a domestic electricity meter will automatically get a £400 discount to help with energy bills this winter. There is no need to apply for it and you will not have to repay it. The discount will be paid in the first week of the month for six months from October 2022.

You will get the discount in different ways, based on how you pay your bills.

  • If you pay by direct debit, you will have the discount applied to your account with your energy supplier. You will continue to pay your monthly direct debit. The discount may not change the amount you pay each month.
  • If you pay your bills when you get them (e.g. by bank transfer or cheque), you will have the discount applied to your account with your energy supplier. It will show on your bill. You will have to pay the rest of the bill as normal.
  • If you use a payment card, you will have the discount applied to your account with your energy supplier. You will have to pay the rest of the bill as normal with your payment card.
  • If you have a prepay smart meter, your energy supplier will add the discount to your meter as a top up.
  • If you have a traditional prepay meter, your energy supplier will send you a voucher, by text message, email or post. Please make sure your energy supplier has your correct contact details. You can use the voucher at your usual top up point. Ask your energy supplier if you need help or guidance to do this.
  • If you live in a park home or off-grid, you will be able to get the discount too. The government will provide details in Autumn 2022.

    Because the £400 discount will be paid out to meter points and over a period of six months, you won’t miss out if you decide to switch your energy supplier, tariff or change your payment method within that time.

For more information visit:  gov.uk/guidance/getting-the-energy-bills-support-scheme-discount   

TARGETED SUPPORT

In addition to the Energy Bills Support Scheme that all households will get, there is extra support for people on low incomes, pensioners and people with disabilities.

These cost of living payments are one-off payments and you will get them automatically if you are eligible.

For more information visit: gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

Cost of Living Payment for low income benefits or tax credits

If you are on a low income and depend on means-tested benefits such as:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

You will automatically get a cost of living payment of £650. This is split in two parts. The first part, of £326, was paid to households that meet the criteria in July 2022. The second part, of £324, will be paid in in Autumn 2022.

You cannot apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

If you are a pensioner who gets the Winter Fuel Payment, you will automatically get a cost of living payment of £300. This will be paid on top of any other support you or your household gets, such as pension credit or disability benefits.

The £300 will be paid as an automatic top up to your Winter Fuel Payment. In most cases, it will be paid by direct debit into your bank account.

Disability Cost of Living Payment

If you got:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance for adults
  • Disability Living Allowance for children
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • War Pension Mobility

Supplement for any day between 26 April 2022 and 25 May 2022, you will automatically get a cost of living payment of £150. This is designed to help with the increased costs of specialist equipment, specialist food and transport costs. The money will be paid to you directly from September 2022.

If you receive any of these benefits and means-tested benefits (such as Universal Credit, income-based JSA or ESA, or Income Support), you will get this £150 as well as the £650 Low-Income cost of living payment. The payments will be made separately.

WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS

Please be aware of potential scams about all of this support. You do not need to apply for it, and you should not enter your details onto any third-party website.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT (ENGLAND)

This support is only available to households in England.

Council Tax Rebate

Householders in council tax bands A to D should have received a £150 rebate on their Council Tax, to help with energy costs. This payment should have been made between April and September 2022. Funding was also available for households on a low income whose home was not in bands A to D.

If you have not yet received your rebate, contact your local council here: gov.uk/find-local-council

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund is designed to help households who need extra support because of the rising cost of food, energy and water bills. It is distributed through local authorities and funding is available up to March 2023 and possibly longer.

To find out what help is available in your area, contact your local council here: gov.uk/find-local-council   

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT (WALES)

This support is only available to households in Wales.

Cost of Living Payment

A £150 cost of living payment is available for households in Council Tax bands A-D, and for all households who receive support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme irrespective of council tax band. This payment should have been made from May 2022 onwards.

If you have not yet received it, please contact your local council to apply.

Find your local council at: gov.wales/find-your-local-authority

Welsh Fuel Support Scheme

You can get £200 to help towards your energy bills if you or someone else in your household gets:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • Contibutory Benefits
  • Council Tax Reduction Schene (CTRS)

You have to claim this support from your local council. Claims can be made from late September 2022.

Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund

If you are in a financial crisis and can’t afford to pay your energy bills or other essential costs and you have tried all other routes, you can apply for emergency assistance payments from the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund.

You can use this to top up gas and electricity prepayment meters, or oil and LPG. You do not have to pay this money back. There are limits to how often you can apply for this Fund.

To find out more, visit:  gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf

Wales Fuel Voucher Scheme

This scheme will provide vouchers for households in crisis that must pay for their energy in advance, either by prepayment meter or fuels such as oil and LPG. It is run by the Fuel Bank Foundation.

Households will need to be referred for support.

Please contact your local advice provider or Advicelink Cymru on:
0800 702 2020 for further information.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT (SCOTLAND)

This support is only available to households in Scotland.

The Scottish Welfare Fund

You must be 16 or older and on a low income, or getting certain benefits, to apply for a grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Low income includes but is not limited to:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income based Universal Credit

For more information visit: mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund

Cost of Living Award (council tax rebate)

In April 2022, most households in Scotland received a £150 Cost of Living Award to help pay energy bills. This was credited to council tax accounts in April 2022.

If you think you should have received the award but did not, contact your local council here: mygov.scot/help-energy-bills

ENERGY DISCOUNTS AND PAYMENT

This section covers support with energy bills that has been available for some years. This year, the eligibility criteria for some of these schemes have changed, so that more people may be able to get them.

Winter Fuel Payment (England, Scotland and Wales)

The Winter Fuel Payment provides extra support for older people to pay for heating in the winter.

If you have previously claimed the payment, get a State Pension or certain other benefits, you can get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. You will get the money in November or December 2022.

If you haven’t previously applied, or don’t get a State Pension, you may still be able to get the Winter Fuel Payment, if you were born on or before 25 September 1956. This date changes each year.

For help, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 7310160.

This year, the Winter Fuel Payment will be paid at the same time as the pensioner cost of living payment.

Find out more at: gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

Warm Home Discount Scheme (England and Wales)

The Warm Home Discount scheme provides support with heating costs in winter for those who need it most. If you are eligible, you will automatically get £150 off your electricity bill before 31 March 2023. This is different from previous years, where you had to apply to get it.

This year, you will automatically get this discount if:

  • you are a pensioner, who gets the guarantee credit element of pension credit
  • you depend on means-tested benefits (such as Universal Credit, income-based JSA or ESA, or Income Support) and have high energy costs.

High energy costs will be calculated based on the age and type of your property, as well as its floor size.

For more information visit: gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

Note: This page will be updated when more information about the scheme is known.

Cold Weather Payment (England and Wales)

If you get:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

You may also get a Cold Weather Payment when the average temperature in your area is freezing (zero degrees Celsius) for seven days in a row. If you are eligible, you will automatically get £25 for each seven-day period between 1 November 2022 and 31 March 2023.

Find out more at: gov.uk/cold-weather-payment

Warm Home Discount Scheme (Scotland)

(Please note: This is currently under review and further information will be published before the scheme opens in November 2022).

The Warm Home Discount scheme provides support with heating costs in winter for those who need it most. If you are eligible, you can get £150 off your electricity bill before 31 March 2023.

To be eligible you need to either:

  • get the guarantee credit element of pension credit – in which case you will get the money automatically
  • get certain benefits and meet your energy supplier’s criteria. In this case, you have to apply. The relevant benefits now include Housing Benefit if you have a child under 5 or a child with a disability

For more information visit: gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

Note: This page will be updated when more information about the scheme is known.

Low Income Winter Heating Assistance (Scotland)

If you get:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

You may also get Low Income Winter Heating Assistance of £50 to help with your energy bills in winter. This is a new scheme that replaces the Cold Weather Payment in Scotland.

It starts in February 2023. You will get it automatically if you qualify. It does not depend on the weather.

Child Winter Heating Assistance (Scotland)

Child Winter Heating Assistance helps families with children with disabilities to pay for the heating in the winter. If you live with someone under 19 who gets:

  • the highest rate of the care component of Child Disability Payment
  • the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance for children
  • the enhanced daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, or
  • the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment on at least one day between Monday 19 September and Sunday 25 September, then you will get a payment of £214.10.

To check if you are eligible visit: mygov.scot/child-winter-heating-assistance

Home Heating Support Fund (Scotland)

The Home Heating Support Fund can help you if you are struggling to pay for your heating bills, or if you have had to cut back on your heating because you can’t afford the bills. This payment includes households with unregulated fuels including; oil, liquefied petroleum gas, solid fuels and those on heat networks.

You have to apply online at homeheatingadvice.scot/household-registration

The Fund can help you pay your energy bills by:

  • sending a payment to your supplier
  • giving you an energy voucher that you can use to pay your bills

You can get this help if you can show that you have received either energy and / or debt advice from an accredited agency.

Find out how you can apply by visiting: homeheatingadvice.scot or phoning Advice Direct Scotland free on 0808 800 9060.

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