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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 1st June 2023 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)

Since 1st October 2022, all UK households have been covered by the UK government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG). The EPG limits the price that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy.

This includes the price that suppliers can charge customers with prepay meters.

The EPG was initially announced for six months, from October 2022 until the end of March 2023. It has now been extended until the end of June 2023, but the government has confirmed it will end on 1st July 2023.

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.

For more information please visit: gov.uk/government/publications/energy-bills-support/energy-bills-support-factsheet-8-september-2022.

SUPPORT FOR ALL HOUSEHOLDS

Energy Bills Support Scheme

Between October 2022 and March 2023, all households in the UK with a domestic electricity meter automatically got a £400 discount to help with energy bills during winter. That basically meant every household got £67 off their energy bills each month. This scheme has now ended.

As a result, your bills may be higher over the next few months. But because homes generally need less heating and electric light over the summer, the amount should not be as high as it would have been in winter.

If you have a traditional prepay meter, the discount was given to you as vouchers from your energy supplier. You can still use the vouchers until the end of June 2023.

If you didn’t receive vouchers, or they have expired or been lost, contact your energy supplier straight away.

Some households, such as park homes, homes that use heating oil or alternative fuels, that are off the main electricity or gas grid, or part of a heat network, did not get the discount automatically.

Instead, they had to apply for the £400 electricity payment or the £200 Alternative Fuel Payment for homes heated by fuels other than gas.

If you find that you are struggling to pay your bills now the Energy Bills Support Scheme has closed, you may be able to get extra support from your energy supplier or other sources. You may also be able to get targeted support from the government.

For more general information about the support available from the government, including energy saving tips, visit the ‘Help for Households’ website.

TARGETED SUPPORT

Because of the high cost of living, there is extra support available for people on low incomes, pensioners and people with disabilities.

If are you eligible for this support, you should get it automatically. This support is available across England, Scotland and Wales.

Low-income Cost of Living Payments

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 may be entitled to up to three Cost of Living payments. The payments depend on when you were receiving the benefits.

If you are eligible, the payments will be made automatically. They will be made separately from your benefits.

The first payment of £301 is for those who were getting the benefit between 26th January and 25th February 2023. Most people who were eligible should have got the payment in May 2023.

The second payment, of £300, will be paid in Autumn 2023 and the third payment, of £299, will be paid in Spring 2024.

You will not get a payment if you are only getting New Style ESA, contributory ESA, or New Style JSA.

Find out more at: gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

If you are a pensioner who gets the Winter Fuel Payment, you will automatically get an extra Cost of Living payment this winter. This 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.

You will either get an extra £150 or £300. The amount will depend on when you were born and your circumstances during the qualifying dates. If you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment, you will be sent a letter in October or November 2023 telling you how much you will get in total.

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

on 1st April 2023, you will get a Cost of Living payment of £150 in Summer 2023. Most people who are eligible will get this payment automatically between 20th June 2023 and 4th July 2023.

There may be future Disability Cost of Living payments, but at the time this guide was written, no details had been announced by Government.

Find out more at: gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

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 those households who most 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 2024 and possibly longer.

To find out what help is available in your area, contact your local council. You can normally find their contact details on any letters you get from them. Or you can look for details here: gov.uk/find-local-council

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT (WALES)

This support is only available to households in Wales. For the latest information, go to:gov.wales/help-cost-living.

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 prepay meters, or to pay for heating from fuels other than electricity or gas, such as oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). You do not have to pay this money back.

You can apply for up to three payments in 12 months. If you have already received payments in the last 12 months, these count towards the three payments you can get.

To find out more and apply visit: gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf
or call 0800 859 5924 (9.30am–4.00pm Monday to Friday).

Wales Fuel Voucher Scheme

If you have to prepay for your energy but are in a financial crisis, you may be able to get a Fuel Voucher.

These can be used to prepay for gas or electricity, or to buy heating oil or LPG.

The vouchers are distributed by the Fuel Bank Foundation, working in partnership with the Welsh Government.

Contact Advicelink Cymru on 0800 702 2020 to find out more.

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 2023.

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 25th September 1957. 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. The money is not paid to you directly. It is a one-off discount on your heating bill, paid automatically for those who are eligible.

If you use a prepay meter, you can still qualify for the discount, but you will get it in different ways. For example, you might get a voucher you can use to top up. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible.


The scheme will reopen in October 2023 for this winter. Further details will be made available at: 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.

The scheme will reopen in November 2023 for this winter. Further details will be made available at: gov.uk/cold-weather-payment

Warm Home Discount Scheme (Scotland)

The Warm Home Discount scheme provides support with heating costs in winter for those who need it most. It is a one-off discount on your heating bill. You can get it if you:

  • 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 scheme will reopen in October 2023 for this winter. Further details will be made available at: gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

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

Winter Heating Payment (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 the Winter Heating Payment to help you with your energy bills.

To be eligible, you must be on a qualifying benefit between 6th – 12th November. In 2023/24 this will provide a £55.05 payment to eligible households.

This scheme replaced the Cold Weather Payment in Scotland 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 of children with disabilities to pay for the heating in 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 18th September and Sunday 24th September 2023, then you will get a payment of £235.70 from the end of November. Payment is usually automatic.

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

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