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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 the 1st May 2024 and was correct at that time. Things could have changed since then, so please visit the links provided for the most up-to-date information.

If you are looking for information about Smart Energy GB's in Communities fund for partners, please see our partner page on the Resource Centre.

Energy price cap

The energy price cap is set by Ofgem, the body that regulates energy suppliers in Great Britain. The price cap limits the maximum amount energy suppliers can charge you for each unit of energy you use. It applies to standard and default tariffs charged by energy companies and is updated quarterly.

The price cap is currently set at £1,690. This is based on typical domestic consumption per year for a dual fuel customer paying by direct debit. As it is a cap on the price of a unit cost of energy, the more energy you use, the more you will pay.

The current price cap will run from the 1st April until 30th June 2024. The price cap will be updated again on the 1st July 2024. The next update is due to be announced by 27th August and will run from October to December 2024. For more information, see our guide to the price cap, or Ofgem's website

To find out exactly what you are being charged you should contact your energy supplier.

Government support

Support available only to households in England:

Low-income Cost of Living Payments

There are currently no plans to extend the Cost of Living Payments beyond the Spring.

Council Tax Support

Householders on a low income may be able to get support to pay their Council Tax. This is arranged by local authorities.

The Government has announced £100 million extra funding this year to help households that are struggling to pay their Council Tax. This extra funding is shared between local authorities and could mean an extra £25 off your Council Tax bill, in addition to any support you’re already getting.

To find out what’s available in your area, contact your 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 September 30th 2024. To find out what help is available in your area, contact your local council.

Support available only to households in Wales:

See the government website for the latest information.

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 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 the government's website or call 0800 859 5924 (9.30am–4.00pm Monday to Friday).

Fuel Voucher Scheme

If you 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.

Support available only to households in Scotland:

The Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides Crisis Grants for people in a financial crisis. These can be used to pay your energy bills or other essential costs. You do not have to pay this money back. You have to apply through your local council.

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 the government's website.

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.

See the government's Cost Of Living Payments guide for more information.

Energy discounts and payments

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.

Energy discounts and payments

England, Scotland and Wales:

Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment provides extra support for older people to pay for heating in the winter. Details for winter 2024 have not yet been announced.

For help, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160.

Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment.

In Scotland, this payment is changing to the Pension Age Winter Heating payment in 2024. It is expected that the payment will be made by Social Security Scotland this winter.

England and Wales:

Warm Home Discount Scheme

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 were 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 2024 for this winter. Further details will be made available on the government's Warm Home Discount page.

Cold Weather Payment

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 on 1st November 2024 for this winter. Further details will be made available on the government's Cold Weather Payment page.

Scotland:

Warm Home Discount Scheme

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 2024 for this winter. Further details will be made available on the government's Warm Home Discount Scheme page.

Winter Heating Payment

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 with your energy bills.

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

Child Winter Heating Assistance helps families with children with disabilities to pay for the heating in the winter. This means you can get support 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

Details on payment amounts are expected to be announced.

To check if you are eligible visit the government's Child Winter Heating Payment page.

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