Your Guide to Energy Bill Grants & Funding

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At the end of August, energy regulator Ofgem announced that from the 1st October 2022, many people in the UK will pay around £1,570 more per year for gas and electricity. This increase is due to the fact that the energy price cap, which was set by Ofgem, is set to jump by a staggering 80% to reflect rising wholesale energy costs for energy suppliers. Thankfully, to somewhat combat this issue, the government has announced a new scheme that essentially replaces Ofgem’s price cap. The scheme, otherwise known as the Energy Price Guarantee (EGP), aims to mitigate the impact of the energy cap increase by limiting the amount that a household’s energy bills can increase by. This means that the average household will not pay more than £2,500 a year for gas and electricity, compared to the £3,549 average that would have been a reality without the EGP.

Whilst the EGP does marginally alleviate the strain of rising energy costs, the swift increase does still ultimately mean that people will be struggling to pay their bills this winter – with low income households sadly being disproportionately impacted. If you find yourself struggling with the cost of your gas and electric bills or topping up your prepayment meter due to an increase in energy prices, there is help available to you. You might be eligible for certain benefits, grants and support offered by the government and energy suppliers. This guide will help you to understand some of the funding options available to you.

Lady looking at her energy bill

Energy Bills Support Scheme

The Energy Bills Support Scheme offers households in England, Scotland and Wales a £400 non-repayable discount to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023. All households with a domestic electricity connection are eligible, and the discount is automatic – there is no need to apply or call your energy supplier. It will be applied to your monthly electricity bill for 6 months, starting in October 2022. You will get:

● £66 in October and November.

● £67 in December, January, February and March.

You will receive the discount monthly, even if you pay for your bills on a quarterly basis or use a payment card. If you use a payment meter, you will get equivalent vouchers that you will need to redeem.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you receive benefits or are low income, you could receive £150 off of your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money will not be directly paid to you, but instead will be 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 and you’re eligible – you can contact your supplier to find out. You don’t need to pay, and payments are automatic. Find out if you’re eligible here.

ECO4 Funding

First introduced in April 2022, ECO4 funding is a government-backed scheme that grants low income or vulnerable households access to a wide range of energy efficient heating solutions. This includes different types of insulation, central heating upgrades, eco heating and SMART controls – all completely free under the scheme. ECO4 is a great solution for those living in fuel-poor homes who are not in a position to fund the installation of an efficient heating system. Applying is easy: simply register your interest with UK Energy Management, at which point a member of our professional team will take care of the rest – from checking your eligibility, to getting you enrolled on the scheme, to ensuring that your home improvements are carried out by expert tradespeople. You can find out more about ECO4 eligibility here.

Fuel Vouchers

If you don’t have the means to top-up your payment meter, you might be able to receive a fuel voucher. This will come in the form of a code sent to you in a letter, text message or email. You can use it to add credit to your gas card or electricity key. If you don’t have either of these, contact your supplier to get one.

Your local council may be able to help you get a fuel voucher. Vouchers can be used at:

a shop signed up to PayPoint.

a post office or shop signed up to Payzone.

In order to use your voucher, you’ll need to take:

● The code and instructions.

● Some form of ID, such as your passport or a bill with your name and address on it.

Make sure that you check when your fuel voucher expires, as some have to be used within 15 days.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before the 25th September 1956, you should receive between £250 and £600 to help with your heating bills. This is otherwise known as the Winter Fuel Payment. The amount you will receive includes a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment – which is between £150 and £300 and should be received around November or December.

You will receive the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and:

● you receive the State Pension.

● you receive another social security benefit.

Cold Weather Payment

You may receive a Cold Weather Payment if you are a recipient of certain benefits or Support For Mortgage Interest, and the average temperature in your area has been recorded as or is forecasted to be 0℃ or below over 7 consecutive days. If you are entitled to a Cold Weather Payment, you will get £25 for each 7 day period of freezing weather between the 1st November and 31st March.

Local Energy Grants

You might have access to a local energy grant through Simple Energy Advice, and you should check whether your local council has any grants or schemes available.

Your energy supplier may also offer additional support if you sign up to their Priority Services Register. You can sign up if you have reached state pension age, you are disabled or sick, or if your energy supplier considers you vulnerable. You will be able to get help with:

● reading your energy meter.

● moving your energy meter.

● getting your bills sent or copied to someone else, such as a carer.

What If I Don’t Use Gas or Electricity to Heat My Home?

You could be entitled to extra financial support if you:

● rely on oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), coal or wood as your main heating source.

● aren’t on the gas grid.

You will need to be able to prove that you cannot heat your home because you cannot afford to buy fuel, or will not be able to in the near future.

What If I Need Help Paying Off My Energy Debt?

If you are struggling to pay off any debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help with the cost. The following energy suppliers offer grants:

British Gas Energy Support Fund

Scottish Power Hardship Fund

OVO Energy Fund

EON Energy Fund

EON Next Energy Fund

EDF Energy Customer Support Fund

Bulb Energy Fund

Octopus ‘Octo Assist Fund’

Shell Energy Support Fund

If you don’t see your supplier listed here, it’s always good to get in contact with them to find out how they can support you.

If your supplier doesn’t offer grants, then you can always apply to the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are open to everyone – you don’t need to be a British Gas customer to apply. You will, however, need to speak to a debt adviser before applying.

What If I’m Finding Things Difficult?

We tend to underestimate how much the prospect of financial difficulty can negatively impact our mental health. Stress over not being able to pay the bills can manifest into a more complicated issue, and sadly it can lead to some people not being able to see a way out. If you feel as though your mental health is being impacted by the cost of living crisis, please make an appointment to see your GP. You can also find a list of mental health services on the Mind website.

UK Energy Management: Here to Help

With so many households in the UK forced to choose between staying warm and making ends meet this winter, it’s natural to feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place at times. And though we at UK Energy Management can’t stop the energy crisis, we are devoted to softening the blow for low income or vulnerable families nationwide. There’s no catch to our service: all you need to do is apply, and we take care of the rest. We’ll organise the grant on your behalf, and we’ll even arrange the fitting at a time that suits you. Plus, all of our installations or upgrades are carried out by certified and accredited fitters, giving you peace of mind that the job will get done professionally. If you would like more information about any of our services, or need some guidance on all things energy-related, please get in touch and a member of our friendly team will be more than happy to assist you with any queries.

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