18 March 2022
4 min read
If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, you might have noticed that your household energy bills have increased recently, or heard they’re going to be increasing over the next few months.
We understand this may be an unsettling time. If you’re worried about keeping up with the cost of your energy bills, we’ve put together some guidance on support services and helpful schemes that are available.
One key factor is the increase in wholesale gas prices — the amount that energy firms pay gas producers for energy that’ll be sold on to consumers.
These prices have risen dramatically since October 2021, due to knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic and other economic factors.
This has led to the energy price cap — the maximum amount energy firms can charge their customers — being increased in England, Wales and Scotland. It means that anyone living in these countries will now pay more for their household energy.
The Government has a range of schemes to help vulnerable people and those on a low income pay for their bills. It might be worth checking if you’re eligible for any of the following grants.
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955, you could get between £100 and £300 to help with your heating bills. This is known as a Winter Fuel Payment.
The deadline for you to make a claim is at the end of March.
You may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or have a Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan from the Government.
You’ll get a £25 payment if your local area experiences freezing temperatures continuously over a seven-day period.
The scheme runs from November to March each year.
You could also get £140 off your electricity bill under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You might be eligible if you get Pension Credit, or if you live in a low-income household. A number of energy firms take part in the scheme, but not all of them.
The money is not paid directly to you — it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. If your energy firm’s 2021/2022 deadline has passed, you may be eligible for their 2022/2023 discount.
There are also a number of independent organisations who can offer you support and advice if you’re worried about energy bills, or experiencing financial hardship.
Citizens Advice offers free and impartial advice for people experiencing money and debt-related problems.
You can talk to one of their advisers using their chat service, by phone, or through their Relay UK service if you can't hear or speak on the phone.
The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable organisation set up to support families and individuals struggling to pay their bills.
They can point you in the direction of local advice centres, and offer grants to those most in need. Their Bounce Back Checklist can also tell you what support you might be entitled to.
You don’t need to be a British Gas customer to be eligible for support.
StepChange is a UK charity which offers free debt advice based on an assessment of your situation, along with practical help and support.
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do; that’s why we’re always here to listen and support you, no matter what money worries you may have.
If you call us, we can help you work out a budget, and offer support based on your individual circumstances.
Before you call us you’ll need:
Call us on 03457 212 212. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Call charges.
We’ve put together some simple tips on how to budget, including zero-based budgeting which can help you track your outgoings.
Here are some online resources that you might find useful, as well as some tips to help if you’re experiencing financial hardship.
You might be eligible for extra support from your energy supplier or network operator if you sign up to the Priority Services Register.
You can sign up if you are disabled, have a long-term illness, or if you’ve reached the state pension age. You may also be eligible for other reasons that aren’t listed.
Your supplier or operator can help with things such as:
As well as the British Gas Energy Trust which is open to anyone, there are also a number of energy suppliers who offer grants to their own customers to help them pay off their debts.
Under Ofgem rules, suppliers must work with you to agree a payment plan you can afford.
You could ask for:
If you live in England and your home’s council tax band is A, B, C or D, you will be eligible for a £150 ‘energy’ rebate in April 2022.
You’ll automatically receive this payment if you pay your council tax by direct debit. If you don’t, there could be a delay to your payment as your council will have to contact you and invite you to make a claim.
There’s also a similar scheme available for eligible Scottish residents, but the way the £150 is distributed may differ depending on the local authority. The Welsh Government has also announced it’ll be offering a rebate to eligible residents, though the details of this are yet to be confirmed.
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