The energy price cap is set to rise by 54% in April, impacting millions of households.
If you’re worried about how the rising costs will affect you and your ability to afford your energy bills, here are some tips on reducing your energy usage, available support, and the energy grants and discounts that you may be eligible for.
Are there are energy discounts or grants that I might be eligible for?
There are a number of grants and fuel discounts that, depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for.
Winter Fuel Payment
You can receive an annual one-off payment of between £100 and £300 to help towards your heating bills if you were born on or before 26 September 1955. You will receive this payment automatically if you’re eligible and either receive the state pension or get another social security benefit. Please note, this does not include housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit.
If you do not get either of these, you may need to make a claim to get the payment, and you can find out how to do that here.
The deadline to make a claim for Winter 2022 is 31 March 2022, so be sure to look into this right away if you think you could be eligible.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount scheme gives you £140 off your electricity bill if you’re eligible. This is paid directly to your electricity supplier and the one-off discount is applied to your bill between October and March. You may be able to get a discount on your gas bill if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity.
You can qualify for this scheme if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or if you’re on a low income.
As this year’s scheme is coming to an end, EDF and Scottish Power have stopped taking applications, but with other suppliers, this discount is available until 31 March 2022. The scheme will renew for winter 2022/2023 in October, and this will be available to apply for later in the yea. It’s been rumoured that the government are reviewing the eligibility criteria and increasing the discount to £150 but these details are yet to be finalised.
Find out more about the Warm Home Discount and the eligibility criteria here.
Cold Weather Payment
If you receive certain benefits such as Pension Credit, Income Support or Universal Credit, or receive Support for Mortgage Interest, you may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment. You will be able to get a Cold Weather Payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
You will get £25 for each seven-day period of cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. This will be paid into the bank account which your benefits payments are usually paid into and will arrive around 14 days after the bout of cold weather.
To find out more information about the Cold Weather Payment, if you’re eligible and how to claim, read here.
Who should I speak to if I’m struggling to pay my energy bills?
If you’re struggling to keep on top of your energy bills and think you may not be eligible for any grants or discounts, contact your energy supplier directly. They will be able to outline what they can offer you, and any further help, advise and resources they may have. Some suppliers are able to agree a more flexible payment plan or have their own grants and schemes – so it’s worth contacting them to see how they can help.
No matter which supplier you are with, you can contact the British Gas Energy Trust for help and support. Find out more about the Trust and how they could help here.
If you have any worries around money, or concerns around paying your rent, our dedicated Income & Advice Services Team are here to help you. Head over to our financial wellbeing page for more information on their services or contact our team directly at email@example.com.
How can I save money on my energy bills?
There are several things you can do yourself to drive down your energy usage and therefore the price of your bills. From turning off lights in rooms you are not using and switching electrical devices off standby, to spending less time in the shower and reducing your dishwasher cycles, there’s plenty of practical advice to keep your energy bills as affordable as possible. Check out the Energy Saving Trust’s top ten tips here.
A great way to keep an eye on your energy usage and eliminate estimated billing is to have a smart meter installed. Allowing you to see how much energy you are using in real-time, smart meters automatically send monthly readings to your supplier – ensuring you only pay for exactly what you use. Find out more about smart meters here and contact your supplier to see if you are eligible to have one installed in your property.