As energy prices across the UK continue to rise, many are left struggling to pay their monthly bills.
To help ease the financial burden of energy costs on households across the nation, the government has a range of grants and schemes available.
Read on to find out what grants and schemes you may be eligible for.
Types of government schemes and grants
The type of grant you could receive depends on a number of factors including your age, income and the type of house you live in.
It’s worth noting that you can apply for more than one grant and that any amount you get shouldn’t affect any benefits payments you might currently receive. Currently, the most common energy schemes are:
- £900 Cost of Living Payment
- Cold Weather Payment
- Winter Fuel Payment
- Warm Home Discount
- Affordable Warmth Obligation (ECO4 and ECO+)
- Financial Support from Energy Suppliers
- Non-financial support
£900 Cost of Living Payment
Individuals or households on means-tested benefits such as Pension Credit and Universal Credit may be eligible for a £900 payment to be paid out over three instalments of £301, £300, and £299.
To qualify for the three Cost of Living payments, you must be receiving one of the following benefits or tax credits during certain dates:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- ·Working Tax Credit
How do I apply?
If you are eligible you will receive the payment automatically.
The Cost of Living pay-out schedule is approximated by the Government as follows:
£301 – First Cost of Living Payment (between 25 April 2023 and 9 May 2023)
£300 – Second Cost of Living Payment (during Autumn 2023)
£299 – Third Cost of Living Payment (during Spring 2024)
Cold Weather Payment
Cold Weather Payments are designed to help you with your energy bills during particularly cold snaps.
A payment will be made to you if you live in an area in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland where the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. This is classed by the UK government as "very cold weather".
You will receive £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between November 2023 and March 2024.
You may be eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you receive:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
You may also receive Cold Weather Payments if you have:
- a severe or enhanced disability premium
- a pensioner premium
- a child who is disabled
- Child Tax Credit includes a disability or severe disability element
How do I apply?
The Cold Weather Payment scheme is currently closed, but will reopen again on 1 November 2023, in at which time you will be able to check eligibility.
I live in Scotland. Am I eligible for Cold Weather Payments?
Unfortunately, no. However, you might be eligible to receive an annual £50 Winter Heating Payment instead. This payment will be granted to you regardless of the weather conditions in your area.
Winter Fuel Payment
This payment could get you between £250 to £600 to help pay your heating bills in winter. Exactly how much you will get will be based on your age, whether you receive certain benefits and who you live with. If you live with someone else who qualifies, the payment you receive will be split between you.
To qualify for a winter fuel payment you will need to have:-
- been born on or before the 26th of September 1956
- Have lived in the UK for at least one day during 'qualifying week'. The 'qualifying week' changes every year, but for winter 2022/2023, the qualifying week is between the 19th and 25th of September 2022
Warm Home Discount
Under the Warm Home Discount you could get £150 off of your electricity bill in winter. The money will appear as a one-off discount on your electricity bill, sometime between October 2023 and March 2024.
- get the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit which qualifies you under the 'core group'.
- are on a low income and have high energy costs which will qualify you under the 'broader group'.
Your energy supplier must also be signed up to the scheme.
Which energy suppliers are part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme?
The following providers are part of the Warm Home Discount scheme:-
- British Gas
- Bulb Energy
- Octopus Energy
- Outfox the Market
- Rebel Energy (if you live in Scotland, you must be part of the 'core group' to be eligible with this supplier)
- Scottish Power
- Shell Energy
- So Energy
- Utility Warehouse
I have a prepayment meter. Am I still eligible for the Warm Home Discount?
If you use a prepayment meter, you can still qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme. If eligible, your energy supplier will organise for how the discount will be applied. For example, you may receive a voucher to top up your meter.
Financial support from energy suppliers
Aside from government support schemes, a number of energy suppliers offer financial help for those in need.
We offer a full breakdown on exactly what financial assistance from energy suppliers is available, as well as eligibility criteria, and how to apply.
What other support has previously been available?
Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS)
The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) provided households in England, Scotland, and Wales, with a £400 discount off on their energy bills from October 2022 to 31 March 2023.
This discount was applied over six months, with £66 paid in October and November 2022, and £67 paid in December, January, February and March respectively. The EBSS was a non-repayable discount, meaning it did not need to be repaid.
Affordable Warmth Obligation
The Affordable Warmth Obligation, designed to help low income households make their property more energy efficient, has now closed, and has been absorbed by the ECO4 scheme.
The Green Deal was a government-funded scheme that provided loans for energy-efficient home improvements, but closed in 2015. It has since been replaced by the ECO4 scheme.
The Priority Services Register (PSR), is a free service operated by energy suppliers and is designed to offer extra help to customers in vulnerable situations.
You will be eligible for the PSR if you:
- have reached state pension age
- are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
- are recovering from an injury
- have a hearing or sight condition
- have a mental health condition
- are pregnant or have young children
- have extra communication needs (such as if you don’t speak or read English well)
- need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply
- have poor or no sense of smell
- would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency.
Even if your situation isn't listed above, you may still be able to register.
How to register
To help make registering easily, an official website has now been launched. Simply enter your postcode and complete a short questionnaire to be added to the Priority Services Register.
Alternatively, you can phone your supplier and asked to be placed on the PSR.
Want to know what you're eligible for?
Use GOV.UK's energy grants calculator to help determine whether you're eligible for any of the above-listed government initiatives.
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