You’ll have seen a lot about energy in the news recently, but help is available if you need it. Representing the whole energy industry, Energy UK is providing you with information and advice on what to do if you’re worried about your energy bills.
- The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS)
- Council Tax Rebate.
- The Household Support Fund.
- Warm Home Discount (WHD).
- Get independent advice.
There is a host of support in Great Britain aimed at helping you if you are worried about paying your energy bills, and/or if you find yourself in a vulnerable situation, whether that be from financial difficulties, mental or physical health issues, or other events.
If you’re worried about your energy bills, first and foremost, you should contact your energy supplier as soon as you can to discuss this. Suppliers are best placed to provide direct support and/or signpost their customers to appropriate support (e.g. debt advice).
This scheme will deliver a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households to help with rising energy bills, as part of the government’s cost-of-living assistance package for consumers over winter 2022 to 2023.
Energy suppliers will deliver this support to around 29 million households with a domestic electricity meter over 6 months from October. A discount of £66 will be applied to energy bills for the first two months, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.
You do not need to apply for this payment, therefore please be aware of scammers who claim otherwise and ask for your bank or personal details. Neither Ofgem nor others running this Scheme will ever ask for this information.
Payments will be delivered to customers in different ways depending on a few circumstances such as their meter type and how they pay their energy bills. Your supplier will be in touch with you on how and when you will receive the instalments, so it’s important that your supplier has the most up-to-date contact details. Note that payment will not reach all customers on 1 October.
- Direct Debit customers: EBSS grants will be provided either as a reduction to the monthly Direct Debit amount collected or as a refund to the customer’s bank account following Direct Debit collection during each month of EBSS delivery. Direct debit dates will remain unchanged.
- Standard credit customers (pay on receipt): EBSS grants will be applied as a credit to standard credit customers’ accounts in the first week of each month of EBSS delivery, with the credit appearing as it would if the customer had made a payment. The grant should be provided monthly regardless of whether the account is paid monthly, quarterly or has an associated payment card.
- Payment card customers: EBSS grants will be provided as a credit to payment card customers’ accounts in the first week of each month of EBSS delivery as if the customer had made a payment. This will be the same whether the account is paid monthly or quarterly.
- Smart prepayment meter customers: EBSS payments will be remotely applied as a credit to smart pre-payment meters in the first week of each month of EBSS delivery.
- Traditional prepayment meter customers: EBSS grants will be provided as vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) redeemable by traditional prepayment meter customers, from the first week of each month of EBSS delivery. Vouchers can be issued via SMS text, email, or post. It is important that suppliers have customers’ up-to-date details to redeem the vouchers.
In England households in Council Tax Bands A to D will receive a £150 non-repayable Council Tax rebate in April 2022.
All Scottish households in bands A to D will receive a £150 payment towards their council tax bill, as will those in other bands who already qualify for reduced rates (in all council tax bands in Scotland). The money will be given as credit towards people’s council tax bill in April 2022.
Similar arrangements will be made by the authorities in Wales and Northern Ireland. You can also contact your local council for extra support.
To find out whether people are eligible for the council tax rebate, they first need to know what council tax band they are in.
This fund will help households with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities and, in England, will continue to be distributed to local councils. People should contact their local authority to request access to the fund.
If you’re on state benefits, receive guarantee credit or have disability allowance you might be eligible for the Warm Home Discount; a one-off payment of £150 towards your energy bills. The money comes directly off your bill, rather than being paid into your bank account.
You can find more details of the support available to energy consumers.
Energy UK has worked with National Energy Action to produce a home energy checklist that provides advice on the help available to manage your energy bills and keep your home warm and safe this winter.
You can also get help and advice from Citizens Advice. Call 0808 223 1133 or use their online webchat. For textphone, dial 18001 followed by the helpline number. Someone at their Extra Help Unit could take on your case if you are in a vulnerable situation.
For disability-specific advice, you can contact the disability charity Scope on their free helpline at 0808 800 3333 (open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Saturday to Sunday 10am to 6pm).
Pensioners can also contact the charity Age UK for support on their free advice line 0808 800 3333 (open 8am-7pm 365 days a year).
If you are struggling with debt, you can also reach out to National Debtline for free debt advice over the phone on 0808 808 4000 or online using Webchat (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9:30 am to 1pm. This is the fastest way to speak to a specialist adviser). Alternatively, StepChange have an online debt advice tool available at any time on their website, or you can call their free helpline on 0800 138 1111 (Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm).