HARD-UP Brits can get grants worth up to £1,500 to help pay off their energy debts.
Gas and electricity bills are set to rise even further next month but help is available for struggling families.
In October, the government introduced a discount on bills – known as the energy price guarantee – which means the average household on a dual-fuel tariff won’t pay more than £2,500 a year.
This will rise to £3,000 a year in April when the guarantee is extended.
But regulator Ofgem still sets the price cap on what suppliers can charge and the next update takes effect on January 1, which means the discount on bills will change very slightly from this date.
It means that millions could see an unexpected rise in their bills.
The amount your bill will rise depends on where you live, how much energy you use and how you pay.
But plenty of energy providers offer grants to customers struggling to pay their way.
Some suppliers or charities will offer to write off your energy debt while others could give you a cash boost.
Households can get up to £1,500 in grants from the British Gas Energy Trust to help pay their bills.
The debt relief grant is available to both British Gas customers and customers of other energy firms.
Scottish Power will pay up to £750 in grants to help its customers pay off their energy debt.
E.ON, E.ON Next, Octopus Energy and Ovo Energy also offer grants worth hundreds.
We’ve listed all the energy grants currently available and how to apply.
British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
You do not need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this fund – you can be a British Gas customer or a customer from another supplier.
You could get a grant worth up to £1,500.
To be considered for a grant you must meet all the following criteria:
- You live in England, Scotland or Wales
- You have not received a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust within the last two years
- You must be seeking a grant to clear an outstanding debt on a current or open gas, electricity or dual fuel energy account in your name or be a member of that household. The energy account must relate to your main residence
- You have electric and/or gas debt
- You do not have savings above £1,000
- You have received help from a money advice agency
To support your application you’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve received money advice in the last three months. You’ll also need proof of your current household income.
British Gas customers will also need a recent meter reading – unless they’re on a smart meter.
You can apply for the fund on the British Gas Energy Trust website.
British Gas Energy Support Fund
The fund is open to British Gas customers with an energy debt of £250 to £1500.
The debt must apply to your primary residence and must be an active energy account.
- Live in England, Scotland or Wales
- Have not received a grant from British Gas Energy Trust in the last 12 months
- Can have a credit or prepayment meter with a previous outstanding account debt
Please note: Proof of income will be required at the point of application (you will be asked to have this to hand before you apply), this will be considered alongside household outgoings to determine if you are in or at risk of fuel poverty.
You can apply for the fund on the British Gas Energy Trust website.
EDF Customer Support Fund
To get a cash grant from EDF you’ll first have to register for its priority services.
Once you’ve done this and the firm has assessed your circumstances you’ll be able to apply for an energy grant.
You’ll need to have your EDF account number and current energy debt balances ready, along with details of your household finances and vulnerability.
You can apply for the fund on the EDF website.
E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
Customers of both E.ON and E.ON next can apply for cash grants to help with their energy costs.
E.ON doesn’t have established eligibility criteria but the Fund aims to help as many people as possible and applications from individuals with the greatest needs will be prioritised.
In order to complete your application you will need to know your energy account number and provide a recent meter reading.
Depending on your circumstances you’ll be asked to provide the following items of evidence:
- Proof of all household income for yourself and anyone living with you for the current tax year.
- All pages from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stating your entitlement to a benefit and the amounts due to be paid for the current tax year
- Pension letters for State or private pensions.
- Medical confirmation from the organisation that referred to you the fund or a medical DS1500 form or medical confirmation from a consultant or your doctor.
- Evidence of a budget sheet that was issued to you when you received professional money advice from the FCA-approved agency. The budget sheet must be dated within the last 4 weeks and be on company-headed paper.
You can apply for the fund on the E.ON website.
Octopus Energy Assist Fund
Octopus Energy offers a number of support options based on circumstances and needs, including access to existing schemes, monetary support from the firms’ fund, or a loan of a thermal imagery camera to find heat leaks at home.
Octopus is encouraging all customers to get in contact if they’re struggling with their bills.
You can find out how to apply for the fund on the Octopus Energy website.
Ovo Energy customers who are struggling as a result of rising energy prices can access a £50million customer support package.
The package includes a debt repayment holiday for prepayment meter customers and free energy saving products for customers’ homes.
Direct debit customers have access to an online payment support tool, which can be accessed on the Ovo website.
It can help customers to assess the right plan for them.
Ovo said the most vulnerable customers may be able to have their direct debits reduced by up to 15%.
Customers who pay on receipt of bills can create a bespoke payment plan, lasting for 36 months.
It says this has been increased from 24 months to help ease the bill burden this winter.
Ovo has increased its emergency credit from £5 to £15 for prepayment customers.
It is also making sure that if customers are switched to a prepayment plan, they will receive regular check-ins to make sure they can get through the winter.
Prepayment customers will also be offered a payment holiday from debt repayment.
Customers will also be offered energy-saving products for customers’ homes, such as smart thermostats and electric throws – prioritised for those most in need.
You may also be able to claim a free boiler service worth £90, to ensure they are working efficiently this winter.
Customers can also get two free electric blankets per household and a free smart thermostat.
You can apply for the support online or via the app.
Customers will need to fill out a form answering questions about their income and medical needs.
You will need to provide details like your name, account number, address, date of birth.
You’ll also need to state your annual household income, your monthly disposable income, medical needs, how many people you live with and if you receive any benefits.
The support is available now until March 31, 2023.
Scottish Power Hardship Fund
Customers could get up to £750 in grants from Scottish Power to help with their energy bills.
You could qualify for help from the Scottish Power Hardship Fund if you’re receiving
- Income Support,
- Job Seekers Allowance,
- Pension Credit, or
- Employment and Support Allowance
If you think you’re eligible for the cash grant you can apply online and should get a response within five working days.
You can apply for the fund on the Scottish Power website.
What other help is available?
As part of the Autumn Statement, it was revealed millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.
Eight million households currently get cost of living payments worth up to £650, but eligibility criteria could change under any new rules.
Right now, eligibility is the list of benefits mentioned above.
Pensioners have also started getting a £300 one-off payment.
The current pensioner cost of living payment is being handed out to millions on a low income.
You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the winter fuel payment, but this could change under the new rules.
The £300 cost of living payment is paid on top of the other winter support.
You’ll need to be:
- born on or before 25 September 1956
- have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the “qualifying week”
Struggling families are eligible for the Warm House Discount to help them tackle the cost of living.
The scheme is where eligible households can get £150 off their electricity bill each winter – but you’ll have to wait until the colder months to get the money off.
Households in England and Wales don’t need to apply to get the cash and they’ll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.
You can read more about who’s eligible here.
You could also get in touch with your local council to see if they are still running the Household Support Fund.
Charities and other organisations often offer grants and you might be able to spend that money on energy costs.
You can search for these grants on the Turn2Us website.
There’s also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you’re on a prepayment metre.