10 Organisations to Help You with Energy Bills
Millions of UK households are facing soaring energy bills as the price cap goes up on October 1, 2022.
The price cap hike will take the average bill to £1,971 a year.
This means households have to find an extra £693 per year for their bills amid the increasing cost of living crisis.
While the price cap is at £2,500, households could still pay more if they use more energy.
The price hike means that some families will be left struggling financially and in August 2022, finance expert Martin Lewis warned that without extra support, some people will face health problems because they could not afford to heat their homes.
He said: “I am begging and praying and pleading that there is more government help this winter so that people do not die.”
If you cannot afford to pay your energy bills, there is help available.
A number of organisations have set up schemes to ease the burden.
Here are 10 organisations to help with energy bills.
Citizens Advice provides advice on what to do if you are struggling to pay your energy bills.
The organisation lists ways to help such as paying bills through your benefits and applying for the Fuel Direct Scheme.
According to Citizens Advice, you should first contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.
Your supplier has to help you come to a solution, so try to negotiate a deal that works for both parties.
If you don’t try to negotiate with your supplier, they might threaten to disconnect you. Check what to do if you’ve been told your energy supply will be disconnected.
If you’ve missed payments because of coronavirus, you should explain this to your supplier. They might agree not to disconnect you. For example, tell them if your income has been affected by long-term symptoms.
If your supplier doesn’t disconnect you, you should still arrange to pay what you owe them. This protects you from being disconnected in the future.
Turn2us is a national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially.
If you are struggling with energy and water bills, you can get help from a charitable fund, depending on your background, circumstances and needs.
The help they give varies but might include:
- Help with the cost of energy or water bills
- Assistance to buy white goods such as fridges, cookers, washing machines
- Specific winter grants.
- Use our Grants Search to find charitable funds that may be able to help you.
To find an advisor to discuss individual situations, you can use Turn2us Find an Advisor.
National Energy Action (NEA) is a fuel poverty charity that is dedicated to helping people afford to live in a warm and safe home
Working across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, NEA aims to improve the lives of people in fuel poverty.
NEA directly supports people with energy and income maximisation advice and they advocate on issues including improving the energy efficiency of our homes.
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, the first thing to do is contact your energy supplier.
The charity also advises people to sign up to the Priority Services Register.
It is a system that energy companies use to make sure the correct support is given to their most vulnerable customers.
You can sign up to it to receive extra help from your energy supplier as well as from the company that operates the local energy distribution network.
You’re eligible to receive the services available if you’re a pensioner, are disabled or suffer from a long-term medical condition. You also qualify if you have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs.
Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation that works to address the climate emergency.
It is a respected and trusted voice on energy efficiency and clean energy solutions, working towards a smart, decarbonised and decentralised energy system.
The organisation provides advice on ways to reduce your energy bill.
This includes its quick and easy #EnergySavingHacks and installing insulation to help reduce heat loss.
Energy Saving Trust also provides ways of financial support to help keep you warm for less.
Fuel Bank Foundation
This charity was set up in 2015 to help families with their energy bill issues, offering free vouchers to pay these bills.
You can obtain these vouchers at foodbanks, meaning you can only get emergency help if you are also struggling with food costs.
Families can get £49 worth of fuel vouchers in the winter months and £30 from April 1 to October 31.
To apply for the vouchers, you need to contact Citizens Advice, a social worker or a GP to refer you to a foodbank.
You can then go to the foodbank and ask for an application for fuel vouchers.
If your claim is accepted, you will be given the fuel vouchers.
Charis manages energy funds and grants on behalf of a number of big energy companies.
Charis’ Let’s Talk Energy Fund means you can get help paying your bills as well as replacing expensive appliances like boilers.
You have to fill in an application and whether it is successful depends on various factors, including your personal financial situation.
If you are on benefits, you need to provide letters to prove this. You will also need to share information on household income and any debts you might have.
The amount you can get will also vary.
Cancer charity Macmillan has launched a new £3.5 million fund to help people struggling with their bills and this includes energy costs.
It has committed the extra cash to its Financial Grants scheme, which has already handed out £1.6 million since the start of 2022.
The grants are to support those living with cancer and who are struggling to cover essential living costs.
It is worth up to £350 and is a one-off payment that is means-tested.
To be eligible, you need to hit the following criteria:
- You have no more than £6,000 in savings for a household of one person or no more than £8,000 for a household of two or more people
- You have a weekly income of no more than £323 per week for a household of one person or no more than £442 per week for a household of two or more people.
To apply, call 0808 808 00 00 or you can speak to one of your healthcare team, like a district nurse or Macmillan nurse, care professional or benefits adviser who can fill in the form with you online.
Shelter England is dedicated to helping the housing emergency.
According to the organisation, you can get a grant from your energy supplier’s hardship fund or energy trust if you are struggling with bills or already in debt.
Shelter England provides information on the £400 energy bill discount, £150 council tax rebate and £650 cost of living payment among others.
It also provides information on how to spot scammers.
Scammers might pretend to be your energy supplier, the council, DWP or Ofgem.
They might offer you a discount, refund or payment if you give your details.
Do not give personal information or bank details over the phone or internet.
Scope is the disability equality charity in England and Wales.
It is also providing advice and support when it comes to energy bills.
If you are in debt, energy suppliers ask you to repay the debt within 12 months. This can extend this to two years if you are disabled or have a long-term health condition.
For free advice, call debt charity StepChange on 0800 138 1111.
Your energy supplier can also support you if you’re in debt. This can include advice or a financial payment. Check with your supplier as schemes vary.
Rising energy bills means some of those affected have been left struggling with their mental health.
Thankfully, Scope provides support with this, offering a number of things to try.
Ofgem is Great Britain’s independent energy regulator and works to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly and benefit from a cleaner, greener environment.
Ofgem provides ways to save energy and reduce your bills.
One way is through government schemes which aim to help vulnerable people.
Check if you qualify for the government’s:
- Winter Fuel Payment – a fuel payment for people born on or before 25 September 1956.
- Winter fuel support scheme – an annual payment for Welsh households in receipt of certain benefits.
- Cold Weather Payment – a payment for every 7 days of very cold weather between November and March.
- Warm Home Discount – a discount for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income households.
- Household Support Fund – a funding package to help vulnerable households. Contact your local council for advice and help on accessing the fund.
- Child Winter Heating Assistance – an annual payment per disabled child and young person under 19 living in Scotland.
Amid the cost of living crisis, some people are taking advantage of struggling households.
Ofgem also provides tips on how to spot and avoid falling victim to scams.
Struggling to pay energy bills is extremely difficult but there are ways to make things easier.
These organisations provide ways to help, offering advice and support to those who need it.
For any of the schemes available, make sure to carefully read the information provided to ensure that you are eligible.