Full list of energy bill support finishing within days – what help you can get
A NUMBER of schemes designed to aid households with their energy bills are ending in days – we explain what other help you can get.
In last week’s Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the energy price guarantee will be extended to July.
It means the average households’ bills will sit at £2,500 a year until then, when they are predicted to go down.
It’s good news for those struggling to make ends meet, but there are a number of schemes designed to help with energy bills that are closing this month.
It means millions of households will get less help with the cost of gas and electricity. But what help is ending exactly, and what other help extends beyond March?
Energy rebate £66-67
The monthly £66-67 energy rebate that has been paid since last October is finishing this month.
That means despite the government freezing the energy price guarantee for a further three months, millions of households will see their bills go up.
The rebate has been paid to households differently depending on how they pay for their energy.
Those on direct debits, for example, have had a straight discount on their bills each month.
Prepayment meter customers, often the poorest, have had to redeem vouchers at their nearest top up points.
Cold Weather payments
Cold weather payments are made to households when temperatures drop, or are forecast to drop, below zero degrees over seven continuous days.
But the payments are only usually made to those on certain benefits, including:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
There’s extra criteria you have to hit beyond just receiving the above benefits though.
For example, you can get Cold Weather payments if you receive Income Support and a disability or pensioner premium, or you have a child who is disabled living at home with you.
Cold Weather payments are made to eligible households between November 1 and March 31.
That means you have just days left to receive a payment through the scheme.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a £150 one-off payment applied as a discount on your energy bills.
That means you aren’t paid the money, but rather it’s a deduction on your bills.
The discount is available to households in England, Wales and Scotland, although the criteria you have to meet in Scotland is different.
In England and Wales, you qualify if you get either the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or you are on a low income and have high energy costs.
In Scotland, you have to be on the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or you are on a low income and meet your supplier’s specific criteria.
On the government’s website, there’s a list of suppliers who are part of the scheme.
If you have applied for this year’s discount and were eligible, you should receive it no later than March 31.
Winter Fuel payment
The Winter Fuel payment is worth more this year compared to previous.
This is because the government is topping it up with extra £150 to £300 cost of living payments.
You can get the payment if you were born before September 26, 1956.
Most people who are eligible should have received the payment automatically in November or December last year.
But there are some who have to apply, and the deadline is March 31.
You do not need to claim if you get any of the following:
- State Pension
- Pension Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Carers Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Income Support
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- awards from the War Pensions Scheme
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Industrial Death Benefit
But if you don’t receive any of the above, you need to claim if you’ve not had the Winter Fuel payment before or you’ve deferred your State Pension since your last Winter Fuel payment.
You might need to make a claim if you live abroad and claim some of the above benefits too.
You should check out the government’s website for more information on applying if you live outside the UK.
What help can I get from April?
If you are worried about all the help that’s coming to an end in March, there is extra help on offer.
Household Support Fund – £300
The Household Support Fund was set to finish on March 31, but has since been extended until March 31, 2024.
The fund sees local councils across England allotted a maximum amount of money they can share between residents in their area.
Each local council can decide its own eligibility criteria, but usually help is handed out to those on a low income or benefits.
If you want to know what help you might be able to get, you should contact your local council.
If you don’t know what council area you fall under, you can use the government’s council locator online.
In the latest tranche of Household Support Fund, residents in York are being paid £300 in vouchers.
Energy supplier grants – £1,500
A number of energy providers offer customers grants if they are struggling to meet their bill commitments.
But the amount you can get depends on who you are with.
British Gas, E.ON, Octopus and Ovo all offer customers grants worth hundreds of pounds.
British Gas Energy Trust pays hard-up households up to £1,500 – and you don’t even have to be a customer.
This is the list of suppliers currently running schemes:
- British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
- British Gas Energy Trust
- EDF Customer Support Fund
- E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
- Octopus Energy Assist Fund
- OVO Energy
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
If you don’t know who your supplier is, Ofgem has a supplier search tool on its website.
Emergency credit – £10
Customers on traditional or smart prepayment meters can usually get what’s known as “emergency credit” if they have no money left on their meter.
But the credit has to be paid back eventually.
A number of providers offer an emergency credit option, including Scottish Power, Octopus Energy and British Gas.
But the amounts they offer differ, so you should contact yours to find out what you can get.
Fuel vouchers – £50
Again, customers on a prepayment meter can get one-off vouchers to top up.
The help comes via the Fuel Bank Foundation charity and is offered through local organisations such as food banks and Citizens Advice.
The best thing to do is contact your local council and see if you might be able to get a voucher.
Failing this, you can try your energy provider, who might be able to step in and help.