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Help with energy bills: available grants and schemes 2022

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, there are ways to get the financial help you need.

Here’s our guide to the grants and schemes offered by the government and UK energy suppliers, to help with energy bills.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, there are ways to get the financial help you need.

Here’s our guide to the grants and schemes offered by the government and UK energy suppliers, to help with energy bills.

Sofia Hutson
Energy expert
minute read
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Posted 10 FEBRUARY 2020 Last Updated 8 JUNE 2022

Rebates for households to help with rising energy prices 

Rocketing energy prices have hit British households hard. With a massive 54% increase in the energy price cap and no cheaper deals to switch to,  it’s not just vulnerable customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills.

To protect households from the current cost of living crisis, the government has announced a £15 billion support package to help with energy bills. This includes:

A £400 energy bill grant

This coming autumn, all domestic electricity customers in Great Britain will receive an automatic £400 grant to help with their energy bills. The grant will not need to be repaid.

A £150 council tax rebate

From April this year, households in England that are in council tax bands A-D started receiving a one-off £150 rebate directly from their local authorities. The rebate, available to 80% of households in England, doesn’t have to be repaid.

Although the £150 rebate only applies to England, there's around a collective £565 million of extra funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide similar support for households in those respective countries.

Find out more about the Council Tax Rebate

A £650 one-off payment for lowest income households

More than 8 million households on means-tested benefits will receive an extra £650 in 2022 from the government, paid in two instalments in July and autumn. To qualify for this, you must be receiving at least one of the following:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit

A £144 million discretionary fund

Local authorities will receive £144 million of discretionary funding to support low-income households who need help with their energy bills but aren’t eligible for the £150 rebate – for example, households in a higher council tax band or those exempt from council tax.

Grants and schemes to help those in fuel poverty 

Government figures reveal that around 3.16 million households in England are in fuel poverty. As daily living costs continue to rise, this number is sure to increase, with many families finding themselves struggling to pay for the basics.

Fuel poverty is defined as households whose disposable income, after meeting the costs of their energy bills, would leave them below the poverty line. According to UK energy regulator Ofgem, many of these households are considered vulnerable consumers – including those who are elderly, disabled, chronically sick or low-income families on benefits with young children.

The following grants and schemes are available for those in fuel poverty to help with energy bills:

Winter Fuel Payment 

The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free annual payment to help the elderly with their heating costs. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 (this date changes every year as more people reach pensioner age), you could receive £100-£300 towards your winter fuel bills. Pensioners will receive an extra £300 one-off payment on top of the Winter Fuel Payment in 2022.

This will be paid on top of any other one-off support a pensioner household is entitled to, for example where they are on pension credit or receive disability benefits. Eligible households currently receive between £200-£300, so the payment will represent at least double the support for this winter. 

Cold Weather Payments 

These are payments to help cover heating costs during a very cold snap. Those who are eligible will get £25 for each consecutive seven-day period that the temperature drops below zero degrees. 

Warm Home Discount Scheme 

The Warm Home Discount is a one-off discount on your winter electricity bill between October and March. The government intends to expand eligibility for the scheme this year and increase the rebate from £140 to £150 for more than 3 million vulnerable households. If you’re eligible, the rebate will be directly credited to your electricity account by your energy supplier. 

ECO Scheme 

The Energy Companies’ Obligation (ECO) is a government-backed scheme run by energy suppliers, with the aim of tackling fuel poverty and helping the most vulnerable.

The latest ECO scheme, ECO4, began on 1 April 2022 and will run for four years until 31 March 2026.

One part of the scheme is the Affordable Warmth Obligation. Eligible consumers on certain benefits can receive free installations, or subsidised costs, for: 

  • Replacing or repairing their boiler
  • Cavity-wall and loft insulation
  • Draught-proofing
  • Other upgrades to their heating.

Charitable trusts and energy grants 

The following energy suppliers offer grants and schemes, ranging from white goods costs, to helping fuel poverty customers clear their energy debts: 

British Gas Energy Trust – 0121 348 7797
Provides grants towards domestic gas and electricity debts, owed to British Gas and other suppliers. It also provides a number of organisations across the country with free impartial and independent fuel debt and money advice services. This year’s Individuals and Families fund for energy grant applications is now closed. The British Gas Energy Support Fund is still open for British Gas customers only.

In response to the ongoing energy and cost of living crisis, British Gas has also set up a new Energy Support Fund to help financially vulnerable customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Eligible customers with a fuel debt between £250 and £1,000 will be able to apply for a grant of up to £750 through the fund over the coming months.

Please note: the British Gas Energy Support Fund is only open to British Gas customers.

Scottish Power Hardship Fund – 0808 800 0128
Helps vulnerable customers clear or reduce their energy arrears, by crediting their ScottishPower energy account. But you will have to apply to the fund and prove hardship.

OVO Energy Fund – 0800 0699 831
Can provide a one-off payment to vulnerable customers who are in at least £150 in debt, earn less than £16,190 per year and are unable to pay for their energy.

E.ON Next Energy Fund – 0345 052 000
Offers grants to help vulnerable E.ON customers pay their energy bill arrears, as well as offering support towards replacement white goods. There are also e-learning vouchers to help customers stay out of debt and earn a qualification that could lead to job opportunities.

What other help is available? 

Those in vulnerable situations can get extra help and support from their supplier and network operator by signing up to the Priority Services Register.

By registering, you may be eligible for a range of free services including: 

  • Advance notice and priority support in the event of a power cut.
  • Identification scheme to reassure you that callers acting on behalf of the company, such as meter readers, are genuine.
  • Meter-reading services.
  • Accessible information in large print or braille format.

Frequently asked questions

How is a household classed as being in fuel poverty?

The government classes a household as being in fuel poverty if: 

  • The household’s energy efficiency rating is B and D or below; and
  • Its disposable income after housing and fuel costs (for example, after paying the rent and energy bills) falls below the official poverty line.

In its latest research briefing on fuel poverty across the UK, the government estimated that 13% of households in England, 25% in Scotland, 12% in Wales and 18% in Northern Ireland are classed as being in fuel poverty. However, UK charity National Energy Action predicts that rising energy prices could lead to an increase of fuel-poor households in England of more than 50%.

What are the main causes of fuel poverty?

There are three main factors that determine if a household is in fuel poverty: 

  1. Its income.
  2. Its fuel costs – how much it spends to ‘reasonably’ heat the home, in relation to energy prices and the energy price cap
  3. Energy consumption – which is affected by how energy-efficient a home is. 

Government and energy supplier grants and schemes aim to help the most vulnerable to heat their homes enough to stay warm and healthy. But industry regulator Ofgem has highlighted the growing number of customers facing financial difficulties and may need support with their energy bills.

What can I do if I’m struggling to pay my energy bills?

If you’re not eligible for a grant or scheme, there are still things you can do if you can’t afford your energy bills.

In the first instance, call your energy supplier and let them know you’re struggling. They are duty-bound to treat you fairly and offer an affordable payment plan that will enable you to pay off your fuel debts in instalments.

If you’re in a lot of debt, they may want to install a prepayment meter to help you manage your energy costs and keep a better track of what you’re spending going forward.

If debts are a problem, you might also want to seek independent help from a debt charity such as StepChange or The National Debtline. And if you’re not happy with the support you’re getting from your energy supplier, you should contact your local Citizens Advice – they will be able to tell you what to do next.