Heating and hot water are essential items to keep your family safe and healthy.
Government help with bills
The government has set out a package of support to help with the increases in household fuel bills, most of which will be applied automatically. Details setting out the support will receive if you are eligible are available on the Government website.
Talk to your gas and/or electricity supplier
The following energy suppliers offer support, advice and/or grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Support Fund
- Scottish Power
- Ovo Energy
- Octopus ‘Octo Assist Fund’
- Shell Energy Support
- E.ON Energy Fund
- E.ON Next Energy Fund
- EDF Energy Customer Support
Grants from Energy Suppliers
Some energy suppliers run grant schemes to support customers having difficulty in paying a bill. You will find that most require that you have received debt advice before applying, in order to ensure that once the bill has been paid you have a sustainable budget to work to.
If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, you might be able to get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone, you do not have to be a British Gas customer. Again there is a requirement to get debt advice before applying.
Priority Services Register
If you are a Parent Carer it is quite likely that your household will meet the criteria to register with your energy company as a ‘priority customer’. This means that they offer you extra support which you may find helpful. You should register if you rely on electricity to run medical equipment or you need to keep your home warm due to your child’s medial condition.
Ofgem has some useful information on who qualifies for additional support and what this support may offer.
If you can not afford to top up your prepayment meter or you are unable to get out to top it up, your energy company will give you emergency credit, usually around £10, which you should get automatically. If you do not get this when you need it, you can ask your energy company. If you are vulnerable your energy company may agree to extend this emergency help on request. However, this needs to be paid back, and you will need to agree with your energy provider how you will do this.
If you can not afford to top up your prepayment meter you may be eligible for a Fuel Voucher to help you over the crisis.
If you are in demonstrable hardship you may be able to get a grant to help you to pay a large energy bill or to pay off an energy debt. Grants do not have to be paid back. However, these grants are all discretionary, and most grant providers will want to see that you are taking steps to avoid a recurrence of the crisis by reviewing your budget, correctly prioritising any debts and taking any steps that you can to reduce energy use.
Wimbledon Guild provide grants for eligible people in Merton to help with large fuel bills that they can not afford to pay. A Care Needs Assessor from Carers Support Merton can help you complete a grant application for Wimbledon Guild.
Search for grants
There are two main grant portals which allow you to search for suitable grants, and may include further sources of support towards paying fuel bills or debts.
Turn 2 us is a charity-run website with an easy-to-use grant search which tells you how to contact any suitable charities directly. You can register for a free account to send online enquiries and applications to charities through the site.
Lightening Reach can also let you know what grants (and other financial support) you might be eligible for, and help you to apply.
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you should seek advice as soon as possible.