Cost of Living

Help with high energy bills

Contact your supplier. Act early. Don’t let the debts mount.

If you are struggling to pay for energy or think you may get into difficulty, contact your supplier. Ofgem (opens in new window) rules means that suppliers must offer affordable payment plans to people in financial difficulty.

There is a free support service for people in a vulnerable situation, for example people who need heat for medical reasons. Ask a supplier to register for Priority Service (opens in new window).

Customers using a prepay meter but who cannot afford to top it up can also ask for ‘emergency credit’.

As part of an agreed payment plan, customers can ask for:

  • a review of their payments and debt repayments
  • payment breaks or reductions
  • more time to pay
  • access to hardship funds
  • advice on how to use less energy.

Talk to your supplier about grants and schemes they run too. Many energy companies offer schemes or grants to help make your home more energy-efficient or by offering free boiler checks and help with upgrades. You do not have to be a customer to join some of these schemes. 

If you can’t agree on a way to pay, get help from Citizens Advice. If you are in a vulnerable situation, its Extra Help Unit (opens in new window) could take on your case. Call them on 0808 223 1133 or use their online webchat. For textphone, dial 18001 followed by the helpline number.

Energy Saving Trust (opens in new window) and Citizens Advice (opens in new window)  also have helpful advice for ways to save energy, reduce consumption and lower your energy bills available on their websites. You can also call Simple Energy Advice on 0800 444 202.

As well as the usual welfare benefits for people on low incomes or those without work or unable to work, the Government has an Energy Bills Support Scheme to help people deal with rising bills. Find out more on the GOV.UK Cost of Living webpage (opens in new window). Most of these payments will happen automatically and there is no need to apply for them.

They include:

  • The £150 Disabled Cost of Living payment, which is due to be paid out from 22 September 2022. The one-off grant will be paid automatically to people receiving certain disability benefits.
  • All households will qualify for £400 of government assistance. This will be automatically deducted from fuel bills. The discount will be made in six instalments to help families throughout the winter period. People on pre-payment meters will be provided with Energy Bill discount vouchers from the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post, using the customer’s registered contact details. These customers will need to take action to redeem these at their usual top-up point, such as their nearest local PayPoint or Post Office branch.
  • An extra £150 for households living in in Council Tax bands A-D in England. These have mostly now been paid out but those who have received their payment via a Post Office voucher should cash it in soon as there is a deadline of 9 September. Anyone who has not cashed their Post Office Payout voucher by 9 September will have their rebate credited to their Council Tax account before the scheme closes completely on 30 September 2022. There is also a discretionary fund to offer extra help to people or to people not who do not automatically qualify. Those who we have identified as eligible will receive their payment by Post Office Payout voucher. There is no need to apply for this.

You might also qualify for the:

  • Severn Trent's Big Difference scheme (opens in new window) - if you are having difficulties with your water payments, Severn Trent’s Big Difference scheme is available for those on a low income.
  • Winter Fuel Payment (opens in new window) – for people born on or before 25 September 1956. If you’re entitled to a this payment for winter 2022 to 2023, you will get an extra £300 for your household paid with your normal payment from November 2022. This is in addition to any Cost of Living Payment you get with your benefit or tax credits.
  • GOV.UK Cold Weather Payment (opens in new window) – a £25 payment for every 7 days of very cold weather (below freezing) between November and March.
  • GOV.UK Warm Home Discount (opens in new window) – a £150 discount on fuel bills for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income households.
  • The Government’s Fuel Direct Scheme (opens in new window) can also help you repay a debt from benefit payments. Contact Jobcentre Plus (or your pension centre if you’re on Pension Credit) to apply.
  • People using pre-payment meters may also qualify for a fuel voucher. The council actively works with its partner the Fuel Bank Foundation to offer this support to residents most in danger of being disconnected. The vouchers are either available in winter for £49 or a summer voucher of £30. Find out more on our food support webpage.