Money on Electricity and Gas Bills
could reduce your fuel bills by changing your payment method.
Some methods offer a discount, by efficient use of gas and
electricity or by insulating your home. Fuel suppliers usually
offer discounts to customers who pay their bills by direct
debit, standing order, a fixed payment budget scheme or
a flexible payment scheme. Find out the terms of payment
schemes your fuel supplier offers.
suppliers usually give you the option of not paying a standing
charge but paying a higher rate for the electricity used
instead. This might be cheaper for you, but its best to
work this out from your bills. If you are sixty or over,
or live with someone aged sixty or over, you could get a
Winter Fuel Payment to help with fuel costs over that period.
Certain benefits entitle you to get a Cold weather payment
when the weather reaches a certain temperature.
suppliers must have a code of practice on using gas and
electricity efficiently. Suppliers must provide this on
request and they will provide free information and advice
on: preventing heat loss from your home, choosing gas or
electricity heating systems, using gas or electricity systems
efficiently, providing a list of organisations which may
be able to give advice, training and other services and
finally sources of possible financial help for any work
which would improve the efficient use of gas or electricity.
can save on fuel bills by using the energy more efficiently,
and you can be warmer and healthier as a result. Discounts
and grants are available to help with fuel efficiency. Even
if you have to meet some of the costs yourself, the savings
on energy bills can quickly repay the initial cost.
Get the Best Deal on Fuel Prices
the UK you can usually reduce your fuel costs by changing
your fuel supplier. Companies operate dual fuel schemes
which can save you money if you buy both gas and electricity
from that supplier. You can find further information about
changing your supplier, from the website of the consumer
watchdog, Consumer Focus at: www.consumerfocus.org.uk.
Focus also lists a number of approved internet price comparison
services. These websites compare the different deals available
from gas and electricity suppliers to help you find out
if you could save money by switching. To compare the prices
being offered by these suppliers with the price from your
current supplier, you will need to find out how much you
are currently paying for your fuel every year. Work this
out by looking at your last four quarterly bills. Consumer
Focus can give you a list of the supply companies operating
in your area and the prices they charge. If you have problems
paying your energy bills contact your local Citizens Advice
Schemes and Grants
are many efficiency schemes and grants that are available
and these schemes vary across the United Kingdom and are
run many organisations. The main scheme Warm Front in England,
Warm Deal in Scotland, the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme
in Wales and the Warm Homes Scheme in Northern Ireland.
These schemes are funded by the government and provide energy
advice and grants to help with the cost of home insulation.
These schemes also help to improve energy efficiency for
certain groups of people including those on low incomes.
These cover owner-occupiers and people in rented accommodation.
In some cases, the maximum grant available does not cover
the full cost of the work and you have to pay something
towards the costs.
your local Energy Advice Saving centre for information on
energy savings schemes and grants. Find your local centre
on freefone 0800 512 012 or the Energy Savings Trust website
Many independent fuel companies and local authorities operate
schemes and grants and also provide energy advice. Grants
can be given for work connected to any energy saving measures
for providing gas or electric central heating. Grants can
also be given for low-energy light bulbs.
England - Heating Rebate Scheme
you don't qualify for Warm Front you may be able to get
a grant under the heating rebate scheme. You need to be
sixty or over, or live with a partner aged sixty. The maximum
grant under this scheme is £300. To qualify you must
have either no central heating system or one which is not
working. This rebate can be used for gas, electric or solid
fuel installations or repairs.
– The Warm Front Scheme
Front is run by a company called eaga. Eaga is known as
the scheme manager. You can apply to the Warm Front scheme
for a grant to carry out many energy saving plans. To qualify
for a Warm Front grant, you must meet certain conditions.
The maximum Warm Front grant is for £2,700, or £4,000
if oil-fired central heating is to be installed. Landlords
can be entitled to a Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance
of up to £1,500 a property if they carry out energy
saving improvements. Landlords aren't allowed to raise the
rent on properties which have benefited from a Warm Front
grant for a set period after the completion of the works.
If your landlord attempts to do this, you should get help
from an adviser.
Wales - Home Energy Efficiency Scheme
are eligible for a Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES)
grant in Wales if you are in a household with a child under
sixteen and getting Child Benefit, or have a maternity certificate,
and you are getting one or more certain benefits. An enhanced
grant, called Home Energy Efficiency Scheme Plus is also
available. Owner-occupiers over sixty years of age in Wales
may be able to get a grant of £500 to contribute towards
the cost of home energy efficiency work. This is called
a partial grant.
Scotland - Scottish Government Central Heating Programme
may be able to benefit from free central heating and home
insulation in Scotland under the Scottish Government Central
Heating Programme. This covers owner occupiers and tenants
of private landlords.
- The Warm Deal Grant
may be able to get the Warm Deal Grant in Scotland if you
are an owner or tenant in private sector housing and getting
some welfare benefits. You may also be able to get a Grant
if you are over sixty. The Grant is for fitting insulation
to help make your home more energy efficient. This maximum
grant is £500.
Northern Ireland - Warm Homes Grant
are also eligible to receive a new Warm Homes grant in Northern
Ireland under certain conditions. The maximum Warm Homes
grant is £850. There is an enhanced grant, called
Warm Homes Plus. The maximum amount for this particular
grant is currently £4,300. It is available to householders
aged sixty or over, who receive one or more benefits.
Getting Help With Winter Fuel Bills
Winter Fuel Payments
you are sixty or over you can get a Winter Fuel Payment
to help with your energy costs. This payment is a tax-free
payment paid every year over the winter months. It does
not matter how you use the money, and the payment does not
depend on how cold the weather gets. There are other payments
that are only paid when the weather reaches a certain temperature,
called cold weather payments. These are made to people on
income related benefits during cold weather.
Winter Fuel Payment – How Much?
Fuel Payment is usually announced in the summer before the
qualifying week in September. For the winter of 2007/08
the Winter Fuel Payment was £200 per household (£300
where you or your partner were aged 80 or over). For the
winter of 2008/09, the Winter Fuel Payment is £250
per household (£400 where you or your partner are
aged 80 or over). If you live in a care home, you get a
reduced rate of Winter Fuel Payment. In 2007/08, this was
£100, or £150 if you were 80 or over. In 2008/09,
this is £125 or £200 if you are 80 or over.
But if you live in a care home and get Pension Credit or
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will not get
a Winter Fuel Payment at all. People who are entitled to
a Winter Fuel Payment do not need to make a claim. You will
automatically get a payment if you get Retirement Pension,
Pension Credit, or one of a number of other benefits in
the qualifying week.
Gets a Winter Fuel Payment?
you are over sixty or over you can get a Winter Fuel Payment
for the winter concerned. The qualifying week begins on
the third Monday of September. You must live in the United
Kingdom to get a Winter Fuel Payment and there must be no
immigration conditions on your stay here. Some people cannot
get a payment even if they are over sixty. If you are in
hospital, during the qualifying week (and have been there
for over a year), and some people living in a care home
Cold Weather Payments
who are on a low income may be able to get a cold weather
payment to help with their fuel costs during periods of
cold weather. But it does not matter what you spend the
money on, and cold weather payments do not have to be repaid.
These payments are made when the weather station linked
to your area forecasts or records an average daily temperature
of 0 degrees centigrade or less for seven days in a row.
Getting Help With Fuel Arrears
England, Scotland and Wales, if you're in arrears with your
gas or electricity, you may be able to get help from your
supplier. Some suppliers have set up independent trusts
which give grants to some of their customers to help them
pay for fuel arrears. You may also be able to get grants
to pay for other household bills.
Who Can Help?
The Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust can assess your needs and offer advice
on all aspects of energy efficiency. They can also offer
advice on grants or schemes available in your area. Contact
your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.
England, Wales and Scotland, Consumer Focus is the consumer
watchdog responsible for protecting the interests of gas
and electricity consumers. Consumer Focus has information
about: changing your fuel supplier, which supply companies
operate in your area and the prices they charge, price comparison
services, how to use less energy and cut your fuel bills.
Go to: www.consumerfocus.org.uk.
Advice Guide can give help and advice about changing your energy
supplier. They are a telephone and online consumer
advice service, supported by the Office of Fair Trading
and local authority Trading Standards services. It is available
in England, Scotland and Wales. Website: www.adviceguide.org.uk.
Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
Consumer Council for Northern Ireland can give you advice
and information about changing your fuel supplier. You can
visit their website at: www.consumercouncil.org.uk.
Home Heat Helpline
Home Heat Helpline offer advice on fuel debts and energy
efficiency to customers who are having difficulty heating
their homes or paying their bills. The helpline can give
you help and advice on identifying energy efficiency grants,
arranging alternative payment methods, carrying out benefits
checks and getting specialist advice. You can contact the
Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99.
UK produce a number of useful fact sheets and can offer
telephone advice for older people. Visit: www.ageuk.org.uk.
Electricity and Gas Suppliers
of gas and electricity have to provide information on energy
saving measures as a condition of trading. For further information,
contact your fuel supplier and ask them about the energy
advice offered. You can find details of electricity and
gas suppliers on the Consumer Focus website at: www.consumerfocus.org.uk.
people may be able to get a disabled facilities grant to
improve their heating system. They may also be able to get
a grant or some other form of assistance from your local
authority to help with home insulation.