Help with energy bills: grants and benefits to help pay bill

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Household energy bills have skyrocketed in recent months due to a rise in wholesale gas prices

Household energy bills have skyrocketed in recent months due to a rise in wholesale gas prices. (Image: Shutterstock)

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What help can I get with the energy bill?

The first point of contact is your energy supplier.

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If you are concerned about the cost of your energy bill, contact your supplier as soon as possible to work out a payment plan.

Ofgem rules require suppliers to work with you on a payment plan that you can afford.

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Things to keep in mind that you can ask for include:

  • Payment or Debt Settlement Review
  • temporary suspension or reduction of payments
  • extra time to settle outstanding bills
  • Help and support in accessing hardship funds

It is important to remember in these uncertain times that the utility will not shut off your gas or electricity now during the Covid pandemic.

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Is there access to grants and benefits to help with energy bills?

Due to the dramatic increase in energy bills, many people are seeking help from the government.

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Reports of a 5% VAT cut on energy bills have been suppressed as industry and ministers scramble to find a way through the current crisis.

There are already government-funded programs on offer, including:

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  • Fuel payment in winter – One-off pot of between £100 and £300 for people born on or before 5 October 1954
  • Payment in cold weather – £25 for every 7 days of very cold weather between November and March
  • Discount for warm houses – £140 reduction for some people in low-income households or recipients of pension credits
  • Budget Support Fund – to help needy households, contact the municipal authorities

What should I do if I can’t make the utility bill payments?

If you are unable to agree a payment schedule with your energy supplier, Citizens Advice or Advice Direct Scotland are available.

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If you find yourself in a vulnerable situation there is also a free support service called the Priority Service Register which ensures energy suppliers can provide additional assistance if required.

Alternatively, people in England and Wales can call Simple Energy Advice on 0800 444 202 and people in Scotland on 808 808 2282 if you just want advice on what to do.

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