With gas prices rising, many people are worried about energy bills this winter.
Advice is available and it’s worth checking to see if you qualify for a discount.
Heating your home to at least 18°C (65°F) is important for your health and immune system. This is especially true if you are 65 or over, have reduced mobility, or have an existing health condition such as heart or lung disease.
If you’re eligible for benefits and are struggling to pay for food, fuel and other essential costs, you may be able to get extra help through the Local Discretionary Social Fund.
Help for Households
The government’s Help for Households website has information on a wide range of information from energy bills to finding work. You can also visit Ofgem’s website for the latest energy advice, support and information.
Energy Price Guarantee
The Energy Price Guarantee reduces the cost of electricity and gas for 6 months from 1 October 2022. This is so that a typical household will pay around £2,500 a year on their energy bill. The Energy Price Guarantee limits the amount you can be charged per unit of gas or electricity. Your bill will still depend on how much energy you use and may be more than £2,500 a year.
You do not need to apply for the Energy Price Guarantee and there’s no need to contact your energy supplier.
The discount is automatic. If you get a message telling you that you need to apply, or asking for your bank or credit card details, this could be a scam. You can report messages you think are suspicious.
Warm Home Discount
You can get £150 off your electricity bill in winter with the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill.
The Warm Home Discount scheme for winter 2022 to 2023 is now closed. The scheme will reopen again in October 2023.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity and you’re eligible. Contact your supplier to find out.
To find out more about the Warm Home Discount, visit the gov.uk website or call 0800 731 0214.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
The amount you’ll get includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’. This is between £150 and £300. You’ll only get this extra amount in winter 2022 to 2023. This is in addition to any Cost of Living Payment you get with your benefit or tax credits.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and either:
- get the State Pension
- get another social security benefit (not including Adult Disability Payment from the Scottish Government, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
If you do not get either of these, or if you live abroad, you may need to make a claim for a Winter Fuel Payment. The deadline for you to make a claim for winter 2022 to 2023 is 31 March 2023.
To find out more, visit the gov.uk website or call 0800 731 0160.
Cold Weather Payments
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment from November 2022.
You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically. Visit the gov.uk website to find out if you qualify.
(Cold Weather Payments are different to Winter Fuel Payments)
Advice and information – Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP)
LEAP is a free service that is helping people keep warm and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money.
LEAP works in partnership with the council and has helped lots of people in Brighton & Hove reduce their energy bills. Advisors can:
- give practical advice on heating systems and saving energy
- fit free energy saving kit in your home (such as lightbulbs and draught-proofing)
- check if you are eligible for insulation or a new boiler
- arrange a free, confidential money advice telephone call to help with benefits, debt and other money problems.
To book a free energy advice phone call or home visit:
You can find more information on support available with energy bills on gov.uk.