As we enter the middle of winter and energy prices continue to rise, the idea of growing bills can be daunting.
Big Energy Saving Week is taking place from 17 to 22 January, a month which can bring especially high energy bills. The week highlights ways to overcome difficulties in paying energy bills with a host of advice available from the Energy Saving Trust and Citizens Advice Bureau. The campaign focuses on reducing the amount of energy you use in order to lower your bills, and also highlights key sources of support.
Throughout the last two years financial pressure has been at an all-time high for many families, but as we enter the peak of winter and the nights get colder, some people might be concerned about the cost of energy bills.
Over the last six months, the cost of energy has risen, leaving many people concerned about heating their homes during the winter. While this rise is expected to continue until 2023, there is financial support available to help you.
Ensuring your home is warm is essential to keep you healthy and
safe, especially if you have a condition where symptoms are worsened by cold weather. You could be eligible for certain benefits, grants and help offered by the government or energy suppliers.
The most well-known support measure is the Warm Home Discount Scheme which gives those eligible £140 off their electricity bill or a voucher of the same value for a prepayment meter. You can get this help if you are on certain benefits or have a low income.
You could also be eligible for Winter Fuel Payments or Cold Weather Payments. The Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off, annual payment to help with the cost of your heating during the winter, but how much you get will depend on your individual circumstances.
If you receive pension credit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance or universal credit, you could receive a payment each time the temperature drops for a prolonged period of time. All of these schemes are controlled by the UK Government.
If you are in debt to your energy supplier and are concerned about keeping up with payments during winter, you might be eligible for a grant to help pay it off. Some of these grants come directly from suppliers themselves, or they could offer an alternative solution like deferring payments. Contact your energy supplier directly to see how they can help.
If you are having problems with your energy bills, struggling to pay them or feel you could get a better energy deal, it is important to reach out for advice in order to avoid problem debt and increased levels of stress. Looking for information alone can be overwhelming, but organisations including Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and many disability-specific charities can provide support in this area.
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