You can get help if you’re struggling to afford your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter. You might be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and help offered by the government and energy suppliers.
Get money back if you pay council tax
You can get £150 back from the council to help pay your energy bills – this is called a ‘rebate’.
You’ll get the rebate if you pay council tax and your home is in council tax bands A to D. You can find your band on your council tax bill or check your council tax band on GOV.UK
You’ll only get the rebate if you’re the person who has to pay council tax for your household. Only one person per household will get the rebate.
You’ll get the rebate even if you:
- get a Council Tax Reduction, including a full reduction, and your home is in bands A to D
- get the Disabled Band Reduction discount and your home is in bands A to E
- are subject to immigration control and your biometric residence permit says “no recourse to public funds”
If you get benefits, the rebate won’t affect them.
If you can’t get the rebate, the council might still offer you financial help. For example, they might help you if you’re in council tax bands E to H and you get certain benefits. Contact your local council to see if they can help you – find your local council on GOV.UK.
How you’ll get the rebate
If you set up a direct debit to pay your council tax before the end of March 2022, your council should pay you automatically. Local councils will start to make the payments directly into bank accounts in April 2022.
If you don’t pay by direct debit or didn’t set up a direct debit before the end of March 2022, you should still get a rebate.
Your local council will contact you – they’ll probably ask you to complete an online form.
After you’ve given the council your details, they’ll make the payment as soon as possible.
If you don’t hear from your council, contact them to check how you can claim the rebate. You should contact them before 30 September 2022 when the scheme closes. Find your local council on GOV.UK.
Check who you’re giving your bank details to
Your council might need your bank details so they can pay you.
Your council won’t ask you to:
- make any payments yourself
- give them any passwords – for example, one time passwords to log into online banking
- give them any pin numbers
Scams can be difficult to spot – check if something might be a scam. If you’re not sure it’s your local council contacting you, ask the council about the rebate yourself. Find your local council’s contact details on GOV.UK.
If your bank account is overdrawn
You can ask your bank to use this £150 rebate to pay your energy bills instead of paying off your overdraft. This is known as ‘exercising your first right of appropriation’. You can check how to exercise your first right of appropriation on National Debtline.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount Scheme for 2021 to 2022 has now closed. We’ll update this page with details of the 2022 to 2023 scheme when it’s announced.
If you’re on a low income and struggling with living costs, there are things you can do. Check if you can increase your income.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter.
You can usually get a Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 26 September 1955.
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s very cold.
You’ll get a payment each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period of time.
You’ll only be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you already get:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
If you’re eligible, you’ll get paid automatically. Find out more about Cold Weather Payments on GOV.UK.
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Support Fund – apply for a grant on the British Gas Energy Trust website
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund – apply for a grant on the Scottish Power Hardship Fund website
- Ovo Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the Ovo Energy Fund website
- E.ON Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the E.ON Energy Fund website
- E.ON Next Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the E.ON Next Energy Fund website
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund – apply for a grant on the EDF Energy Customer Support Fund website
- Bulb Energy Fund – apply for a grant on the Bulb Energy Fund website
- Octopus ‘Octo Assist Fund’ – apply for a grant on the Octopus website
If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, you might be able to get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone – you don’t have to be a British Gas customer. You’ll need to get debt advice before applying – get help from a debt adviser.
If you’ve already spoken to a debt adviser – check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust.
Before you apply
When you apply for a grant, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help from a friend or family member. You can also talk to an adviser for help filling in forms.
It’s worth checking on the trust or fund website if there’s anything else you need to do before you apply.
For example, if your supplier is E.ON, E.ON Next or EDF you’ll need to show you’ve completed a budget sheet with a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved adviser. To do this:
- Find an adviser using the debt advice locator on the Money Helper website
- Check if the adviser or their firm is on the FCA register
- Contact the adviser to arrange a conversation where you’ll complete a budget sheet
Local energy grants
You might also be able to find grants or schemes run by your local council. Find your local council on GOV.UK.
If you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter
You might be able to get a fuel voucher. This is a code given to you in a letter or in a text message or email. You can use it to add credit to your gas card or electricity key. If you don’t have one of these, contact your supplier to get one.
You can use a fuel voucher at:
- a shop signed up to PayPoint – find a shop near you on the PayPoint website
- a Post Office or shop signed up to Payzone – find a Post Office or shop near you on the Payzone website
To use your voucher you’ll need to take:
- the code and instructions
- some form of ID – for example, your passport or a bill with your name and address
You must use your fuel voucher within 3 months after you get it.
If you have problems using your voucher, contact the organisation that gave it to you – you should be able to find their contact information on the instructions.
Extra help from your supplier
You might be able to get extra help and support from your energy supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register. You can sign up if you’ve reached state pension age, you’re disabled or sick, or if your energy network considers you ‘vulnerable’.
Your energy supplier can help you with things like:
- reading your energy meter
- moving your energy meter free of charge
- getting your bills sent or copied to someone else – for example, a carer
If you’re struggling with living costs
If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.
If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.
You can also get help with debts.
If you’re struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help – a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone or by email.