Government payments and discounts for your heating bills

The energy price cap

The energy price cap or ‘safeguard’ tariff means the energy regulator Ofgem will cap the price you pay per unit of electricity or gas. Ofgem will review this twice a year, so the price you pay could still go up while you are on the safeguard tariff. 

You will be eligible for the energy price cap if you: 

  • use a prepayment meter
  • or are on your energy supplier’s standard tariff

You will not be eligible if you: 

  • use a smart meter
  • or have a fixed price energy tariff 

If you use a prepayment meter or are on the default tariff, you will not need to apply for the energy cap. Your energy supplier will apply the energy cap automatically to your account.

How much your energy is capped at depends on:

  • how you pay
  • where you live 
  • and your energy meter

Find out more about the energy cap.

This may not be your supplier’s cheapest tariff. Check with your supplier to see if you can move to a cheaper tariff, such as a fixed tariff.

Getting the best energy deal

The price cap limits how much you pay per unit of energy. It is not a cap on your total energy bill. How much you pay will still depend on how much energy you use. 

To get the best available deal, consider switching energy supplier.

Winter Fuel Payment

You could get between £100 and £300 tax free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 November 1953. This is known as a Winter Fuel Payment.

Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

If you qualify for Winter Fuel Payment but do not get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim.

You qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if both the following apply:

  • you were born on or before 5 November 1953
  • you were living in the UK for at least a day during the week of 17 to 23 September 2018 (this is called the ‘qualifying week’)

Make a claim for winter fuel payment.

Cold Weather Payment

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits.

You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March. Check if you can get a payment in your area. You’ll get a payment of £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between these dates.

Am I eligible?

You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Pension Credit

You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get Pension Credit.

Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and have any of the following:

  • A disability or pensioner premium
  • A child who is disabled
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • A child under 5 living with you

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get income-related ESA and have any of the following:

  • The support or work-related component of ESA
  • A severe or enhanced disability premium
  • A pensioner premium
  • A child who is disabled
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • A child under 5 living with you

Universal Credit

You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get Universal Credit, you’re not employed or self-employed and one of the following applies:

  • You get a limited capability for work element, with or without a work-related activity element.
  • You get the disabled child element in your claim.
  • You have a child under 5 living with you.

You’ll also be eligible if you have a disabled child element in your claim, whether you are employed or not.

Warm Home Discount

You could get £140 off your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you. It’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill between September and March. The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

Prepayment or pay as you go meters

You can also qualify for the discount if you use a prepayment or pay as you go electricity meter. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.

Eligibility for Warm Home Discount Scheme

You qualify for the discount if:

  • Your electricity supplier was part of the scheme.
  • Your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill.
  • You were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well).

If you do not qualify

You may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you do not get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:

  • you’re on a low income.
  • you get certain means-tested benefits

Check with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.

How to apply

You should have received a letter telling you how to get the discount if you qualify. This letter will have told you whether you will receive the discount automatically or whether you needed to apply for it. Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by the end of March.

If you did not get a letter

Call the Warm Home Discount Team on 0800 731 0214 if you did not get the letter and you think you’re eligible. 

Energy suppliers

The following suppliers are part of the scheme. Check whether you are eligible.

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