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Help with gas and electricity bills

Need to speak to someone about your energy and water bills? 

Contact Disability Energy Support service 

Energy price cap

On 1 April 2022, the energy price cap will increase most people’s energy bills. The cap is the rate suppliers can charge you:

  • standing charge for gas of 27.22 pence per day
  • standing charge for electricity of 45.34 pence per day
  • unit rate of 7.37 pence for each unit of gas you use
  • unit rate of 28.34 pence for each unit of electricity you use

This only applies to those who are on a standard variable tariff, not fixed tariff deals.

Your bill is not capped. This will depend on how much energy you use.

Energy-saving tips

Warning If you are in debt

Suppliers usually ask you to repay debt within 12 months. They can extend this to 2 years if you are disabled or have a long-term health condition.

Call debt charity StepChange for free advice on 0800 138 1111.

Help and advice when you are in debt 

Your energy supplier can also support you if you’re in debt. This can include advice or a financial payment. Check with your supplier as schemes vary.

Getting financial help from your energy supplier

If you are on a standard variable tariff

It is best to stay on the standard variable tariff for now.

You will be on the standard variable tariff if:

you have never switched your tariff

Your supplier will have put you on their standard variable tariff.

your fixed tariff has ended

If you do not choose a new deal, your supplier will put you on their standard variable tariff.

your supplier has gone out of business

If your supplier has gone bust, your new supplier will move you into a standard variable tariff.

You can check with your supplier if you are on their standard variable tariff. You can find this information on your bill, or you can call your supplier.

Help from the government with your energy bills

The government support package to help with increased energy bills includes 3 elements.

A repayable loan of £200

Every electricity account will receive £200 in credit in October 2022.

Those on prepayment meters may receive this £200 credit as a voucher or a cheque.

From April 2023, all households will repay the £200 loan over 5 years. This is an extra £40 a year on your electricity bill.

£150 Council Tax rebate

In April 2022, all households in Council Tax bands A to D will receive a single payment to their bank accounts of £150. This is to support paying your energy bill. You do not have to repay this.

Set up a direct debit for Council Tax if you can, to make sure you get the rebate.

Get ready for Council Tax rebate (GOV.UK)

Discretionary support fund

From April 2022, local authorities will have funding for energy customers who do not qualify for the £150 Council Tax rebate.

Details are not confirmed yet but you could be eligible if you are:

  • exempt from paying Council Tax through benefit entitlement
  • a student
  • resident in a property in Council Tax bands E to H

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.

Most Winter Fuel Payments are 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. This does not include:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Child Benefit
  • Universal Credit

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

  • you were born on or before 5 November 1953
  • you were a UK resident for at least 1 day in the week of 20 to 26 September 2021

If you do not get paid automatically, you’ll need to claim.

Make a claim for winter fuel payment (GOV.UK)

Cold Weather Payment

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if the average temperature in your area is zero degrees Celsius or below for 7 days in a row.

Cold Weather Payments

Warm Home Discount

Warm Home Discount takes money off your electricity bill between September and March. The discount does not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

From October 2022, the eligibility criteria will change.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Rebates when you use an oxygen concentrator

If you use an oxygen concentrator at home, you can get a rebate for the electricity it uses. The company that supplies your concentrator can make payments to your bank account.

Call the Electricity Rebates (BOC Home Oxygen Service) Patient Service Centre on freephone 0800 136 603.

Call the Electricity Refund (Air Liquide Healthcare) rebate team on freephone 0800 781 9939.

Getting help from your supplier

Your supplier can help you save money.

If you are in debt to your supplier

Most companies have a ‘vulnerable debt team’. Ask to speak to them if you have not been able to pay your bill. They can arrange a repayment plan. They will ask you about how much you can afford to pay and how much energy you use. They can also offer advice on how to use less energy at home.

Give your energy supplier your meter reading. Without a correct meter reading, your supplier can only estimate your usage.

If you are in debt, providing a meter read now will allow your supplier to tell you the exact amount you owe.

If you have a prepayment meter, they will take part of each payment to pay off your debt over an agreed period.

For example, if you pay £5 into your meter, your supplier might use £1 to pay off your debt and put £4 towards your energy supply.

If you have a standard meter, your supplier will agree a repayment plan with you based on your income. Suppliers usually ask you to repay debt within 12 months. They can extend this to 2 years if you are disabled or have a long-term health condition.

Paying off energy debt (Citizens Advice)

Switch to a standard meter

If you are using a prepayment meter, find out about switching to a standard meter and weigh up the pros and cons.

The standard meter variable tariff is cheaper than for a prepayment meter.

The benefit of prepayment meters is that you know exactly how much you are spending. You can only use the energy that you have paid for in advance. They can help you to keep track of your spending.

If you have a standard meter, check your bill. Your energy company could be estimating how much you use. Provide monthly meter readings. This means that you only pay for the energy you use.

If you are already in arrears, your supplier may ask you to repay your debt before they agree to switch your meter.

Switch to a smart meter

Smart meters are a new type of gas and electricity meter. You can switch both prepayment and standard meters to smart meters.

A smart meter can:

  • give you a better understanding of how you use energy around your home
  • help you keep track of your bills
  • send meter readings to your supplier

Your supplier can install a smart meter for free.

Smart meters

Priority Services Register

Sign up for your supplier’s Priority Services Register if you or your child:

  • are disabled
  • have a long-term health condition
  • use medical equipment that depends on your electricity supply, such as a dialysis machine

This means they can offer you extra free services, such as priority support and updates in an emergency.

Priority Services Register

Energy-saving tips

Last reviewed by Scope on: 04/04/2022

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