Social energy tariffs are designed to help those in fuel poverty where energy bills add up to more than 10% of household income.
It might sound like a strong term, but fuel poverty is a real problem in the UK. But if you're struggling to pay your energy bills, then don't panic, there is help available.
Energy suppliers in the UK have special price plans, known as social energy tariffs, to help vulnerable people. What's more there are also a range of government schemes and charities that can help.
Social energy tariffs
All energy suppliers offer some kind of social energy tariff, which gives discounted energy bills to customers in need.
Rules from the energy regulator Ofgem state that social energy tariffs must at least match the cheapest deals on offer from providers, including their online deals.
The eligibility criteria for social energy tariffs differs, but they tend to be available to the elderly, people living in fuel poverty or people on benefits or a very low income.
Some examples of specific social energy tariffs include:
- Essentials Combined and Energy Trust plans from
- E.ON's WarmAssist plan from
- Spreading Warmth Tariff and First Step Scheme from
- Fresh Start from
- Energyplus Care and Winter Care Rebate plans from
- Energy Assist and Energy Trust plans from
Energy suppliers also offer energy efficiency advice, alongside debt and income tips to help customers manage their energy usage and bills.
Call your supplier directly to find out what they can do for you.
Energy efficiency grants
Energy efficient grant schemes are available through the government for vulnerable customers in England, Wales and Scotland.
Grants can be provided to cover a range of energy efficiency improvement measures, such as installing insulation and draught-proofing.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you are aged 60 or over, you may qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment of between £125 and £400, to help you meet the costs of keeping warm in the winter.
You can find out if you qualify and get a claims form from the DirectGov website.
Energy suppliers fund a not-for-profit helpline called the 'Home Heat Helpline', which offers advice and assistance on payment schemes, social energy tariffs, grants for home improvements, and benefits you may be entitled to.
You can call free on 0800 33 66 99 and lines are open 9am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.
You could also try Consumer Focus' Help Finder tool - it identifies what grants, discounts, free energy help and assistance you might be able to get access to in your personal circumstances.
Save by switching online
You could make huge savings on your energy bills simply by comparing and switching online. It only takes a few minutes, and switching energy plans online could save you up to £294 instantly.