Usually, the easiest way to stay on top of your energy spend would be to switch energy deal to the cheapest one in your part of the country. However, with the collapse of the energy market in September 2021, it’s all but impossible to compare energy prices, let alone switch - even through energy comparison sites like ours.
Not only is an energy switch unlikely to be on the cards for most energy customers in the UK, but bills for existing energy deals are going up and putting a great deal of financial pressure on wallets and bank balances.
There have been various grants and discount schemes available for certain energy customers since before the collapse of the market. However, with the addition of various energy relief measures as part of an overall cost of living financial aid package released by the government, it can be difficult to work out what you’re eligible for.
Our energy help scheme eligibility checker asks a few simple questions about your age, pension status, income and benefit allowance to see whether you qualify for government support.
An energy help scheme usually involves the allocation of financial aid to help customers manage their energy costs and bills a bit more easily. These energy payment support schemes can take the form of a discount or waiver on existing bills, or a payment made to an energy online or bank account.
You can use our eligibility checker below to see whether you qualify for any energy help schemes.
The different help measures available are:
Warm Home Discount
Cold Weather Payment
Winter Fuel Payment
£300 one-off payment to pensioner households
£650 one-off payment to those receiving certain work benefits, such as Universal Credit payments
£150 one-off payment to those receiving certain disability benefits
£400 one-off payment to all energy customers in England, Scotland and Wales.
Councils and local authorities are also allocated government funding to help vulnerable households.
In many cases, the discounts on schemes like the Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payment will be applied automatically. However, there could be circumstances in which you have to apply yourself - check out the schemes’ individual guides for more details.
The energy relief measures will be applied automatically.
Energy expert Ben Gallizzi says:
“With the sharp rise in bills across the UK, government contribution schemes can be a huge benefit to many. There are still a lot of people in the UK who don't realise that they may be eligible for an energy help scheme.
“Checking eligibility each year is a good routine to get into, as the criteria could have changed since last checking. Using our eligibility checker is a great first step.”
Energy prices will be capped and frozen at a level of £2,500 for two years. This will protect customers on standard variable tariffs from price rises for two years, but will mean that they are still paying more for their energy than in the autumn and winter of 2021.
A winter fuel allowance (or Winter Fuel Payment) is an annual energy payment support scheme that allocates up to £300 for those who need help paying their energy bills. It is paid out between November and December. For 2022, you’re automatically eligible if you were born on or before 26 September 1955.
Pension Credit consists of two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You could receive one or both parts. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a minimum amount and is available to those who reached State Pension age before 15 May 2019 and have been claiming Housing Benefit since before 15 May 2019. Savings Credit is a small top-up for people who have a modest amount of income or savings, and is only available to those who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.
The main reasons you would be ineligible for energy payment schemes are:
You’re not of pensionable age
You’re not eligible for work or disability benefits
Nobody you live with is eligible for work or disability benefits
However, remember that all energy customers will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills from October 2022.
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, you can see what other help from charities and energy suppliers might be available.
Discover all you need to know about the government-funded Warm Home Discount scheme - a guide to help eligible homes save money on their energy bills in 2022 and 2023.Learn more
Are you eligible for a Cold Weather Payment this year? Find out if you could claim £25 for every week of cold weather this winter.Learn more