Money Wellness
Close up of woman in kitchen holding smart energy meter measuring energy efficiency
category iconbills
category iconcost of living
calendar icon20 Jan 2023

Rising energy prices: what support is there?

Energy prices are currently at a record high in the UK. With others bills and expenses on the rise too, these are worrying times for many but there is financial support available to help you cover your energy costs.

What financial support can I get?

Every household is due a £400 discount

During winter 2022/23, all households in England, Scotland and Wales (there'll be an equivalent scheme in Northern Ireland) will receive a total discount of £400 on their energy bills, replacing the previous plan to loan households £200 to be repaid over five years. Credit and Direct Debit customers will have the money added to their accounts, while those with prepayment meters will have the sum applied to their meter or sent to them in the form of a voucher.  Check to see how you'll get yours.

Check to see if you're eligible for a further £650

An additional £650 will be given to the most vulnerable households in a bid to lessen the strain of rising energy prices. The cost of living payment has been split into two instalments. Some will have received both instalments by now. People who qualify as a result of being in receipt of tax credits may have to wait a little longer, but they should have received the first payment and the second will arrive at some point during the winter months. In total, the payment will benefit 8 million low-income families who claim the following benefits:

  • income support
  • universal credit
  • child tax credit
  • pension credit
  • working tax credit
  • income-based jobseekers allowance
  • income-related employment and support allowance.

This payment will be tax-free and won’t impact any existing benefit allowances. Check to see if you’re eligible here.

You could be eligible for the pensioner cost of living payment

If you were of state pension age by 25 September 2022, you may be entitled to a further £300, known as the pensioner cost of living payment. As above, receiving this money won’t impact any other benefit claims.

If you have a disability

People with a disability may receive an extra £150 if they claim any of the following benefits:

  • armed forces independence payment
  • personal independence payment
  • war pension mobility supplement
  • disability living allowance
  • constant attendance allowance
  • attendance allowance

These payments started being sent out in September. Check to see if you’re eligible here.

Don't forget about the winter fuel payment

If you were born on or before 5 November 1953, you may have received between £100- £300 to help with your heating bills. If you’re eligible, you will have received your payment in November or December. This will include anyone who received a state pension or some other social security benefit and was a UK resident for at least one day between 19-26 September 2022. If you don’t receive this payment automatically, you can claim via the gov.uk website.

And the cold weather payment

If you’re claiming certain benefits or receive support for mortgage interest, you may be able to get £25 each time there are seven consecutive days of below-zero temperatures in your area. The cold weather payment scheme runs from 1 November 2022 to 31 March 2023. To find out more, visit the gov.uk website.

There's also the warm home discount

In October 2022, more households than ever received a £140 discount on their energy bills. This won’t impact claims for the cold weather payment or the winter fuel payment. The two core groups entitled to this support are those receiving the guarantee credit element of pension credit, and those on lower incomes who meet the eligibility criteria set out by suppliers. These can be checked on your provider’s website.

Check to see if you’re eligible here.

Local authority support

The discretionary support fund is available for local authorities to give out extra financial support to those most at risk. Available until March 2023, you can visit your local council’s website for further information.

You may also be able to get help from your supplier

If you are in debt with your energy supplier, you can apply for a grant to help pay it off. All the details you’ll need can be found here.

What else can I do?

Aside from financial aid, there are other things you can do to reduce your energy consumption and save up to £174 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

  • Turn down your thermostat 1 degree and save up to £105.
  • Switch off your lights when you leave the room and save up to £20.
  • Do one less wash a week (using the dishwasher or washing machine) and save approximately £14.
  • Limit shower time to four minutes and cut out one bath a week and you could save £35 per person.

Buy energy-efficient products

From lightbulbs to kitchen appliances, there are many energy-efficient products on the market that can substantially reduce your energy consumption and save you money. Click here to find out more.

When it starts to get warmer

Use warmer months as an opportunity to cut down your energy consumption:

  • Ditch the tumble dryer and hang out your washing.
  • Only use natural light throughout the day.
  • Turn off the heating completely.
  • Use the oven less by making more salads or buying disposable BBQs.
  • Turn off your dishwasher and use the sink to clean dishes.
  • Keep your home well insulated by opening the windows.

Other useful tips

  • Wash your clothes in colder water (where possible).
  • Turn off electric sockets when they’re not in use.
  • Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater.

We’re here to help in any way we can, but if you’re still struggling to pay your energy bills, contact your supplier and see what they can do - they may suggest a temporary payment plan to take away some of the pressure or negotiate a new, more beneficial deal. Alternatively, contact Citizens Advice to see what other help is available.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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