Energy Support and Advice

energy support

Electricity. Gas. Oil. Solar.  Whichever energy you use to fuel your home, its getting more expensive.  Managing your energy bills is vital to try and keep your outgoings as low as they can be.

Many people across the UK are concerned about future energy prices and any future cost increases, you’re not alone.

Below you’ll find lots of key information that may be of help.

Plus, nudge our free money management tool offers impartial, expert advice 24/7 on budgeting, managing expenses and outgoings and much more – so if you haven’t already, take a look today.


What’s the energy price cap I keep hearing about on the news?

The Energy Price Cap limits what you pay for each unit of gas and electricity that you use, plus it sets a maximum daily standing charge (what you pay to have your home connected to the grid). It’s based largely on wholesale energy prices (those that firms pay) and applies only to providers’ standard and default tariffs, which the vast majority of households are now on. (MSE Oct 2023)

From 1 October 2023, the Price Cap is set at £1,834 a year for a typical dual-fuel household that pays on Direct Debit.  This is projected to rise in January 2024 and is reviewed every 3 months. 

Remember the price cap is not the maximum bill you could pay, just the maximum charge per unit, so you can still run up huge bills by consuming a lot of energy.

Typically in winter we use more energy by turning on the heating and also turning lights on more and for longer during dark mornings and evenings.  See Perennial’s Winter Tips for ways you may be able to reduce some of your usage.

Contact your supplier

Contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about paying your energy bills. Suppliers must work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford under Ofgem rules.  You can ask for:

  • A review of your payments and debt repayments.
  • Payment breaks or reductions.
  • More time to pay.
  • Access to hardship fund.

Check schemes and grants

You can find out more about the following help available to you by clicking the links below:

Support from Perennial

If you are having difficulties paying for your energy the Perennial Team are here to help you find a solution. Please do not hesitate to contact us 0800 093 8543 (Now open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays). 

All advice is free and fully confidential. Perennial’s Debt Advice Service is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Simone’s Story

When garden centre employee Simone* was concerned about her bills going up she gave us a call:

“Money was pretty tight, so the thought of having to somehow manage any additional costs was such a worry for me. I’d received amazing support from Perennial before so I rang them again for some advice. My caseworker was so helpful. It was nice to have someone to talk it through with and reassuring to know that support was available to help me keep up with my payments if I needed it.

Through Perennial’s support, I was relieved to see that although things would be tight, I could just about manage financially.”

Read Simone’s full story.

*Name changed to protect anonymity 

Simone's story energy crisis



Latest Government Support

Warm Home Discount

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

If you live in England and Wales you qualify if you either:

If you live in Scotland you qualify if you either:

The Warm Home Discount scheme is not available in Northern Ireland. Find out about the Affordable Warmth scheme.

You may also be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to your home if you get certain benefits or live in social housing.

Other help

You may be able to get other kinds of Government Cost of Living Support, including:

  • up to £900 in 3 separate Cost of Living Payments for households on means-tested benefits
  • a £300 pensioner Cost of Living Payment, to be paid alongside the Winter Fuel Payment for 2023 to 2024
  • a £150 disability Cost of Living Payment for people who get certain disability benefits
  • help from the Household Support Fund from your local council


If you’re struggling to pay your energy bill you can also get:

  • advice on support available to help with energy bills from Perennial
  • extra support from your energy supplier – for example if you’re disabled or have a long-term health condition
  • grants to help pay off debts to your energy supplier


If you cannot afford to top up your prepayment meter

  • You can ask for temporary credit from your supplier. You will have to pay this back.
  • You may also be able to get a fuel voucher. This is a code given to you in a letter, text message or email which you can use to add credit to your gas card or electricity key.


Perennial’s Support

If you need help or information on accessing support for your energy costs or advice on how to access the Government Schemes, or you’re not sure you are receiving all the welfare benefits you are entitled to or to offer you, we can help.  

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0093 8543 (Now open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays). 

All advice is free and fully confidential.


Council Support

You may be able to get help with essential costs from your local council. This is sometimes known as ‘The Household Support Fund’ and is in payment until the 31st March 2024.

The Household Support Fund is aimed at anyone who is vulnerable or cannot pay for essentials. You do not have to be getting benefits to get help from your local council.

If you do get benefits, they will not be affected if you also get a payment from a Household Support Fund scheme.

You can find out about the schemes in your area here

Be aware that councils decide how to run their schemes which means there may be differences in:

  • eligibility criteria
  • if or how you need to apply
  • who money is given to

For example, some councils share out money through local charities and community groups and some limit household applications to one per year.

Check with your local council to find out what support is available. You can find out who your local council is here.


There are a number of different local food banks across the UK which may be able to provide you with some support such as food vouchers. 


Perennial’s Support

Our team are here to offer you support and advice if you need help or information on accessing support for your energy costs.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0093 8543 (Now open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays).

All advice is free and fully confidential.

Energy Supplier Schemes

Many energy companies offer their own schemes to help customers who are struggling with their bills. Some suppliers have charitable trust funds that can make grants to reduce or clear energy debts, a grant does not have to be repaid. You can find details of all the current schemes, and details of how to apply, here

Many charitable trust funds will only make a grant to clear arrears if you can show that your ongoing energy bills are affordable. It is really important to make regular payments to your energy account to cover your usage before making an application, and while it’s being assessed. You will also need to take a meter reading before applying so that your account is billed up to date. They may also ask you for your income and outgoings.  If you need help to create your budget it’s useful to use a spending diary. If you work in horticulture and need help with an energy trust fund application, please contact us.

Emergency Fuel Vouchers

If you’re on a pre-payment meter and have no funds to top-up, you should contact your energy supplier right away to see if they are able to give you any additional help. If you work in horticulture and are a Scottish Power pre-payment customer, Perennial may also be able to access emergency fuel vouchers for you. Please contact us for further information.

Oil LPG and Solid Fuel

Alternative Fuel Payment – for those who don’t use mains gas

The Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) will provide a £200 payment to UK households that use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas. This includes, for example, heating oil, LPG, coal, and biomass. The details of when this payment will be made will be confirmed shortly.

If you live in a park home, houseboat or off the grid please view this guidance.

The government has confirmed that further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the 1% of households who are not eligible for the discount.

This includes households without a domestic electricity meter and a direct relationship with an electricity supplier, for example if you live in a park home, houseboat or you live off the grid.

The Bill will also support domestic and non-domestic consumers who are not captured by either scheme, including those using alternative fuels such as heating oil, living in park homes, or those who live off the grid.

Many of the energy saving hints and tips, such as making sure your home is insulated and changing how you use your energy to save money, are aimed at mainstream gas and electricity customers but they also apply if you use LPG, oil, or Solid Fuel.

If you use a domestic oil supply, your supplier may be a member of UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA). Their members have agreed to abide by a number of policy initiatives such as the Cold Weather Priority Initiative. This scheme enables providers to prioritise those over the age of 75, so that they do not go without fuel over the winter months.

The UKIFDA website has other guides and tips for customers with a domestic oil supply. More information can be found here.

There are a number of price comparison sites which cover oil, LPG, and Solid Fuel, some are listed below as examples:

Heating Oil Shop
Boiler Juice
Fuel Tool
LPG Compare

If your home is heated by domestic oil, it can be difficult to budget for large one-off bulk deliveries, but smaller orders can cost more per litre costing you more overall in the long term. You may be able to save money by joining an “oil buying club” or “buying group” which allows people to buy oil together in larger quantities, reducing the price per litre. The UKIFDA website has a handy guide to these groups that you can download here.

Perennial’s Support

Our team is here to offer you support and advice if you need help or information on accessing support for your energy costs. If you do find yourself struggling with your budget due to increased energy costs, or for any other reason, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0093 8543

(Now open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays). 

All advice is free and fully confidential.

All advice is free and fully confidential.


Energy Saving Tips

Even small changes to the way you use energy can make a big difference to your bills. There are lots of information and top tips online. The Energy Saving Trust provides tips and advice for straightforward ways to save energy and lower your bills. It is good practice to give your supplier regular meter readings to make sure you’re being billed for what you actually use rather than estimates.

Energy Saving Grants

Check energy saving grants for information and support available to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your bills. The Simple Energy Advice website has advice on ways to save energy, an eligibility checker for home energy grants and an energy efficiency calculator.

You may also find out Winter Savings Tips helpful.


Water Meter 

If you have a water meter, you only pay for what you use. Houses built or altered after 1989 will usually have a water meter and you can get one for free on request, except in Scotland. 

Water meters can save you money, if you have a small family or live alone. A very simple rule is if you have more bedrooms than people in your home, you may well be better off with a water meter but check with your supplier. 

Many people save money by opting for a water meter, which is usually free. And there is usually an option to change back within a certain time if you find that it’s not for you. Check with your water company provider. 

No Water Meter 

Your bills are estimated, you pay a fixed amount depending on your home’s size. Your bill will be based on your home’s ‘rateable value’, your Council Tax Band.  

What do my water bills pay for? 

Many people aren’t aware that about half of your water bill is for wastewater, i.e. the water that drains from your house and has to be treated. 

Some houses have ‘soakaways’ for surface water and others may have drainage systems that don’t drain into public sewers. 

You’ll probably know if this applies to you, but it’s a good idea to check with your water and sewerage company whether they give any allowance on your bill in this situation.   

Social Tariff 

Social tariffs – all water companies offer a social tariff for eligible customers that reduces water bills. 

If you’re on a low income (up to about £21,000 a year), you may be able to access a social tariff. All water companies offer them, and they can reduce your bill by lowering or even capping what you pay, whether you have a water meter or not – though some also require you to be on certain benefits.  Check with your Water Company. 


The WaterSure scheme – this scheme is available for certain customers with a water meter and allows bills to be capped. 

Water Sure England and Wales 

If you live in England or Wales, are on certain benefits, have a water meter and use a lot of water because you either have a medical condition or three or more children aged under 19 for whom you claim Child Benefit, you may be able to get help from the Water Sure scheme. 

People who meet the criteria for help under these schemes can have their water bill capped at the amount of the average household water bill for their water company.  

Who is eligible for Water Sure? 

To qualify for help, you have to live in England or Wales and be getting at least one of the following benefits: 

    • Child Benefit  
    • Housing Benefit  
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
    • Income Support 
    • Pension Credit 
    • Working Tax Credit 
    • Universal Credit 

In addition, you have to be: 

    • entitled to receive Child Benefit for three or more children under the age of nineteen who live with you, or 
    • diagnosed as having, or have someone living with you who has a medical condition.

You can apply for Water Sure by filling out a form from your water company. You will need to supply evidence that you qualify, such as a copy of your awards notice for one of the benefits above. 

If you’re not sure who your water company is check  Find Water Companies  

Priority Service 

You can also sign up to a Priority Service to receive free extra help from your water company. This could be for many reasons such as an illness, disability, health condition or communication needs; you can also register if you need short-term support. Please contact your company to see if you are eligible for extra help. 

Each Company provide slightly different schemes but generally assist if you: 

  • have sight problems
  • are deaf or hard of hearing
  • have home dialysis
  • use a wheelchair or have mobility concerns
  • are a new parent
  • are concerned about unwanted callers
  • would like someone else to manage your account.


Domestic households in Scotland are all provided with water by Scottish Water unless there is a separate private water source. 

If you don’t have a water meter, and you are not on a private water supply, then your local council will bill and collect your water charge and, if it applies, your wastewater charge. Your local council collects these charges for on Scottish Water, and you can find details of how to pay on your Council Tax bill. 

Any questions regarding your bill, including payment options and any discounts or exemptions, should be directed to your local Council. Scotland Councils 

For more information check with Scottish Water 

Northern Ireland 

NI Water provides essential services for all our customers throughout Northern Ireland. They provide free additional services if you are an older consumer, have a serious medical condition or need extra help for any other reason. NI Water Customer Care 

Other support 

Many individual water companies run hardship schemes or fund independent charitable trusts to help you pay off your water bill if you’re in debt. Perennials Money Advice Team are trained to assist you or you can contact your water company directly to ask what schemes are available. 

Water Saving 

Many of the Water Companies provide free water saving devices either check your water company or check Water Saving Tips 


Perennial’s Support

If you need help or information on accessing support for your water costs or advice on how to apply for a water hardship fund or you’re not sure you are receiving all the welfare benefits you are entitled to we can help. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0093 8543 (Now open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays).

All advice is free and fully confidential.