Energy Support and Advice

energy supportWorried about how you’re going to pay your energy bills?

If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills or worried about future energy increases, then you’re not alone.  We understand how quickly you can fall behind with your energy bills and with the energy cap to increase by 54% from April, that’s an extra £693 per year if you are on a standard tariff.   There’s a different rate for prepayment customers: their price cap will rise in April by £708 to £2,107.  It is likely that bills will increase even more this year, in October. If you live in Northern Ireland, the price cap doesn’t apply to you, however you can also expect to see an increase in your energy bills.

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.

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

 

 

Government Schemes

The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills. Depending on your individual situation, you may be entitled to government help. The support available includes:

  • Households will get £400 of support with their energy bills through an expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme – Now Launched, see latest update below.
  • As well as doubling the £200 of support announced earlier this year, the full £400 payment will now be made as a grant, which will not be recovered through higher bills in future years.
  • Energy suppliers will deliver this support to households with a domestic electricity meter over six months from October. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.
  • This support will apply directly for households in England, Scotland, and Wales. It is GB-wide and we will deliver equivalent support to people in Northern Ireland.
  • This support is in addition to the £150 Council Tax rebate for households in England in Council Tax bands A-D, which was announced in February, and which millions of households have already received.

£400 Government Support Scheme – Details

The government has announced how all households in England, Scotland and Wales will receive £400 to help with rising fuel bills this autumn. The money, part of the Energy Bill Support Scheme, will be paid in six instalments.  You will see a discount of £66 applied to your energy bills in October and November, and £67 a month from December to March 2023.

How the money is received will depend on how you pay your bill.

  • Customers paying by direct debit, either monthly or quarterly, will see an automatic deduction off those bills.
  • Those with “smart” pre-payment devices will see an automatic monthly top-up added to their account, meaning they will have to add less credit to their meter for the total energy they use.
  • But those with older “non-smart” pre-payment devices will not get this money automatically. You will receive an energy bill discount voucher in the first week of each month, via text, email or in the post. Customers will have to redeem these in person at their usual top-up point, such as a local Post Office.

For the answers to additional questions as,

  • Is the Energy Bills discount UK-wide?
  • I pay for energy in my rent – how do I make sure my landlord passes on the reduction?
  • Will I get the discount if I live in a park home, houseboat or am an energy consumer living off the grid?
  • How will it work for customers in arrears / in debt?

Check Energy Support Scheme Explained

£650 one-off Cost of Living Payment for those on means tested benefits

More than 8 million households on means tested benefits will receive a payment of £650 this year, made in two instalments. This includes all households receiving benefits as Universal Credit, Working and/or child Tax Credit and Pension Credit. The DWP will make the payment in two lump sums – the first from July, the second in the autumn. Payments from HMRC for those on tax credits only will follow shortly after each to avoid duplicate payments.

You will need to be in receipt of a means tested benefit, or have begun a claim which is later successful, as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for the first of the two instalments. HMRC and DWP will provide further guidance, and the government will set out the eligibility date for the second instalment, in due course. This payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards. The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

One-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

Pensioner households will receive an extra £300 this year to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter. All pensioner households will get the one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment as a top-up to their annual Winter Fuel Payment in November/December. For most pensioner households, this will be paid by direct debit.

People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 – 25 September 2022. The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment

Around six million people across the UK who receive disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment will receive a one-off payment of £150 in September. You must be in receipt of, or have begun an eventually successful claim for, one of these benefits as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for this additional payment.

For the many disability benefit recipients who receive means tested benefits, this £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately. These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards. The government will make these payments directly to eligible people across the UK.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount taken directly from your electricity bill, between October and March.

There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:

  • You receive Pension Credit with the Guarantee Credit element.
  • You’re on a low income. Each energy supplier has its own criteria but it’s usually if you have someone in your family with ill health and receive certain means tested benefit. To check your supplier click here.

Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters

You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.

  • Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible. For example you may receive a voucher that you can use to top up your meter. To check your supplier click here.

Park Homes Warm Home Discount

If you live in a Park home, you apply a separate way.

Winter Fuel Payment

You should get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim). To check if you’re are eligible click here. 

Cold Weather Payment

How to claim

You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically. You’ll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.   Check if you can get a payment in your area.

To see if you qualify, tell Jobcentre Plus if you get Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance and:

  • you’ve had a baby.
  • a child under 5 has come to live with you.

Priority Services Register is a free service offered by energy companies to help people with a vulnerable situation such as ill health, being pregnant or elderly. It provides easy access to additional support to ensure you stay safe and warm. To be added to the register, contact your energy supplier. If you’re not sure who your supplier is, you can find out here.

Council Tax Rebate

England

The £150 non repayable rebate for those in England whose homes are in council tax bands A to D (about 80% of homes).

The £150 is a one-off payment and does not have to be repaid.

If you’re not sure which council tax band your house is in click here.

For households that pay their council tax using a direct debit, your local authority will transfer the payment into your bank account using your details already held on its system, you should receive the rebate in April.

For those who do not pay their council tax by direct debit, local authorities have been requested to ask bill-payers for their bank account details so they can receive the £150 support. However, it is the council’s decision how they will provide the rebate.

The Government has stated that taxpayers in receipt of council tax support from their local council will be eligible if their home are in bands A to D, the details will be shared with local councils.

To find your local council click here

In most cases, you DO NOT have to apply for the discount as your local authority will automatically recognise if you’re eligible. But how you pay your council tax may affect how quickly you receive the rebate.

Northern Ireland

For more information about how to apply for the energy payment support scheme click here

Payments were made through existing benefit payment channels from 11 March 2022. If you did not receive a payment by 28 March 2022 and think you were eligible, please do contact your benefit office directly. If you think you were eligible but did not receive your payment, it is important to make your enquiry before 31 May 2022.

If you do not qualify as you do not receive benefits you can apply for discretionary support. For more details on how to apply click here

Wales

The Welsh Government has confirmed a £150 council tax credit for some, as well as doubling its Winter Fuel Support Scheme payments from £100 to £200.

To check what is available in Wales through your local authority click here

Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced a £150 support package for those in council tax bands A-D, as well as those who meet certain other criteria. To check your local council click here

To find additional home heating advice and support in Scotland click here.

Household Support Fund

An additional £500 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax Rebate. This is discretionary funding for local authorities to give to those who do not receive the council tax rebate and need additional support. For example to help vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes who do not pay council tax, or who have homes in bands E to H.

Check with your local council to apply for the discretionary funding. You can find your local council by clicking here.

Perennial’s Support

If you need help or information on accessing support for your energy costs or advice 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.  Our team can provide you with your individual benefit calculation, so you are able to make an informed choice.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0093 8543.

All advice is free and fully confidential.

 

Local Support

In England, Local Authorities have been given funding from central government to support households in the greatest need with food, energy, and water bills. This funding is available until 31st March 2022. Each individual council manages their own schemes, and each have different criteria and ways of using the money. You can Find Your Local Council here, then search for “Household Support Fund” on their website for details of your local scheme.

In Wales, the Winter Fuel Support Scheme can provide a one-off £100 payment to eligible people to provide support with winter fuel bills. Applications can be made until 18th February 2022.

In Scotland, if you are struggling to afford essentials you can apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund for financial assistance through your local authority. This can include financial support for fuel bills and top-ups for prepayment meters. Advice Direct are taking applications for the Home Heating Support Fund until 31st March 2022 through advice agencies and trusted referral parties such as Perennial. This is to help vulnerable households with their fuel bills or struggling to top-up prepayment meters.

In Northern Ireland, the Energy Payment Support Scheme can make a one-off payment to eligible people to help towards energy bills. You can also apply directly if you are experiencing a fuel crisis at the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme. Applications can be made up to 31st March 2022.

Across the UK, your local food bank may be able to provide you with fuel vouchers, although this varies by location.

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.  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 our budget planner can be useful to provide this information.  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

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.

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.