Major energy providers have set up grants to help households who are struggling financially and have energy debts. Some examples of energy providers that offer grants are British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON Next and Octopus Energy.
The grants vary between providers so eligibility criteria and the amount of you can receive may be different, so please check directly with your supplier.
Citizen’s Advice have a list of grants from major energy providers.
You can join your supplier’s Priority Services register to access extra help. Find out more about joining a Priority Services register.
If you have been unable to pay your bills and you’ve subsequently been told your energy supply will be disconnected between 1 October and 31 March, your energy provider must take all reasonable steps to avoid disconnecting your supply if any of the below apply to you:
- if you have reached state pension age
- if you are disabled
- if you have a long-term physical or mental health condition.
If you are unable to make your payments, it is important that you contact your supplier to let them know.
Many large energy suppliers have signed up to the ‘Energy UK Vulnerability Commitment’ to provide further protection. The agreement means they will not disconnect you at any time of year if any of the below apply:
- if you are disabled
- if you have long-term health problems
- if you have severe financial problems
- if you have children under six years old living at home.
Check if your supplier is part of the Vulnerability Commitment.
Phone and broadband
Social tariffs are available to people claiming various benefits, offering cheaper broadband and phone packages.
These tariffs are cheaper than a regular package with low or no set up fees and shorter contracts.
All social tariffs are available to those on Universal Credit, and some social tariffs will be available to people who are in receipt of other benefits such as Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Income Support.
Ofcom has created a list of available broadband and phone social tariffs.
If you are struggling to pay your water bills and fall into debt, please contact your water supplier directly to see what financial assistance they provide. Water companies also have social tariffs that households on a low-income and benefits can receive.
You may be eligible for the WaterSure scheme if you are in receipt of benefits and need to use a lot of water for medical reasons or your household has three or more school-age children.
The scheme means that your water supplier will cap your water bill based on the average water bill in your area. You will need to complete an application form which you can request from your water supplier.
If you are unable to pay your bills you should contact your water supplier as soon as possible, as each supplier has support which they can provide.
If you live in England or Wales, you can find comprehensive information on help with paying water bills and hardship funds on Consumer Council for Water.
In Scotland, all households are supplied by Scottish Water. If you receive council tax reductions, you may be entitled to a discount on your water bill.
In Northern Ireland, all households are supplied by Northern Ireland Water. If you are unable to pay your bill, contact them directly to discuss your circumstances and payment options.
Here for you
If you have further questions about the cost of living, how it is impacting you, and what help is available in your area, the Information, Advocacy and Care team are available on 0800 652 6352 or email@example.com to offer information and support. If they can’t help you, they are more than happy to signpost you to local services close to you, or to other people who can help.