British Gas and other energy firms offer help if you’re struggling

When will households start receiving money off energy bills?

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The Government’s energy price guarantee came into play last Saturday and caps the amount that households pay for each kilowatt hour of energy. Electricity will rise to 34p and gas prices will rise from 7p to 10p per kilowatt hour under the new guarantee. Prime Minister Liz Truss has repeatedly stated typical household energy bills will not go over £2,500 for the next year however this was the average bill for the “typical” family and bills can reach above this depending on how much energy has been used.

According to Ofgem rules, all energy suppliers must offer payment plans someone can afford and should offer “emergency credit” if someone uses a prepay meter and can’t top up.

Some energy suppliers have introduced more schemes over the last year which can further support people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.

British Gas Energy Trust

British Gas offers both its customers and non-customers a grant of up to £1,500 to help with energy their energy bills.

To be considered for the grant people must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have an energy debt of over £250. British Gas has recently changed its eligibility criteria and now allows people with savings of over £1,000 to access this fund.

In the application, people will need to provide evidence that they have received money advice in the last three months and proof of their current household income.

British Gas customers will also need a recent meter reading – unless they’re on a smart meter.

People won’t be able to apply for the grants if they have received one from the British Gas Energy Trust within the last two years.

Prepayment customers who are not in debt can also apply for fuel vouchers to help them top up their energy.

EDF’s energy customer support fund:

EDF offers various schemes which can help customers who are struggling to pay their bills with the energy firm allowing customers to pay in smaller and “more manageable” amounts each month instead of larger bills.

The firm also offers the EDF Customer Support Fund which can provide customers with grants to help manage household energy debts.

To get a cash grant of up to £750 from EDF, people will first have to register for its priority services and the firm will then assess a person’s individual circumstances. If they approve it, then they will be able to apply for the energy grant.

People will need to have their EDF account number and current energy debt balances ready, along with details of their household finances and vulnerability.

E.ON’s energy fund

Customers of E.ON Energy can apply for support through cash grants from the E.ON Energy Fund.

The fund does not have established criteria which customers need to meet to access the funds but the energy firm states the fund “aims to help as many people as possible” and applications from individuals with the greatest needs “will be prioritised”.

The amount a person can receive depends on their circumstance with the fund helping to pay energy bill arrears or by providing replacement household items such as cookers, fridges, fridge-freezers and washing machines, and gas boilers.

E.ON supplies these grants on a “three-month Provisional Award Scheme” which means that to receive the grant, people will need to show their “commitment to achieving financial sustainability”.

To apply for the support, people will need to provide their energy account number and a recent meter reading.

Depending on the circumstances, E.ON may need to provide evidence of their household income for the current tax year, documentation on certain benefits they may claim, and information on their pensions.

Npower customers were moved onto E.ON Next when the firm took over in 2019 and these customers are able to access the exact same energy support from E.ON.

Ovo’s debt and energy assistance

Since October 1, Ovo Energy is offering its customers access to a £50million support package, which includes things such as debt repayment holidays for prepayment meter customers and free products for customers’ homes.

Vulnerable customers can have the direct debit reduced by 15 percent, and receipt of bills customers can create bespoke payment plans for up to three years to help them better manage their energy bills.

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Ovo has also increased its emergency credit from £5 to £15 for prepayment customers and they can also be offered payment holidays.

The firm has also stated that if customers are switched to pre-payment plans then they will receive regular check-ins to help them through the winter months.

Ovo will also help by providing customers who are most in need with smart thermostats and electric throws. People can claim a free boiler service worth £90.

Ovo said it remains “dedicated to its pledge” to never disconnect customers who fall behind on their payments.

There will also be dedicated support for customers in the “most financial difficulty” from a specialist team as well as a dedicated website where customers can find out more about each element of support.

SSE was taken over by OVO Energy in 2020 and customers are able to access the OVO energy support if they need help with their energy bills however, they will need to contact SSE for the support. 

Octopus Energy – OctoAssist Fund

Octopus Energy has recently rolled out a £40million package to help lower the burden of standing charges facing households this winter.

Under this new plan, all customers on Octopus’s standard variable tariff will automatically receive a four percent reduction in standing charges on their energy bills and over 100,000 in “the greatest need” can apply for “standing charge holidays” of up to six months.

People can also apply for the OctoAssist Fund which has a budget of £15million to help customers “most in need”.

The help which Octopus is based on a person’s personal circumstances and there is not a set limit on what a person can access. If people get in touch with Octopus then they can provide access to existing schemes, monetary support from the firms’ fund, or a loan of a thermal imagery camera to find heat leaks at home.

Scottish Power’s hardship fund

Customers who are struggling with their energy bills could get up to hundreds of pounds in grants from Scottish Power.

Scottish Power says the Fund can help by clearing or reducing arrears by crediting a customer’s Scottish Power energy account which can help get energy payments under control.

People can qualify for help if they are claiming benefits which include Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Pension Credit, or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Scottish Power confirmed people can also qualify if they have a low household income, or if there are special circumstances which could make them eligible.

To get the help, people will have to contact a recognised debt advice agency such as StepChange Debt which can then refer them to Scottish Power.

People will then be able to apply for the Hardship Fund, they will need to provide evidence of financial hardship, and they should receive a response within five working days.

Britons are urged to contact their energy provider as soon as they can if they believe that they are unable to pay their bills.




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