Category - Boilers
Guide author photo

Ryan Gill, Engineer

8 Mar : Updated 8 Mar ● 5 min read

How to get help with energy bills

If you're struggling to pay your energy bills or just need a bit of a boost, help is out there.

In this guide, we explore some of the ways that you can get assistance with energy bills in 2024, including the government schemes available for older people and those on a low income and some of the smart home upgrade schemes and clever hacks that anyone can use to reduce their annual energy bills.

What are the current government energy schemes?

A range of help is available to certain groups of people in the UK who need support with gas and electricity bills. The schemes include:

Low-Income Cost of Living Payments

A £900 Cost of Living Payment has been available to specific households since spring 2023 and is paid in instalments.

  • The first instalment of £301 was paid during spring 2023
  • The second instalment of £300 was paid during autumn 2023
  • The third instalment of £299 will be paid by spring 2024

The cost of living payment is paid automatically if you're eligible, so you don't need to complete an application. You may be entitled if you receive any of the following means-tested benefits or tax credits:

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

You will not be eligible if your benefits were reduced to £0 between 18 August and 17 September 2023 or if your tax credit entitlement for the tax year is below £26.

The Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born before 25 September 1957, you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a 'Winter Fuel Payment'. If you’re eligible, you’ll get a letter in October or November telling you:

  • How much money you’ll receive
  • Which bank account it will be paid into - this is usually the same account as your State Pension or other benefits

The winter fuel payment should be paid no later than 26 January 2024. Contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre if it hasn't been paid into your account by this date.

Pensioner Cost of Living Payments

Pension credit of between £150 and £300 will be paid automatically on top of the Winter Fuel Payment for eligible households. If you were born before 25 September 1957 and receive the Winter Fuel Payment, you will automatically receive the pensioner cost of living payment at the same time.  

The Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund helps households pay for essentials like food and energy bills. It differs from council to council, so it's worth checking what amount you can claim from your local council. It's currently running until 31 March 2024.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme offers £150 off energy bills over winter 2023 to 2024. It's offered as a one-off discount applied to your electricity bill between early October 2023 and 31 March 2024.

It has not been announced yet whether this scheme will be available for winter 2024 to 2025.

You could be eligible if you:

And either:

  • Have high energy costs. This is based on your property type, its age and floor area. You can check your eligibility for the discount through the government’s website (England and Wales)
  • Fit your energy supplier's criteria (Scotland)

You’ll receive a letter and get the discount automatically if you’re eligible. You only need to apply via your energy supplier if you’re on a low income in Scotland.

The Cold Weather Payment

A Cold Weather Payment is a payment to help with fuel costs during periods of particularly cold weather.

The temperature where you live has to be 0⁰C or below for at least 7 consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March.

You should get a Cold Weather Payment if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

Payments will be automatically added to your existing benefits, and you'll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. You don’t need to apply, but you may need to tell Jobcentre Plus if you have a baby or if a child under 5 comes to live with you. 

Please note, these payments will not affect your other benefits.

What support can I get from my energy supplier?

If you're struggling to pay your gas and electricity bills or think you may soon face some difficulty, contact your energy supplier as soon as possible.

Energy suppliers must work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford.

You can discuss:

  • Debt repayment payment breaks or reductions
  • A review of your payments and debt repayments
  • More time to pay
  • Advice on how to use less energy
  • Access to hardship funds
  • Priority Service registration - a free support service

Energy efficiency improvements for your home

There is also government help available for certain home improvements that will increase energy efficiency and, in turn, decrease your monthly bills.

You can apply for support from the Great British Insulation Scheme for free or cheaper insulation. You can be a homeowner, landlord or tenant. If you're a tenant, you'll need your landlord's permission before installing insulation. You can check if you're eligible on the Gov.UK website, and if you are, your energy supplier will be in touch.

For additional grants to improve your home's energy efficiency, check out everything you need to know about boiler grants, our updated guide to solar panel grants, or read about the government grants available to help you pay for heat pumps.

For quicker, simpler solutions to save money on your energy bills, try implementing some of these tips and tricks at home to make your money go further.