YOU can get hundreds of pounds knocked off your energy bill by applying for discounts – we explain all you need to know.
Households are bracing themselves for a tough winter as energy bills are expected to soar by the end of the year.
While by April next year, bills could jump to an eye-watering £6,089 in April, consultants Auxilione predicts.
Spiralling costs are getting so out of hand that energy suppliers are backing a plan to freeze bills this winter.
Firms are pressing for the government to stop the price cap – which limits how much suppliers can charge customers for their energy – rising from its current level of £1,971.
It comes as Ofgem revealed the price cap will be reviewed twice as often annually – which means bills will likely increase more frequently.
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But there is no guarantee a bill freeze could happen – which is why you'll want to get clued up on all the help available now.
We explain all the discounts you can get, who is eligible, and how to apply.
Household Support fund – up to £200
Local councils have been given a slice of funding from a £500million pot of cash called the Household Support Fund.
What help you can get varies depending on where you live, as each authority decides how best to dish out the cash.
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But some councils are giving out cash payments which you can put towards energy bills.
Households in Birmingham can claim £200 in payments to help with bills, for example.
While Runnymede Borough Council is awarding households between £50 and £80.
Each council has a different application process and eligibility requirements.
Find your local council using the government’s local council checker tool by inputting your postcode – then ask for more information.
Welfare assistance scheme – up to £1,000
Councils also run welfare assistance schemes.
These schemes are similar to the Household Support Fund, as you can claim help for essential bills – including energy costs.
But unlike the Household Support Fund, some councils may run the scheme – while others may not have one at all.
You'll want to contact your local authority to check if it is running a scheme and what the eligibility criteria is.
It means the help you can get – if any – will vary.
But The Sun found that residents in East Riding of Yorkshire could get £1,000 for essential bills – including energy.
Energy bill grants – up to £750
Energy suppliers offer cash grants to those hardest hit by bills rises.
For instance British Gas is giving out up to £750 through its hardship fund – and you don't even have to be a customer.
But the amount can vary according to your supplier and your circumstances.
But you'll likely have to prove that you are struggling financially to get the help.
Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF's energy customer support fund
- E.on's energy fund
- Npower's energy fund
- Ovo's debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power's hardship fund
Octopus – £350 discount
Thousands of households could be eligible for a £350 discount off their bills with supplier Octopus – but they have to live in certain areas.
The company is offering special tariffs for customers who live near a wind farm.
It will charge less energy when the wind blows, offering a 50% discount off each unit.
Octopus claims customers could save up to £350 on their energy bill per year under the deal.
Areas which are currently eligible for the deal are: Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, Caerphilly in South Wales, and now Halifax in Yorkshire for those living in the HX2 postcode area.
You can sign up to the tariff – if you are eligible – on Octopus Energy's website.
£650 cost of living payment
Anyone claiming Universal Credit and other means-tested benefits could be eligible for the £650 cost of living payment.
It will be dished out in two instalments – households already started to receive the first chunk, worth £326, last month.
Those on Tax Credits, are due to receive their payment from September.
The second payment will follow in autumn, worth £324.
The deadline to be eligible for the first payment was if you were in receipt of the eligible benefit payments as of May 25.
But if you missed this deadline, you could still be eligible for the second half of the payment – details on when this deadline is will be shared soon.
If you're eligible, you will receive the help automatically – there's no need to apply.
£400 energy bill discount
Around 29million households will get a £400 energy bill rebate.
The money won't be paid directly into your bank account, but instead will be taken off your energy bill in six instalments from October by your energy supplier.
In October and November £66 will be taken off, and £67 from December to March 2023.
However, there are a number of people who won't get the rebate.
Renters who pay "all-in" and Park Home tenants won't get the discount.
This is because the cash goes to the billpayer.
If you're a prepayment meter customer, you need to take action.
Traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with energy bill discount vouchers in the first week of each month, issued via text message, email or post, using the customer’s registered contact details.
You'll need to redeem this voucher in order to use it – you can do this from wherever you usually top up your meter.
Smart prepayment meter customers will see the energy bill discount credited directly to their smart prepayment meters in the first week of each month of delivery.
Experts have warned prepayment meter customers could miss out on the discount because of the way they have to claim it.
£150 cost of living payment for those with disabilities
Around six million disabled people will receive a £150 cost of living payment to help with their energy bills.
This payment is to help them pay for any energy intensive equipment they might have – as higher energy bills will have pushed up the cost of using them.
It's worth remembering that many disability benefit recipients also get means tested benefits – so this £150 sum is different to the £650 payment.
Like the £650 cash boost, the £150 help will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
The payment will be dished out next month.
£300 cost of living payment for pensioners
Either in November or December, a £300 one-off "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" will be paid out to eight million pensioner households.
It will be given to those who already get the Winter Fuel Payment – which is worth between £100 and £300 for those over state pension age.
The extra £300 boost will be paid on top of this support which means some eligible households will see their payments double this winter.
You can check out if you are eligible for the Winter Fuel payment in our explainer.
Direct debit discount – up to £140
Simply switching to pay your bills via direct debit could see you save up to £140.
Paying for your bills through this method is often a cheaper way of paying compared cash or cheque payments, or online or through an app.
The discount is automatic and most suppliers will add a line to your bill to say it has been applied.
This is the discount suppliers are offering customers:
- British Gas – 7% off bill, almost £140 for customers paying £1,971 a year
- Utilita customers can also get a 6% discount – almost £118 for someone paying £1,971
- Shell Energy – £96 a year discount
- Good Energy – up to £30 a year
Warm home discount scheme – £150
You can get £150 off your energy bills with the Warm Home Discount scheme.
It was previously worth £140 but has been boosted by £10 for the next batch of payments.
You used to have to apply for the payment – but now you no longer have to.
You will automatically qualify if you are receiving certain benefits.
Your energy supplier will automatically confirm your eligibility as long as you were receiving any of the qualifying benefits on or before Sunday August 21.
You'll need to be a recipient of one or more of the following benefits to qualify:
- Income support
- Income based jobseeker's allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Universal credit
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credits
- Pension credit guaranteed
- Pension credit savings credit
Charity grants – up to £750
You can search for charity grants that help you pay for gas and electricity bills.
The Sun found some charities are offering up to £750 to put towards your energy usage.
For example, the Fuel Bank Foundation charity offers households £49 worth of fuel vouchers in the winter months, and £30 from April 1 to October 31.
While cancer charity Macmillan has launched a new fund worth £3.5million to help people struggling with their bills – including energy costs.
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