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Government help with winter gas and electricity bills

There are several Government schemes available during the winter to help you pay your gas and electricity bills and keep warm during the cold weather.

Depending on your individual situation, you could be entitled to government help through a:

  • warm home discount
  • winter fuel payment, or
  • cold weather payment

Your gas and electricity are priority bills that should be accounted for in your monthly budget and kept up to date, especially as the consequences of not paying your gas or electricity bills could be serious.

What’s the warm home discount scheme?

The 2018 version of the warm home discount scheme gives you a discount of £140 off your electricity bill, paid directly to your energy supplier between September 2018 and March 2019. If your supplier also provides your gas, you could use the discount on your gas bill.

The warm home discount is in addition to your cold weather or winter fuel payments.

Who can apply warm home discount?

Two groups qualify for the discount: the 'core' group and the 'boarder' group. You’ll automatically be entitled to the warm home discount if, on 8 July 2018:

  • you were receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
  • your energy supplier was part of the scheme, and
  • your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill.

All three conditions need to be met to be included in the core group.

If this doesn’t apply to you, you could still be entitled to the discount if:

  • your energy supplier is part of the scheme
  • you’re on a low income, or
  • you get certain means-tested benefits

This is the boarder group. To obtain the payment you’ll need to apply directly to your energy supplier and stay with them until the discount is paid.

For more information on how to apply, check gov.uk.

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What’s the cold weather payment scheme?

Between November and March, you could be entitled to extra payments of £25 (2018 figures) if the weather drops to or below zero degrees Celsius in your local area for seven days in a row.

Who can apply cold weather payment?

You could be entitled to a cold weather payment if you receive a range of benefits, including:

  • Pension credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Universal credit
  • Support for mortgage interest

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, go to gov.uk.

What’s the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment entitles you to between £100 and £300 towards your heating bills. The payments are usually made between November and December to help keep you and your home warm over the winter.

Who can apply for the winter fuel payment?

To qualify for a winter fuel payment, you’ll need to:

  • have been born on or before 5 November 1953, and
  • lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 17 to 23 September 2019

If you’re entitled to a winter fuel payment, your other benefits won’t be affected. To find out more about who’s eligible and how to apply, visit gov.uk.

I’m struggling with my gas and electricity bills. Can you help?

If you’re struggling to manage your bills, we offer free and confidential debt advice and debt solutions to help you get your finances back on track.