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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.

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A number of measures are being rolled out to help people who are struggling financially because of coronavirus. These include credit card and mortgage payment breaks, changes to overdraft charges, help for renters and the extension of the moratorium period for debts in Scotland.

Read our guides:

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?

If you're eligible, the 2019-2020 version of the warm home discount scheme gives you a discount of £140 off your electricity bill. Payments are made directly to your supplier between October 2019 and March 2020, and will be reflected on your energy bill statement.

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


Who can apply for the 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 7 July 2019:

  • 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 1 November 2019 and 31 March 2020, you could be entitled to extra payments of £25 if the weather drops to or below zero degrees Celsius in your local area for seven days in a row.

Who can apply for the 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 for winter 2019-2020, you’ll need to:


  • have been born on or before 5 November 1954, and
  • lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 16 to 22 September 2019

cog iconThe deadline for claiming payments towards winter 2019 to 2020 is 31 March 2020. You must reapply every year to claim your winter fuel payments.

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.