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Help with energy costs

This information applies to people living in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

16 tips to save on your energy bills

Innovate iconSmall changes can add up to significant savings – these suggestions could help to counter the impact of rising energy bills:

1/ If you’re struggling to pay bills (or caring for someone who is), contact your energy supplier and network operator to see if you (or they) can be included on their Priority Services Register. This applies if you live in England, Scotland or Wales and you can check if you’re eligible here

In Northern Ireland, some suppliers offer customer care schemes. Contact your supplier to see what support they can offer. You can also find out about help offered by the NIE Networks’ Critical Care Scheme if you rely on life-supporting electrical equipment:

2/ Your energy supplier will have a department to help customers who are struggling with paying their bills and have a customer duty to work with you to help. For instance, they could set up a more manageable payment plan.

3/ If you are a disabled person or care for a disabled person, you could look into applying for a grant – Disability Rights UK has useful information here:

4/ Scope runs a Disability Energy Support Service. Find out more here:

5/ Check the thermostat is not set at too high a temperature (unless someone has a particular illness or condition that means they require extra heat).

6/ Remember to wear lots of layers to trap warm air and keep warm; this is more effective than just wearing a cosy jumper.

7/ You could keep warm with hot water bottles at night-time.

8/ Close curtains, whenever possible, to keep in the heat.  

9/ Turn off the TV at the wall rather than using stand by.

10/ Try to reduce draughts in the home with draught excluders.

11/ You may also be entitled to extra help to improve your home’s insulation. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales and want to make energy improvements to your home or heating system, you may be eligible for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. Find out more.

12/ Try to transfer to LED lights, which use less energy than conventional lights.

13/ If you have a dishwasher, tumble dryer or washing machine, try to reduce how often you use them and use a lower temperature for washing clothes.

14/ See if you're eligible for a rebate of £150 from your local council. This may apply if you are in a Council Tax band from A-D. Check if this applies to you at:

15/ See below for discount schemes and certain benefits that you may also be eligible for. There are also details of many useful sources of help listed here on the Citizens Advice website. Contact our Carers UK Helpline team on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out if you can apply for any other benefits.

16/ Have you considered a smart meter? This can help you see exactly how much energy you're using and can enable you take regular meter readings. Find out more

We know that not all of these tips will be applicable to everyone's caring situation, but we hope you will find some of them helpful.

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Winter Fuel Payments

The Winter Fuel Payment is a yearly tax-free payment of between £250 and £600 to help people pay for their heating in winter. Getting the payment will not affect any of your other benefits.

To qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment you must meet the following conditions:

  • you were born on or before 25 September 1956 
  • you must have lived in the UK for at least one day throughout the qualifying week of 19 to 25 September 2022. There are several exceptions to this rule - see this link.

How much you get depends on your circumstances during the qualifying week (19 to 25 September 2022), and you can see further information about this here.

Payment is automatic if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • you received a payment last year
  • you are getting a State Pension
  • you or your partner are getting one of the following benefits: Pension Credit; income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA); income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If any of the above don’t apply to you, for example – if you are getting Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and/or Child Benefit, then you will need to make a claim as your payment will not be automatic. To find out about claiming, call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160 or send an email to make an enquiry. You can also download a claim form here (if you live in England, Wales or Scotland) or here (if you live in Northern Ireland).

Payments are generally made between November and December. To report a change in circumstances or to check why you didn't receive your payment (if not received by 31 March), contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, whose details can be found here:

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Cold Weather Payments

This scheme runs from the start of November to the end of March. If you're receiving certain benefits, you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 for each week between 1 November and 31 March, where the average temperature in your local area is at or below freezing over seven consecutive days. Getting the payments will not affect any of your other benefits. 

You are entitled to Cold Weather Payments if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • you receive Pension Credit
  • you receive Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and have one or more of the following:
    • a disability premium or a pensioner premium
    • a disabled child premium within your Income Support or income-based JSA
    • Child Tax Credit with a disabled child element or a severely disabled child element; or
    • a child under five years old.
  • you receive Universal Credit, you are not employed or self-employed, and you have one or more of the following: a child under five years old; or a limited capability for work element (with or without a work-related activity element) (or would do so but for the fact that you have a carer element)
  • you receive Universal Credit and you have a disabled child element within your Universal Credit award (in this situation you can be in employment or self-employment).

You don't need to apply. If you are entitled to a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically. Cold Weather Payments are usually paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments. After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should receive a payment to your account within 14 working days.

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Warm Home Discount

If you meet certain conditions, you could benefit from a one-off discount of £150 (for winter 2022/23) to reduce your electricity bill. If you are on a low income or receive certain means-tested benefits, you may be eligible. This would be taken off your bill directly rather than paid to you. Receiving the discount will not affect any of your other benefits. 

In Northern Ireland, there is a different scheme available called the Affordable Warmth Scheme:

In England, Wales or Scotland, see the You Gov website to find out if you meet the conditions to qualify for this discount: or contact the Warm Home Discount Team through your energy provider. Please note that different rules around eligibility will apply depending on which nation you live in.

Each electricity supplier that is part of the scheme has their own extra eligibility conditions, and you should contact your supplier to see if you meet their conditions, and if so how to apply.

You can see a list of many of the energy suppliers that are part of the scheme here.

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Other help

Reducing your fuel bills

Check to see that you are receiving all the government support you're entitled to in the 'Energy bills support factsheet'. 

To see where cuts can be made, it may be helpful to compare how much electrical appliances cost to use using the comparison tool on the Citizens Advice website.

LEAP is a free energy and money saving service. They provide a free in-home advice visit offering:

  • free simple energy saving measures such as installing LED light bulbs and draught-proofing
  • a check that you are on the best energy tariff
  • the option to arrange a free money advice consultation if this would be helpful
  • help with finding funding for further energy-saving home improvements.

Find out more by visiting

You could contact your supplier to see if they have any discounted tariffs for vulnerable customers. Some suppliers also offer help with energy efficiency measures such as insulation or draught proofing.

If you are unable to benefit from a special discounted tariff, it is still worth asking if you could be paying less. They may be able to offer you a cheaper deal, or you might be able to save money by paying in a different way, for example by direct debit.

You may also want to shop around to see if you can find a better deal from another supplier, by using a price comparison website. To use one of these services you will need to provide information such as your postcode, the name of your current supplier and the name of your deal, and an idea of how much you spend on gas and electricity. You will then be provided with details of how much you would pay if you changed to other suppliers. You should also call the gas and electricity suppliers directly to confirm these prices, before making any decision.

Note: This information does not apply to Northern Ireland. There is only one electricity supplier and there are only two gas suppliers. You can still contact your supplier to see if you are on the best price plan and to ask if there is other help they may be able to provide.

Other energy saving improvements

The Energy Saving Trust offers independent expert advice on saving energy in your home and has information on their website which you can view here.

If you own or rent your home and are considering making energy efficiency improvements, there are a number of schemes provided by the government, energy suppliers and local councils for example that may be able to help. Some schemes are only available to people on low incomes or certain benefits.

The schemes available will depend on whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The charity Turn2us provides some useful information on their web page here.

ECHO (Emergency Central Heating Offer) is a boiler replacement service. They offer emergency assistance to repair or replace broken or condemned boilers. To find out more, visit:

On the Citizens Advice website, there is a tool that enables you to work out the predicted costs, over a period of time, of using certain appliances. This could help you identify where you could potentially make savings. Take a look and try out the tool here

Help with fuel debts

If you are in debt with your electricity or gas supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help you with this payment. Whether you will be able to get a grant will depend on your household income and savings/capital and your household circumstances. In addition, grant providers generally like to see that you have had debt advice before you try and get help in the form of a grant. See our Help with debt page for details of how to get debt advice.

Some electricity and gas suppliers have Trusts or Funds which can offer grants to their own customers who are in debt:

In addition, the British Gas Energy Trust  can provide grants to those facing fuel poverty with electricity or gas arrears. For certain types of grant, you do not need to be a British Gas customer to apply. However it is recommended you seek advice first. They have detailed information about the requirements to apply on their website.

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