We hope you all had a good winter break. Now we’ve reached the colder months, lots of us are spending more on our energy. And coronavirus (COVID-19) is also having an impact. If you need extra support to manage your energy, or you’re struggling to pay, help is available. We’ve put together a list of things you might find useful – and that you might like to share with others.
Warm Home Discount
If you’re eligible, you could get £140 off your energy bills with the Warm Home Discount this winter. Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis, and we’re currently 85% full. So check if you’re eligible and apply for the Warm Home Discount today.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government grant, designed to help reduce your household energy costs and lower carbon emissions. It covers home improvements that increase fuel efficiency – things like replacing a broken heating system, upgrading your boiler or getting insulation.
If you receive certain means tested benefits, you could be eligible for ECO funding. Find out more about ECO from Ofgem, the energy regulator. And visit our friends at myecohome.org to see if you qualify. If you do, they’ll take you through the next steps to book a survey for your home.
Priority Services Register
We offer free support services if you or someone you live with needs additional support to manage your energy supply. For example, if you:
- are aged 60 or older
- have a child under 5 years old
- have a disability or long term health problem
- have recently experienced a life changing event, such as a bereavement or job loss
The services we offer include advance notice of planned power cuts, nominating someone to help you manage your account, and statements in a format that works better for you, for example in large print. You can register for extra support in your Bulb account.
Gas Safety Checks
If you own your home, it’s a good idea to book a gas safety check every year, to make sure your appliances are working safely and efficiently. If you’re on our Priority Services Register, you might be eligible for a free gas safety check. To find out if you’re eligible, and for more information on staying gas safe, read our gas safe guide.
Additional energy grants, advice and benefits
The energy grants you can access often depend on where you live. So it may be worth taking a closer look at what’s available in your area:
And, The Energy Saving Trust is a great place to start if you are looking for some tips on how to manage your energy usage. They’re an independent organisation, working to address the climate emergency and find ways to bring about a positive change.
The government has also shared advice on how to claim benefits if your income has been impacted by coronavirus.
Help to manage your energy payments
Get help online with Tully
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, we’ve partnered with Tully to help you manage your monthly energy payments. Tully is an independent organisation that helps people keep on top of their finances. They’re authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide debt advice.
If you agree, Tully will ask you for some information to find out what you can afford to pay towards your energy. And within one working day, they’ll help us to understand if we should adjust your monthly energy payments. If they recommend we lower them, we’ll do that automatically. You can get free advice from Tully today.
Get help on the phone from Citizens Advice or Stepchange
If you prefer, you can talk to one of our partner charities about managing your energy payments. They’ll arrange a conversation with you which will take around 40 minutes. Within 2 weeks, they’ll let us know if they think we should make adjustments to your payments.
Here’s how to get in touch:
Citizens Advice: contact your local branch
StepChange: use their free online debt advice tool, or call free on 0800 138 1111
Local support if you’re shielding or self isolating
If you’re shielding or self isolating, there are 2 simple ways to access local groups offering support. They can help with shopping for food and essential items, and collecting and delivering prescriptions from the pharmacy. If you’re finding it hard on your own, they also offer check-ins or chat calls on the phone.
- NHS Volunteer Responders - set up by NHS England, and working with the Royal Voluntary Service, this team has already completed over a million tasks. Get support or become a volunteer
- Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK - a simple way to connect people to local community support groups. Use the postcode lookup to find organisations close to home. Get in touch via their Facebook Groups, WhatsApp groups or websites.
Let us know if there’s anything else we can do
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us below.