HOUSEHOLDS can get urgent help with their energy bills as nearly half of the nation is struggling to pay for spiralling costs.
Around 48% customers are finding it "very or somewhat difficult" to afford their energy bills, latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
It comes as a cost of living crisis is crippling household budgets, as runaway inflation, which stands at 9.9%, drives bills up.
In a bid to bring spiralling energy bills under control, the new prime minister, Liz Truss, announced costs would be frozen at £2,500 for two years under an energy price guarantee.
It is expected to save the typical household £1,000, but it still means bills will go up in October from £1,971 to £2,500 – an increase of £529.
A £400 energy bill discount will be applied to bills, which will be paid in six month instalments from October.
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Households will receive a £66 energy bill discount in October and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.
But that will barely scrape the sides as households see their bills jump.
If you're struggling, there are ways to get help now – we explain all the energy bill support you can get.
Pensioner cost of living payment – worth £300
In November, a £300 one-off "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" will be paid out to eight million households.
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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.
To qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, the following must apply:
- You were born on or before 25 September 1956
- You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 – this is called the ‘qualifying week’
Cost of living disability payment – worth £150
Over six million people with disabilities are set to receive £150 from Tuesday, September 20.
It will help those with disabilities pay for any energy intensive equipment they might have.
The payment will be made directly into their bank account and households won't need to apply.
You can get the cash if you claim one of the following:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
Warm Home Discount letters sent out – worth £150
Millions are in line to get a £150 discount off their energy bills between December and March 2023.
You'll be eligible for the help if you received any of the following benefits up to August 21 this year:
- 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
The Department for Work and Pensions, who's overseeing the scheme, will send you letter in October to confirm if you'll get the payment later on in the year.
Payments for the £150 Warm Home Discount scheme will likely begin from December.
It's up to individual energy companies to decide when they will give their customers the discount.
Household support fund
Local councils are giving out cash top help households struggling with bills and other essential costs.
How much you can get depends on where you live and in many areas.
To qualify you'll usually need to be a recipient of council tax support, and you need to be struggling financially.
You can search for yours using the search tool on gov.uk – just enter your postcode.
Local councils also offer welfare assistance schemes all year round that can help you with bills.
Fuel vouchers – £50
If you're on a prepayment meter you might be able to get a one-off voucher to top up.
The fuel voucher scheme comes via the Fuel Bank Foundation charity, and it's offered through a range of organisations, like food banks and Citizens Advice.
Ask your local council how to get one – you can find yours via gov.uk by searching your postcode.
The voucher should help you cover around two weeks worth of electricity use.
Some energy companies may also issue their own vouchers, so ask your supplier directly.
Energy grants – worth up to £1,500
There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it'll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
The British Gas Energy Trust has previously paid struggling households up to £1,500 – and you don't need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this help.
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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
- Octopus Energy Octo Assist fund
- Ovo's debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power's hardship fund
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