Help with energy costs
This information is about payments, schemes and grants that could help with your energy costs.
You may be able to get extra help with managing your gas and electricity bills by accessing payments and schemes run by the UK government or regional governments. It's important to speak with your energy supplier and let them know about your situation.
You should read this information alongside our information about ways to keep warm without the worry.
Payments to help with energy bills
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There are several government payments available to help you with higher bills during the winter months. Find out how to apply for these at gov.uk or nidirect.gov.uk.
Cold Weather Payment
When a winter has been particularly cold (temperatures of 0°C or lower for seven days in a row), the UK government makes a weekly payment of £25 to people who receive certain benefits. Cold Weather Payments will automatically be made on top of your usual benefits.
Winter Fuel Payment
This is a UK government scheme to help older people keep warm during winter. You could get this extra payment if you were born on or before the 5th January 1952 (the date changes every year). The amount you receive depends on your individual circumstances, such as whether you live with another qualifying person and how old they are.
Warm Home Discount (England, Scotland and Wales only)
This gives certain people a refund on electricity bills each year. The payment is made by your electricity supplier. It's only the major energy suppliers that are required to make this payment. Smaller suppliers may not offer it.
Some people are automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount, including those who get certain benefits. Participating energy companies may offer it to people affected by cancer, but you will need to apply for it and meet certain criteria.
To apply, contact your electricity supplier. If you are not eligible under your supplier’s scheme or if they don’t offer the Warm Home Discount, you could consider switching to another supplier.
To find out more, visit gov.uk or call our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 for information and support. Suppliers in Northern Ireland don’t offer this payment. See below for information on the Warm Homes scheme, which is specific to Northern Ireland.
Energy efficiency schemes
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There are a number of schemes from energy companies and the government to help you make your home more energy efficient.
Energy Companies Obligation (England, Scotland and Wales)
Under this scheme, the major energy companies in England, Scotland and Wales are legally required to help their customers save energy. This includes people with low income and health problems.
The help available could include things like repairing a boiler, fitting a new boiler and installing insulation.
You don’t have to be a customer of an energy company to get help from their scheme. If your energy company is included in this scheme, they should explain the help they can offer on their website. You can find out more about this scheme at the gov.uk website.
Nest is the Welsh government’s scheme to make homes warmer and more fuel efficient. Nest provides advice about saving energy, managing money, whether you’re on the best tariff and whether you can get any benefits. You may also be able to get some free home improvements to help save energy, such as central heating and loft insulation. You can call Nest free on 0808 808 22 44 or visit the Nest website.
Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland
This is a package of schemes open to people in Scotland. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for:
a free home energy check
free checks to see if you can claim benefits or tax credits
free or subsidised insulation and other measures to make your home more energy efficient.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust website or call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282 for more information.
The Green Deal (England, Scotland and Wales)
The Green Deal is linked with the Energy Companies Obligation. It is designed to help you make energy saving changes to your home without paying the costs up front. Instead, you can pay the costs through a regular payment on your electricity bill. The cost should not be more than the savings you make on your fuel bills. The Green Deal charge involves the meter and will pass on to the next person who moves into your home.
Warm Homes (Northern Ireland)
This scheme is for people who are receiving certain benefits. It aims to help people make their homes more energy efficient by adding things like loft insulation. To find more information, visit the Warm Homes website or call 0800 988 0559.
Charitable grants and other help
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A number of charities, including Macmillan, provide grants for people who are having difficulty paying their fuel costs or meeting other expenses.
To apply for a Macmillan grant you need to go through a health or social care professional.
In extreme cases, if you don’t have enough money to meet your immediate short-term needs or those of your family, you may be able to get help from a discretionary support scheme. Contact your local council for more details. In Northern Ireland, call the crisis loan claim line on 0800 028 8822.
Keeping warm with npower
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Through our partnership with npower we have developed a Fuel Management Programme (FMP). The programme aims to help people affected by cancer who are either experiencing high fuel bills or struggling with the adverse affects from the cold and damp in their homes.
If you are an npower customer and are spending more than 10% of your income on fuel (and have limited savings) then call Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm) to find out if you are eligible for the FMP.
If you are accepted on to the programme you could save money on your bills, receive assistance with arrears and energy efficiency advice, and have a full benefits check.
Call our cancer support specialists free on 0808 808 00 00 for more information.
Helping people in cold, damp homes
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Health Through Warmth (HTW) was set up by npower in partnership with National Energy Action (NEA) and the NHS in 2000, the scheme operates in 15 areas of England and Wales. To find out where, you can have a look at their website.
HTW accesses grants if you are eligible and, depending on your circumstances, can also seek assistance from charitable organisations and the unique npower Health Through Warmth Crisis Fund to help pay for the heating or insulation measures required to improve the levels of warmth, comfort and quality of life for vulnerable people with cold and damp related illnesses. You do not need to be an npower customer to be referred to the scheme, but you will need to be referred by a health worker who has attended HTW awareness sessions.
Call the Health through Warmth main office on 0845 070 2809 for more information.
There are heating grants available mainly for people who are disabled, on a low income or over 60. For more information contact the EAGA partnership:
Freephone 0800 316 2808
Freephone 0800 316 2815
Contact Scottish Gas who now run the central heating and warm deal programmes, freephone 0800 316 1653
In Northern Ireland
Freephone 0800 181 66.