Help with energy bills

There are schemes to help you manage the cost of fuel bills and to make energy-saving changes to your home.

There are several ways you might be able to get help with your energy bills, including:

  • Cold Weather Payments, which these are £25 a week during cold weather.
  • Winter Fuel Payment for people over the State Pension age for women.
  • Warm Home Discount in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Large energy companies may offer a refund on energy bills. Contact your energy supplier to find out more.

There are several schemes to help make homes more fuel efficient:

  • The Energy Companies Obligation in England, Scotland and Wales ensures that major energy companies help households save energy, for example by repairing a boiler. Contact the Energy Saving Trust for more information.
  • Nest is the Welsh Assembly’s scheme to keep homes warm. To find out more, visit nestwales.org.uk.
  • The Renewable Heat Incentive in Northern Ireland provides grants to make energy-saving changes. To find out more, visit nidirect.gov.uk/domestic-rhi-introduction.

Accessing payments

You may be able to get extra help with your energy costs from payments and schemes run by the UK government or regional governments. The government have a grants calculator to help you find out what is available for your situation.

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 if you are in Northern Ireland.

Cold Weather Payment

When a winter has been particularly cold (if there are 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 May 1953 (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)

The Warm Home Discount is a UK government policy that gives certain people a discount on electricity bills.

  • The payment is made by your electricity supplier.
  • It helps vulnerable customers and people on a low income to heat and insulate their homes.
  • All the major energy suppliers are required to make this payment, and some smaller suppliers may offer it.

Some people automatically qualify for the Warm Home Discount, including people who get certain benefits. If you are affected by cancer you may be able to get the discount, but you will need to apply for it. Whether you get the discount will depend on your circumstances and which energy supplier you are with.

To apply, contact your electricity supplier. If you cannot get the discount 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, call 0345 603 9439.

You can also call our Energy Advice Team on 0808 808 00 00 for information and support. Energy suppliers in Northern Ireland don’t offer this payment, but do have an Affordable Warmth Scheme.

Keeping warm without the worry

This animation has tips and advice on how to best manage your energy bills whilst you're being treated for cancer.

About our cancer information videos

Keeping warm without the worry

This animation has tips and advice on how to best manage your energy bills whilst you're being treated for cancer.

About our cancer information videos


Accessing schemes

There  are lots 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 the Energy Companies Obligation, the major energy companies in England, Scotland and Wales are legally required to help their customers save energy. This includes people on a low income or with health problems.

The help available could include things like fitting a new energy-efficient boiler or upgrading 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.

Nest (Wales)

Nest is a Welsh government scheme. 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.

Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland

The Home Energy Efficiency Programmes are a package of schemes for people in Scotland. Depending on your situation, you may be able to get:

  • a free home energy check
  • free checks to see if you can claim benefits or tax credits
  • free insulation, or money towards insulation and other measures to make your home more energy efficient.

Call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282 for more information.

Affordable Warmth Scheme (Northern Ireland)

The Affordable Warmth Scheme is for people who are on low incomes. It aims to help them make their homes more energy efficient by adding things like loft insulation. Call 0300 200 7874 for more information.


Accessing charitable grants and other help

A number of charities, including Macmillan, provide grants for people who are having difficulty paying their energy costs or meeting other expenses.

You need to apply for a Macmillan Grant through a health or social care professional or a Macmillan Welfare Rights Adviser. To find out more, call our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00.

Local help

In extreme cases, if you don’t have enough money to meet your immediate short-term needs or your family’s needs, 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

Through our partnership with npower we have developed the npower Macmillan Fund. 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

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 the npower 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.

EAGA partnership

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:

In England

Freephone 0800 316 2808

In Wales

Freephone 0800 316 2815

In Scotland

Contact Scottish Gas who now run the central heating and warm deal programmes, freephone 0800 316 1653

In Northern Ireland

Freephone 0800 181 66.

Back to Help with bills and housing costs

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