Help with your heating and energy bills
If you live in a household where you struggle to pay your monthly energy bills or keep your home warm enough, you may be entitled to help.
If you own your own home or rent privately we may be able to offer you Advice on boilers, insulation and other energy saving advice schemes.
If the temperature in your home is affecting your health
Your doctor or health professional can refer you to us for heating, insulation and energy usage solutions and advice. Read the information in ourleaflet.
Help to pay your bills
You can't afford to top up your prepayment meter
Tell your supplier if you can't afford to top up because you're ill with coronavirus or following guidance to 'self-isolate'. You'll find their contact details on their website or on your bill. They'll try to help you find other ways to keep your energy supply connected, such as letting someone else top up for you, adding funds to your account or sending you a pre-loaded top-up card.
You'll need to pay back any credit your supplier gives you - ask them when and how you'll need to do this. If your meter is outside and it's safe to get to it, it's a good idea to leave it unlocked. This means someone else could top it up for you.
For more information see Citizen's Advice: you can't afford to top up your prepayment meter.
Help with energy bills and energy debts
We can help you reduce your energy bills by finding a more competitive tariff and switching supplier, as well as offering fuel debt advice. The average home energy bill is now £1,340 per year and there are many tariffs available from utility companies which can be confusing.
Our Managing Money Better service can visit your home to carry out a free home energy assessment, which will include:
- assessing your fuel bills and help you to switch suppliers if savings can be made
- making sure you understand your heating system and controls
- understanding your bill and how to set heating controllers
- providing energy efficiency advice and arrange practical support, if needed, such as insulation
- dealing with fuel debt, including negotiation of affordable payment arrangements and grant applications to Charitable Trusts for arrears and essential household items
- dealing with complex energy issues such as disputing a bill
- accessing grants for insulation, gas boilers and other energy efficiency measures
- energy benefits or schemes (for example Warm Home Discount and the Priority Services Register)
- budgeting for ongoing energy consumption
In addition to advice on your energy bills, we can help you with managing your money and refer you to Benefits advice or help with a benefits appeal and other services for advice on your benefit entitlements and other help with your finances.
As several Energy Companies have recently gone bust, it's very important you check your energy bills regularly. This is to ensure your gas and electricity payments keep up with your actual energy usage and you are not underpaying and falling into fuel debt with your Energy Company.
Contact us for more information.
Save money on your bills
Our Managing Money Better Service can give you free and impartial advice to help you save money on your energy bills and keep your home warm. Contact us for more information.
What to do if an energy company goes into insolvency
If the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) revokes an energy company's supply licence (usually because of insolvency), it can appoint a 'supplier of last resort' on a case-by-case basis to take over the supply of gas and/or electricity to the insolvent supplier's customers. See Ofgem - energy advice for households for guidance if an energy company has gone into insolvency and to find out what Ofgem has in place to assist customers of that company.
Use less energy in your home
See our Use less energy in your home page for information about:
- Gas boiler grants
- First time central heating grant
- Green Homes Grant
- Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme
Cold weather payments
You may get a Cold Weather Payment from the Government if the average temperature in your post code area has been recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days. The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March. To qualify you must meet the eligibility rules for certain benefits. See Cold weather payments for more information.
Warm home discount scheme
Energy companies must, by law, offer extra help to their most vulnerable customers during the winter months. If you're a pensioner, or you're on a low income, you could qualify for a rebate of £140. Find out more and check whether you qualify for a Warm Home Discount.
Fuel poverty affects the most vulnerable in our society - families with low incomes living in damp cold homes, the elderly struggling to heat just one room in the depths of winter. In rural areas of County Durham, the problem may be exacerbated. One-in-three homes are not connected to mains gas and are of solid wall construction - making them expensive and difficult to insulate and heat.
Find out more about what we are doing to help reduce fuel poverty in the county on our Housing regeneration - partnerships, policies and plans page.
In partnership with
- Warm Homes Campaign