As we approach the winter months and the weather gets colder, there are a few ways you can get help to manage rising energy bills.
WCHG’s Financial Inclusion team have put together the following information to help support you but if you are struggling or would like more information, you can contact the team by email at email@example.com, phone 0300 111 0000 or via the WCHG App.
Cold Weather Payment
This government initiative is only available if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days. To check the temperature by postcode, go to coldweatherpayments.dwp.gov.uk.
You qualify for a Cold Weather Payment if you get Pension Credit or income-related Employment and Support Allowance with a support or work-related activity component in the main phase. You may also be eligible if you are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance in the assessment phase and have one of the following:
- a pensioner premium, higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium
- a disability premium, enhanced disability premium or severe disability premium
- a disabled child premium
- Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- a child who is under five in the family
Winter Fuel Payment
You qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if both of the following apply:
- you were born on or before 26 September 1955
- you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 20 to 26 September 2021 - this is called the ‘qualifying week’.
For more details see gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment.
Warm Homes Discount
You could get £140 off your electricity bill under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Check with your supplier first to see if they offer the Warm Home Discount. For details of different suppliers’ criteria visit gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme.
Local Welfare Provision
If you are struggling to pay your electricity or gas bills, Manchester City Council can pay between £30 and £49 to buy you emergency fuel.
To qualify you must:
- live within the area covered by Manchester City Council and
- be 16 or over and
- have no capital or savings and
- get one of the following benefits: Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment Support Allowance, or get Guaranteed Pension Credit.
Your household must have:
- a child under five-years-old or
- someone who has a disability or serious health needs, or
- someone who is over pension age
- someone who is vulnerable
Go to manchester.gov.uk/info/200008/benefits_and_support/6300/get_help_to_pay_for_fuel to find out more.
Groundwork is a federation of charities which offers energy saving information, advice and free energy efficiency products. Visit groundwork.org.uk/greendoctor/get-help/ for more information.
Contact your supplier
Speak to your supplier if you are struggling to pay your energy bills as most of them will give you some credit if you are in difficulty, but this will need to be paid back over time.
Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP)
LEP is an energy and money saving service which can help you make your home warmer and more energy-efficient. Call free on 0800 060 7567 for more information or visit applyforleap.org.uk.
Tel: 0800 049 9722 or visit uswitch.com to help you compare energy prices from a range of suppliers, so you can find an energy deal that’s right for you.
Citizens Advice Manchester
Are you struggling with your energy bills or have a problem with your provider?
There’s plenty of help and support if your energy supplier goes out of business. You will not stop receiving gas and electricity. Energy supplier regulator, Ofgem will move your account to a new supplier although this may take a few weeks.
Make a note or take a photo of your meter reading as soon as possible. Download any bills while you’re waiting for your new supplier to contact you.
If you’re in a vulnerable situation, check out what extra help might be available through the Priority Services Register by contacting your energy supplier or network operator.
Call Citizens Advice Manchester on 0808 278 7800:
- if your energy supplier goes out of business
- to apply to charitable trusts for help with arrears
- for help finding the cheapest tariff and supplier
- to deal with fuel debts
- to budget for your ongoing energy consumption
When you’re behind with your water bill payments, it can be a stressful time. United Utilities asks customers to call them as soon as possible on 0800 072 6767 so they are aware of your circumstances and can give you the right financial support.
Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation which is working to address the climate emergency.
A respected and trusted voice on energy efficiency and clean energy solutions, it continues to work towards a smart, decarbonised, decentralised energy system.
Every year the trust empowers millions of householders to make better energy choices.
For energy-saving home advice, call the trust free on 0800 444 202.