Help with heating problems and how to pay for them
Gas and electricity suppliers have agreed an emergency package of measures to ensure that vulnerable households don’t get cut off during the coronavirus outbreak. News report here
Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity markets) have published advice and information on Coronavirus and your energy supply.
You may think that your home needs better heating and insulation, but you’re not sure who can help or how you can afford it. Or perhaps you want to make a complaint about your energy supplier. If so, there are many organisations and schemes in place to help you.
- Getting Advice on Heating and Insulation
- Help towards heating and insulation
- Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments
- Find a cheaper energy provider
- Threatened with disconnection?
- Other Useful Information
Energy Services, Newcastle City Council provide advice on a helpline about energy use in the home, how to reduce fuel bills, and how to keep warm. They can also help with dealing with gas and electricity suppliers and reducing fuel debt.
Energy Saving Trust Advice offers free and independent advice that can help you to reduce your household’s energy consumption, whilst making your home more comfortable, and lowering your fuel bills.
The advice and information they provide includes:
- the local grants that are available for cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and heating systems;
- top energy saving tips;
- free home energy checks;
- the best fuel switching options; and
- what energy saving appliances and sources of household renewable energy are available.
Please note: if you rent your home your landlord will usually be responsible for providing adequate heating and insulation. If you wish to have some work done, you must first receive written permission from your landlord.
There are several organisations that may be able to help pay towards the costs of heating and insulation improvements to your home.
Energy Services, Newcastle City Council can offer advice via their helpline about energy use in the home, how to reduce fuel bills, and how to keep warm.
Scottish Power has a hardship fund that you can apply to as a customer of their services.
SSE has a priority assistance fund which includes help when you are struggling with debt.
NPower Health Through Warmth help home owners who have a long-term illness and are finding it hard to pay for heating systems and improvements. They can help with
- Cavity wall and loft insulation
- Boiler repairs and replacement (if broken)
- Heating systems or appliances (if broken)
- Energy efficiency advice
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is managed by Lets Talk Charis and provides a £140 discount on your electricity bill if on the qualifying date:
- your supplier was part of the scheme
- your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill
- you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
Visit Gov.uk for a list of suppliers who are part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Schemes are available to older people to help pay their energy bills during the colder months.
Newcastle City Council‘s Customer Service Centres and Newcastle Libraries can help. Simply take your current energy bill into one of the libraries or Information Hubs anytime during their normal opening hours and ask for help to find your ‘Energy Best Deal’.
If you are threatened with disconnection because you can’t pay your fuel bills, you should contact the energy company straightaway. It is likely that something can be done to help you. Your options might include:
- Making an arrangement with the energy company to repay your debts
- Being offered a pre-payment meter as an alternative to disconnection
- Use your benefits payments to help pay your bills and avoid disconnection. Some of your benefit will be deducted every week and will be paid directly to your energy supplier.
Energy Services, Newcastle City Council may be able to help you deal with your energy supplier to resolve the problem.
- Problems paying your energy bills – Citizen’s Advice guide
- Help with heating costs – Age UK factsheet
- Gas and Electricity
- Keep warm keep well, and borrow wisely – information leaflets.
Where can I get benefits advice?
It can be useful to speak with someone about the benefits you may be entitled to and how they may impact upon your other benefits. A local independent advice service can help guide you through the process such as:
- Citizens Advice Newcastle – provide advice to anyone in Newcastle
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service – provide advice to people in priority groups including those over 65. They have self help material on their website.
- Search Newcastle give benefits advice to older people in the West of Newcastle
There are more benefit advice services available across Newcastle. Read the ‘Where to get benefit advice‘ booklet.
Last updated: April 15, 2020