This is a government scheme to help vulnerable people with their fuel bills. You could get a £140 discount on your electricity bill this winter through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. This discount does not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
How much help can you get?
For the winter 2015 to 2016 you could get a £140 discount on your electricity bill. The one off discount is taken off your electricity bill, normally between October and March.
Are you eligible?
You qualify for the discount if on the ‘qualifying day’ (12 July 2015) your supplier was part of the scheme, your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill and you:
Get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit)
Are on a low income and get certain means tested benefits
More energy companies are joining the scheme, so do check with your supplier.
You can apply for the scheme if you use a pre-pay meter. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you are eligible. If you don’t qualify you can contact your supplier to see if you meet their rules for help and how to apply for it.
How to claim
If you qualify for the discount you will receive a letter telling you that either:
You don't have to apply and you will get the discount automatically or
You need apply before the deadline given in the letter
To apply call 0345 603 9439, Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm.
Write to the Warm Home Discount Team if you don't get a letter, but believe you qualify:
Warm Home Discount Team Pink Zone First Floor Peel Park Brunel Way Blackpool FY4 5ES
If you receive certain benefits you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment.
It is a government scheme to support vulnerable people in cold weather. Payments are made when the temperature where you live is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of 0°Celcius or colder over seven days in a row.
The 2015 to 2016 Cold Weather Payment scheme starts on 1 November.
If you are eligible you will get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. You'll get the payment within 14 working days from when the very cold weather starts.
It is paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments. These payments do not affect any other benefits you receive.
Are you eligible?
You may be able to get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
How to claim
You do not need to apply. If you are eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you will receive it automatically. If you don’t receive a Cold Weather Payment but think you should please contact your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office.
If you were born on, or before, 5 January 1952 you can get help to stay warm in the winter. You should get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help you pay your heating bills.
Most payments are made automatically in November and December. You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get State Pension or another social security benefit (excluding Housing benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit).
If you qualify, but don’t get paid automatically, you will need to make a claim. Your Winter Fuel Payments do not affect any other benefits you receive.
What will you get and when will it arrive?
How much you get depends of your circumstances as they were between 16-22 September, 2013. This date period is the qualifying week for winter 2013 to 2014.
Born on or before 5 January 1952
Aged 80 or over in the qualifying week
You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)
You qualify and get one of the benefits listed**
You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies
You live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies
You qualify and live with your partner or civil partner and they get one of the benefits listed**
You qualify but live in a care home and don't get one of the benefits listed**
** Benefits: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support
*** Your partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf
Most payments are made in November and December.
How to claim
You need to claim Winter Fuel Payment if you’ve not had it before and
You don’t get benefits or the State Pension or
You only get Housing benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit
Winter Fuel Payment Centre Main Handling Site A Wolverhampton WV98 1LR
Or call the Winter Fuel Payments Hotline on 08459 15 15 15 or textphone: 0845 601 5613. Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.
If you heat your home with oil, it can be quite expensive. Not only do oil prices change from week to week, they're normally higher in the winter than during the summer. Here are a few tips that might help you to save some money this winter.
Compare prices to get the best deal
There are price comparison sites for most things now and that includes oil. Using a price comparison site helps you to find the cheapest provider. Oil price comparison sites include Fuel Tools, Boiler Juice and Heating Oil.
Oil clubs order oil in larger quantities, than individuals do meaning that it costs less. They can help you to buy oil for a lower price as the oil companies, only having to deliver to properties in an area once, will very often offer a slightly lower price because they save time and fuel too. Some clubs help households save 3-5p a litre, which works out to be £30 to £50 for a 1,000 litres. You can find out more about setting up you own oil club by visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau website.
Before setting up an oil club you may want to find out if there is already one near to where you live. You could ask a neighbour who uses oil or your local parish councilor shop whether they know of a local oil club.
You could also visit the Oil Club website. They are a much larger club with members from across the country including Maidstone.
Credit Unions lend small amounts of money and charge low amounts of interest. Kent Savers is a local credit union that may be able to help you buy oil by offering you a short term loan. This service may also help you to budget for buying oil and could be used as well as joining an oil club.
Buy Heating Oil Early
Buying oil as soon as possible before the start of severe weather can mean a cost saving when demand is low and also means householders are guaranteed fuel during the coldest months.
Searching for cheaper gas and electricity
Why not shop around to see if you can get a better deal on your gas and electricity. Most of the main energy suppliers have more than one tariff and you should check that you're on the one that best meets your needs.
Speak to your current supplier or try using a price comparison website. For a list of government approved comparison sites visit the Go Energy Shopping website.
Energy prices normally increase each year. You may be able to avoid these increases by choosing a fixed price tariff, which are often fixed for up to three years. Make sure you check for additional costs like exit fees for leaving early or moving house.
Economy 7 meters charge a low amount for electricity used at night and a higher rate during the daytime. They work best if you use most of your electricity at night. For example if you heat your home with storage or immersion heaters, rather then central heating. If you use most of your electricity during the day, you might be better off with a standard meter. For more information visit the Money Saving Expert website.
Bills are normally paid by:
Pre-payment meter or
When each bill arrives
Direct Debit: with direct debits payment is normally divided into 12 equal monthly installments, avoiding high winter bills and low summer ones. Most of the energy companies will even give you a small discount for paying this way.
Pre-payment meter: pre-paid meters allow you to pay for your energy as you use it. They are also good for keeping track of how much energy you use and for avoiding getting into debt. You will need to pay more in the winter than in the summer, so if your income is the same all year round this might not be the best option for you. You will also pay slightly more for each unit of gas and electricity that you use, when compared to a standard meter.
When your bill arrives: you will pay for what you have already used. It will normally be higher in the winter then in the summer.
Change how you pay
If you want to change the way you pay your bills, speak to you current supplier. If you're renting you should also speak to your landlord.
Help to heat
One of the cheapest ways to heat your home is using mains gas.
SGN's Help to Heat scheme helps vulnerable people to get a gas connection in their home. You may qualify for this if someone in your home:
Receives an income-related benefit
Is at least 70 years old
Lives in one of the top 20% more deprived areas in SGN’s area
Lives in fuel poverty
You can apply if you own your home or are a landlord of a home.