Energy Support

Help with your energy bills – Knowing what support is available to you with rising energy costs is important.

This page highlights how you can get free support to help make your home more energy efficient whilst saving money on fuel bills. It also provides information on energy discount schemes, such as the Warm Home Discount and the HelpU Tariff with Welsh Water. Find out more below.

Energy Advice & Support

Ofgem advice for households

Ofgem is Britain’s independent energy regulator. They work to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly and benefit from a cleaner, greener environment.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/

If your supplier goes out of business, Ofgem’s safety net will ensure you always have an energy supply. This guide explains what to expect if it happens to you.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/what-happens-if-your-energy-supplier-goes-bust

NEA’s WASH Advice Service

NEA’s WASH Advice Service is a free support service that specialises in providing advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home. They can also help with benefits advice and income maximisation. Check out the link for more information.

Contact – 0800 304 7159.

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Warm Wales

Warm Wales is based in Port Talbot but is working to alleviate fuel poverty across Wales and the South West through community projects and partnership working. They can also provide free advice & guidance around fuel debt. Check out the link for more information:-

Contact – 01656 747 622

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Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk offers a range of schemes to help those with utility debt, both individuals and small businesses. They provide free support around energy advice, money management and benefits. Check out the link for more details:-

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Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice provides free, confidential information and advice on a number of subjects, including ‘Your Energy Supply’. Check out the link, where they answer questions such as how to read your meter, energy switching, hardship funds, and energy efficiency measures:-

Contact – 0800 702 2020

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Energy Savings Trust

Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation working to address the climate emergency. They provide information on how to save energy and lower your bills while reducing your carbon footprint. Check out the link for valuable tips:-

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Energy Discount Schemes & Hardship Funds

Warm Home Discount

This UK-wide scheme can help with energy costs via a one-off discount of £140 on your electricity bill. Eligibility for the ‘Core Group’ requires you to be in receipt of the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit. Eligibility for the ‘Broader Group’ can depend on factors, such as household income or benefits. Each energy supplier has different eligibility criteria and not every energy supplier participates in the scheme. Check with your energy supplier to see if you are eligible and how to apply. Most application windows open in the summer.

For more information, including eligibility details:

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Priority Services Register (Energy companies)

If you are of pensionable age, living with a disability, chronic illness or visual/hearing impairment (or someone in your household is), ask your energy supplier if you are eligible for its Priority Services Register. This provides free extra services and may help protect you from disconnection if you struggle to pay your energy bills (if your supplier has signed up to the Energy UK Safety Net scheme).

For more information, including eligibility details:

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Winter Fuel Payments

Winter Fuel Payments (WFPs) are annual one-off payments of between £100 and £300, paid to all eligible pensioner households to help with the cost of fuel. There are no income or savings limits for WFPs and they are not taxable. For the winter of 2021-22, you will qualify for the WFP if you were born “on or before 26 September 1955. You should not need to apply for the payment, as it is paid automatically.

For more information, including eligibility details:

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Cold Weather Payments

 

The 2020-21 Cold Weather Payment scheme will start on 1 November. You are entitled to a Cold Weather Payment for any week when the average temperature in your area has been, or is expected to be, 0°Celsius or below for seven consecutive days and: you are receiving Pension Credit (or another ‘specified benefit’), and you are not living in a care home. You should not need to claim as payments are made automatically into your bank or building society account. Cold Weather Payments are £25 every 7 days of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. Cold Weather Payments do not affect other benefits.

Check out further details, including eligibility, here:

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HelpU Tariff – Welsh Water

The HelpU tariff helps low-income households by limiting the amount you have to pay for your water. How does it work? The HelpU tariff helps the lowest income households in Wales. They will cap your water bill if you qualify, so you won’t pay over a certain amount for the year. If you have a water meter, you will never pay more than the amount you have used. If your consumption is less than the HelpU cap amount, you will only be billed for the amount of water you have used. The annual HelpU charge is £250.00 (£108 for water, £142 for sewerage). The tariff is open from 1 August 2020.

For more information, including eligibility details:

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Customer Assistance Fund – Welsh Water

The Customer Assistance Fund is designed to help those in severe financial hardship to clear debt and get on top of their payments. How does it work? If you’re successful in your application, they’ll set up a monthly, fortnightly or weekly payment plan for your current year’s charges. Once you have made payments for 6 months, they will pay off 50% of your previous arrears. If you make payments for a further 6 months, they will then pay off the rest of your previous arrears.

For more information, including eligibility details:

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WaterSure scheme – Welsh Water

If you already have a meter or have requested one, the WaterSure scheme puts a cap on the amount you have to pay for your water. How does it work? WaterSure caps your annual metered bill amount so you won’t pay over a certain amount for the year, no matter your actual consumption. The WaterSure Wales charge from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 is £360 (£150 for water, £210 for sewerage).

More details, including eligibility:

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In addition, many energy companies will have hardship funds available to help customers who have fallen into debt.

Check your energy supplier’s website to see if they have a fund and whether you are eligible. Below are the links to some of the leading energy suppliers:-

 

Energy Switching

Ofgem research finds that comparing and switching suppliers or energy tariffs can significantly affect your gas and electricity bills. Before you decide to switch, you should check which type of meter you have, find out if your contract has an ‘exit fee’ for leaving early – it’s usually on your bill, and look at your current supplier’s tariffs for comparison.

Suppose you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but have not yet received it. In that case, you’ll have to apply again if you switch suppliers – check if your new supplier has different eligibility requirements before confirming any switch. See below for some Ofgem accredited energy switching sites:-

USwitch

Simply Switch

Energy Helpline

The Energy Shop

Money Super Market

Smart Meters

Suppose you want to keep track of your household energy. In that case, a smart meter is a handy device that helps you record how much electricity and/or gas your household uses. Smart meters allow customers to see how much energy they are using with an in-home display, which helps to keep track of various devices costing them while in use.

Using a smart meter can be a great way of understanding which appliances are costing more to run and allow you to consider whether to reduce their usage. Smart meters also send your data accurately to the energy supplier meaning that bills are produced accurately instead of estimations, allowing you to budget better and not be hit with an unexpected bill.

To install a smart meter, speak to your energy provider.

Want more information on smart meters?

Why not head over to Swansea MAD to see smart meter myths and information on a range of sessions they provide for support and guidance surrounding energy bills.