The Debt Advice Service
  • Energy prices

    Debt and Rising Energy Bills – Not a Good Mix

    The ongoing crisis of the rise in the rising cost of living is affecting millions. There’s no getting away from it.

    What seemed to start off as huge rises in the price of petrol, has now spread to almost every area of our daily lives, with household bills only predicted to go one way.

    There has been acknowledgement from the Government, with the announcement of a £150 Council Tax rebate for all Direct Debit customers in properties with an A to D banding, but for many, that simply won’t be enough to make a difference.

    Energy bills are soaring, and the increase to the energy price cap means that the average UK household will spend almost £700 more on energy this coming year*. For some, it will be a lot more.

    If you’re already struggling with debt, this will be pretty worrying news.

    Help is available though; you just have to know where to look.

    So, what should you do and where should you go if you’re struggling to balance rising energy bills with your existing debt problems?

    You may be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and other forms of help, which may be available from the Government or the energy suppliers themselves.

    These include:

    Warm Home Discount Scheme

    If you are currently getting the ‘guarantee credit’ part of Pension Credit, or you are on a low income, you could be entitled to £140 off your electricity bill, or a £140 voucher for your prepayment meter.

    Full details are available at:


    Winter Fuel Payment

    This is an annual one-off payment aimed to help you pay for heating during the colder winter months. If you were born on or before the 26th September 1955, you’re eligible for this payment.

    Full details are available at:


    Cold Weather Payments

    These payments help you pay for the extra cost of heating your home when the weather gets particularly cold. Whenever the temperature reaches a specific point for a set period of time, you’ll be eligible for a payment as long as you already get Pension Credit, Income Support, Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

    Full details are available at:


    Grants to Help Pay Off Energy Debts

    If you’re already in debt to your energy supplier, there may be an option to get a grant to help pay this debt off.

    Customer grants are available from British Gas Energy Trust, Scottish Power Hardship Fund, Ovo Energy Fund, E.ON Energy Fund, E.ON Next Energy Fund, EDF Energy Customer Support Fund, Bulb Energy Fund.

    Whilst customers of these energy suppliers can apply for support from the company itself, there may also be the possibility to get a grant from British Gas Energy Trust, even if you are not a British Gas customer. Full details of your financial situation will be needed, and the process can be quite lengthy, but it could be a lifeline.

    Extra Help from Your Supplier

    If you are vulnerable, disabled, sick or of state pension age, you may be able to get additional support from your supplier to help with things like reading your energy meter, moving your meter free of charge, and even getting your energy bills sent or copied to someone else, such as a carer or family member.

    Although it can be stressful and worrying to see the rise in the cost of energy, especially if you’re already in debt, it’s important to remember that there are options out there which may provide some vital help for vulnerable people


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    Lucy R.
    Lucy R.14-11-2020
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