Energy grants - the ultimate guide

From financial help with your bills in a cold snap, to a free boiler or insulation, see if you could save money with our ultimate guide to energy grants.

Energy grants - the ultimate guide

From financial help with your bills in a cold snap, to a free boiler or insulation, see if you could save money with our ultimate guide to energy grants.

 

If you’re struggling to pay for your gas or electricity, or want to make your home more efficient so it uses less fuel, help is out there. There are many energy grants available to UK households that can help with your heating bills or clear your energy debt. You could even get a free boiler - perfect if yours needs replacing.

Some energy grants are offered by the government, while other benefits are provided by utility suppliers and charitable trusts - and many go unclaimed each year. But what are these grants - and how do you get your hands on them? Luckily, we’re here to help you find out with our ultimate guide to energy grants. If you already know what you’re looking for, you can jump straight to that section using the links below:

 
 

Energy grants offered by suppliers

1 1. Warm Home Discount

What is the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount offers those at risk of fuel poverty direct financial support in the form of a £140-rebate off their winter electricity bill. It’s a government grant that’s offered by all the big utility providers, although if you’re a customer of a small energy supplier, it’s worth checking because many do still offer this annual credit.

Who is eligible for the Warm Home Discount and how do I apply?
If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit you’ll receive it automatically, without even having to apply.

But other customers are eligible too, such as those on a low-income, or people who get certain means-tested benefits. Each supplier has their own eligibility criteria, which is approved by the regulator Ofgem, if you’re an npower customer you can find out if you’re eligible for the grant by visiting our Warm Home Discount page or by calling 0330 100 8669. View call charge information.

What else do I need to know about the Warm Home Discount?
All suppliers vary, but the Warm Home Discount is usually applied between October and May. Remember that the grant isn't paid directly to you though, it comes in the form of a one-off discount on your electricity bill.

Make sure you apply as early as you can once the scheme opens, because there is a limit to the number of people that can be helped each year - although this doesn’t apply to those who receive the discount automatically.

You should also be careful if you switch supplier. If you apply for the Warm Home Discount then switch before you get the payment, you’ll have to apply again with your new supplier before the deadline - and they might also have different eligibility criteria.

2 2. ECO scheme for free boiler replacement and insulation

The Energy Companies’ Obligation, (also known as the ECO scheme) has been running since 2013 and although many call it a government boiler scheme, that’s not strictly true - it’s actually run by the energy suppliers themselves. The government made it compulsory for the UK’s 11 largest energy companies to provide help with heating to the British households that need it most.

Part of the ECO scheme is called Affordable Warmth and it’s this section of the scheme that aims to provide subsidised and even free replacement boilers, as well as free cavity wall and free loft insulation, to those on certain government benefits.

The ECO scheme can help customers by providing:

  • a free new boiler
  • free insulation

Grants for free boilers

Need a replacement boiler? You could get one for free (or heavily subsidised) if you qualify for the ECO free boiler scheme. Here at npower, for example, we’ve installed more than 60,000 new boilers since the scheme started, and npower customers who qualify can get a brand new A-rated energy-efficient boiler fitted that’s equivalent to the type of boiler they already have.

Each supplier has its own eligibility criteria, but you might qualify for a free boiler grant if you live in social or private housing and claim one of following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Guarantee Credit - you won’t be eligible if you only claim Pension Savings Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

npower customers can use our online tool to see if they’re eligible for a free boiler.

If you’re not an npower customer, contact your own supplier. Alternatively, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or e-mail Energy Advice. They can tell you if you’re eligible for help and give you advice on how to apply.

Grants for free insulation

If you qualify, you could get help with the following:

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Solid wall insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Loft or roof insulation
  • Under-floor insulation

For more advice, you can use this government energy grants calculator to find out what kind of home improvements you could claim for.

 
 

Energy grants offered by the government

Winter Fuel Payment

What is the Winter Fuel Payment? 
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment of between £100 and £300 that provides help with heating for older people during the winter. Exactly how much you’ll get depends on your age and your circumstances in what’s known as the qualifying week - a date that changes each year. It won’t affect any benefits you receive either.

Who is eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment?
Controversially, the payment is not means tested. So anyone who’s old enough and has lived in the UK throughout the qualifying week (normally a week in mid-September each year) can get the tax-free benefit regardless of income - and some can even claim if they’re living abroad in certain eligible countries in Europe.

However, there are people of the right age who won’t qualify - and it all depends on their circumstances in the qualifying week. For example, if you were in prison, in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks, or were living in a care home for the previous 12 weeks and receiving Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance. A full list of exceptions to the Winter Fuel Payment can be found on the gov.uk website.

How do I apply for the Winter Fuel Payment?
If you’re eligible and get the State Pension or any other benefits (with the exception of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit), you’ll get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically and don’t need to apply for it.

If you’re eligible but that doesn’t apply to you, you’ll need to make a claim. You can do this on the government’s Winter Fuel Payment email enquiry form or by calling 03459 151515.

How much Winter Fuel Payment will I get paid?
It all depends on your circumstances in the qualifying week. For example, if you live alone and are 80 or more, you will get the maximum £300. However, if you live with someone who’s also receiving the maximum Winter Fuel Payment, you may only get £100 if you’re under 80. To find out exactly what you’ll get paid, visit the Winter Fuel Payment page on the gov.uk website.

What else do I need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment?
Most payments are made automatically before Christmas, usually between November and December. Make sure you report any change of circumstances as these can affect how much you get. For example, if the qualifying person stops getting a benefit or goes into care. You can report any changes to the office paying your benefits.

Where can I find out more?
Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment on gov.uk.

Cold Weather Payments

What are Cold Weather Payments?
Cold Weather Payments are one-off government grants that provide help with heating for those on benefits with payments to cover energy costs caused by a cold snap. If you’re eligible, you’ll get the payment each time the temperature drops to below freezing for seven consecutive days.

What are Cold Weather Payments?
You’ll usually be eligible if you get Pension Credit, but may also be eligible if you receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and meet various other criteria, such as having a child under five who lives with your or a disabled premium. Check the government’s website for full details of the Cold Weather Payment eligibility criteria.

What else do I need to know about the Cold Weather Payment?
You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March - and it won’t affect any other benefit you receive. There’s no need to do anything at all. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive it automatically into the same bank account as your benefit payments. You’ll get a payment within 14 working days of every cold weather period.

 

Energy grants from charitable trusts

What is a charitable trust energy grant?
If you’re behind on your energy bills, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help you pay off the debt. The grants can also fund the purchase of energy-efficient white goods, such as cookers and washing machines, helping you to cut your bills.

Who is eligible for a charitable trust energy grant?
The trusts are reserved for those who need it most, normally those receiving certain state benefits, on a low income, or in some form of distress, such as a long-term illness.

npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme

What is npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme? If you have a long-term illness and don’t qualify for the ECO Affordable Warmth scheme, npower’s Health Through Warmth grant can help with heating your home. It can provide you with a replacement boiler, as well as offer assistance with repairs and insulation - and you don’t even need to be an npower customer to apply.

Who is eligible for npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme? The scheme is for those with a long-term illness who own and occupy their home in England or Wales, but also have a low income and little or no savings and can’t fully fund the work themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re a customer of another energy supplier.

What does the Health Through Warmth scheme provide? As well as repairs and boiler replacement, the scheme can help with cavity wall and loft insulation, heating systems - and even the purchase of new energy-efficient appliances.

How do I apply for npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme? For more information, see our Health Through Warmth page.

Where do I find out more about the Fuel Bank? Visit the npower Fuel Bank page for all the information you need.

Other help available

npower Fuel Bank

What is the Fuel Bank?
npower has partnered with the Trussell Trust and Durham Christian Partnership to offer anyone with a prepayment meter who gets referred to a participating food bank, a voucher to provide enough credit for around two weeks of energy.

Who is eligible? Fuel Bank support is available to people referred to a food bank by care professionals such as GPs and social workers – regardless of whether they’re an npower customer or not.

How do I apply for the Fuel Bank? If you have a prepayment meter, when you go to a participating food bank you’ll receive a top-up voucher that can be redeemed at a PayPoint machine.