It’s always a little harder to keep your energy bills down whilst trying to stay warm and healthy during the winter. It’s a particularly difficult time for the nation’s more vulnerable elderly and disabled communities or those claiming benefits or in low-paid work. That’s why we’ve highlighted a few things that can help ease the strain on your bank balance.
There’s help available from the government, so it’s worth investigating the grants and support on offer. There are initiatives to help keep people warm and healthy over the colder months such as the Winter Fuel Payment. This is available to anyone born before 5th July 1952. If you’re eligible for this you should automatically receive a tax-free payment between £100 and £300 in November or December each year. Click on Winter Fuel Payment to visit the Gov.uk website for more information or to make a claim if you think you’re eligible but aren’t receiving a payment.
Cold Weather Payment
The Cold Weather Payment is available to anyone who receives Pension Credit or income support such as Jobseeker’s Allowance. It’s only available when the temperature drops below freezing for a minimum of seven days in a row, but gets recipients £25 a week during these times. Again, this should be paid automatically if you’re eligible. Click on Cold Weather Payment for more information.
It’s also worth speaking to your energy provider to see if you’re entitled to any special discounts. In 2011 social tariffs were phased out and many energy providers introduced the Warm Home Discount scheme as directed by the government. This means that people who meet certain criteria can receive a £140 discount on their energy bills. Speak directly to your energy supplier to find out if they offer any additional support.
And of course, being practical can make all the difference! Make sure you heat only the rooms in your home that you use as this will stop energy being wasted. It’s better for the environment too. Pulling on those woolly Christmas jumpers instead of switching on the heating when possible will also help, and it’s vital to drink plenty of hot drinks to stay warm and healthy!
Still not sure what help you’re entitled to? There’s a simple questionnaire on the Gov.uk website which will help you find out. Click on Energy Grants Calculator to go to it and follow the instructions on the page!