A number of energy suppliers are offering cash grants of up to £1,500 to customers who are hardest hit by soaring energy bills.

Energy prices are still painfully high, and many people are struggling to make ends meet. With this in mind, it’s important to know what help is available.

Before you get started, bear in mind that energy suppliers that are currently offering grants will want to know that you’ve explored all of your other possible options first. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, have a look at our article What can you do if you can’t pay your energy bills? to understand what options might be available to you. 

Here’s our rundown of which suppliers are currently offering grants to some customers struggling to make ends meet as energy costs soar.

If you’re considering switching your energy provider, it’s worth doing plenty of research so you can be certain you’ve found the best possible deal to suit your needs. Comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket, Uswitch and Compare the Market enable you to compare the latest energy tariffs, whether you’re looking for a fixed or variable deal.

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The British Gas Energy Support Fund

The British Gas Energy Trust has two funds available for people in need: The British Gas Energy Support Fund for their own customers and the Individuals and Families Fund which is available for anyone who meets the criteria. We cover the Individuals and Families Fund in more detail below.

The British Gas Energy Support Fund is only available to British Gas Customers, and if you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to get a grant to help you write off your debt.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for the grant, you need to:

  • Live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Have not received a grant from British Gas Energy Trust within the last 12 months
  • Be in debt of between £250 and £2,000 on your electricity and/or gas account on your primary residence
  • Be facing or be in Fuel Poverty – this means you’re not able to heat or cool your home to an adequate temperature
  • Have sought and received help from a money advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, StepChange or Turn2us
  • Be applying for a grant to clear the outstanding debt on your current gas and/or electricity bill for your main residence. The bill must be in your name or you must be a member of that household.

How can you apply?

You can read more about this grant and how to apply here.

You’ll need to provide evidence of the following, so it’s a good idea to gather this information together before you start the application process:

  • Proof of total household income – this includes any source of income, including three months’ worth of payslips, benefits statements dated within the last year, maintenance payments, and so on.
  • A meter reading of your gas and/or electricity meters, unless you have a smart meter.
  • Proof of money advice.

British Gas Individuals and Families Fund

The Individual and Families Fund is open to any household that meets the eligibility criteria, so it’s not only British Gas customers who can apply. However, if you’re a customer of Eon, Eon Next, EDF, Scottish Power or Octopus, you should apply to your provider directly as they have funds you might be able to get.

Through this fund, if your application is successful, you could receive a grant of up to £1,500. The British Gas Energy Trust wants to support people to take a more sustainable approach to their energy bills, so you’ll be required to seek help from a money advice agency first.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for the grant, you need to:

  • Live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Have not received a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust within the last two years
  • Have a household income of less than £18,723 or someone in the household is registered disabled and receives a disability benefit or receives Carers Allowance or has 3+ children
  • Be in debt on your electricity and/or gas account (up to £2,000)
  • Have sought and received help from a money advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, StepChange or Turn2us
  • Be applying for a grant to clear the outstanding debt on your current gas and/or electricity bill for your main residence. The bill must be in your name or you must be a member of that household.

If you are a British Gas customer, and you’re applying for this grant, you won’t necessarily need to have sought advice from a money advice service before completing an application.

How can you apply?

You can read more about this grant and how to apply here.

You’ll need to provide evidence of the following, so it’s a good idea to gather this information together before you start the application process:

  • Proof that you’ve received money advice from a money advice agency in the last three months (if you’re not a British Gas customer).
  • Proof of total household income – this includes any source of income, including three months’ worth of payslips, benefits statements dated within the last year, maintenance payments, and so on. 
  • If you’re a British Gas customer, you’ll need to take a reading of your gas and/or electricity meters, unless you have a smart meter.
  • If you’re with a different energy supplier, you’ll need a bill based on actual readings dated within the last four weeks. The bill will need to show your name, account number or supply address. If you don’t have a paper bill, you’ll need to provide an email that includes the above information as well as your outstanding balance, and confirmation that the balance is based on actual readings and not estimates.

Scottish Power Hardship Fund

The Scottish Power Hardship Fund may provide help if you’re on a lower income and are struggling to pay your energy bills. The amount you will receive depends on your personal circumstances, but can help by either clearing or reducing your Scottish Power energy arrears.

Who’s eligible?

You might qualify for support if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance

You might also qualify if you have a low household income or if your income has reduced due to illness.

How can you apply?

Before you can apply for the grant, you’ll need to seek debt advice from a money advice agency, and Scottish Power recommends using StepChange. Its advisers can help manage your financial situation, as well as give you more information on the Scottish Power Hardship Fund and clarify whether you should apply for it or not.

If you’re told that you should apply for the fund, you’ll need to apply to Sigma Connected Support, which is the company that manages the hardship fund. To apply, you’ll need to complete an application form and submit it, along with:

  • A meter reading, taken as close to your application date as possible.
  • Proof of income – including all sources of income. Your evidence needs to be dated within the past three months, aside from benefits statements, your workplace pension, State Pension, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Child Benefit, which can be detailed as an annual statement.
  • Evidence that you’ve recently received money or debt advice from a recognised agency, including National Debtline, Citizens Advice Bureau or StepChange. Accepted forms of evidence include a letter, email or case reference number from the money advice service. 

Once you’ve applied, your application will be reviewed and you’ll receive a response within five working days to let you know the progress or outcome.

You can read more about the fund and how to apply here.

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Octopus Energy - Octopus Assist Fund

Octopus Energy’s £15m Octopus Assist Fund supports its customers who are struggling to pay their bills. Octopus encourages any customers that are struggling to reach out for help. In addition to direct financial help, Octopus also offers other support options including standing charge waivers, personalised account help, payment holidays, electric blankets and a loan of a thermal imagery camera to find heat leaks at home.

Who’s eligible?

Octopus says that there’s no eligibility criteria for the Octo Assist Fund. Instead, they decide who’s eligible for support on a case-by-case basis. So if you’re a customer and you’re struggling, it’s worth seeing if you can get some form of support.

How can you apply?

You’ll need to complete the Financial Support Form, which you can do here. During the application process, Octopus will ask for information about your finances and to create a budget with Paylink, their digital affordability budget platform, so they can get an idea of what you’re earning and what you’re spending.

Once you’ve completed the application, Octopus will get in touch with you to explore what assistance it might be able to provide. If you aren’t eligible for financial assistance, they’ll explore what else they can do to support you, such as providing electric blankets to particularly vulnerable customers or offering payment holidays and repayment plans.

E.ON Next Energy Fund

The E.ON Next Energy Fund offers help to its customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills either through a grant or by replacing appliances that have broken, are in poor condition or no longer in good working order.

Who’s eligible?

E.ON Next doesn’t outline any specific criteria on who is eligible for support, but for the grant option, you’ll need to show your commitment to getting on top of your bills by making your regular energy bill payments over the course of three months, before they’ll think about issuing a grant.

How can you apply?

Applying for the grant:

E.ON Next provides the grant through a three-month Provisional Award Scheme, which means that when you apply for the grant you’ll need to demonstrate your commitment by making your regular energy bill payments over the course of three months. During this time they’ll suspend your debts as a provisional award, and if you successfully complete your payments, then your debt will be cleared. However, if you stop making your payments after the award, it’ll be removed and any debt you had will be reinstated.

To apply you’ll need:

  • Your E.ON Next account number.
  • A recent meter reading.
  • Proof of total household income in the current tax year, with statements that are less than three months old.
  • Your most recent annual benefits letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) outlining your benefit entitlement and the amount due to be paid. You will need to provide all pages of this letter.
  • Official letters detailing your State Pension or/and private pensions.
  • If you were referred to the fund due to a medical condition, you’ll need medical confirmation from the organisation that referred you, a medical DS1500 form or confirmation from a consultant or your doctor.

All of these documents must clearly show your name and address and the amounts being received for the current tax year.

Applying for the appliance replacement:

If one of your white goods, such as your cooker, fridge, fridge-freezer or washing machine has broken and you’re in financial difficulty, E.ON Next might replace it for you.

To apply you’ll need:

  • Your E.ON Next account number.
  • Proof of all household income for yourself and anyone living with you for the current tax year, dated within the last three months. 
  • Your most recent annual benefits letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) outlining your benefit entitlement and the amounts due to be paid. You need to provide all pages of this letter.
  • Official letters detailing your State Pension Pension letters for State or/and private pensions.
  • If you were referred to the fund due to a medical condition, you’ll need medical confirmation from the organisation that referred you, a medical DS1500 form or medical confirmation from a consultant or your doctor.
  • Information about the current condition of your white good(s).

All of these documents will need to clearly show your name and address and the amounts being received for the current tax year.

You can find more information on both options and apply here

EDF Customer Support Fund

While EDF hasn’t said how much their Customer Support Fund could offer individuals, if you’re struggling with your electricity or gas bill debts then it might be able to help you make ends meet. It might also provide money to pay for essential white goods such as a fridge or cooker.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for help from the EDF Customer Support Fund, you’ll need to register with the Priority Services Register (PSR), which is designed to help vulnerable people, including those in financial difficulties. You can find the application for the PSR here. Signing up to the PSR will mean that you have access to a range of help and advice to help make your home more energy efficient, if possible, or move you onto a better tariff.

Once you’ve signed up to the PSR, you can start your application for the EDF Customer Support Fund.

How can you apply?

To apply for the EDF Customer Support Fund you’ll need:

  • Your EDF account number.
  • Evidence of your current energy debt, which can be found on your most recent energy bill for this.
  • Proof of your household finances and vulnerability.

You will need this information during the application process, which you can start here.

Shell Energy Helpfund

If Shell Energy is your provider for your energy, broadband or phone, and you’re struggling to pay your bills, you might be able to get some extra support. Shell is encouraging anyone who’s struggling with their bills to get in touch with them to talk about how they can best support you.

When you get in touch with them, you’ll have a chat with them so they can understand your circumstances and then Shell will work with you to figure out the best solution to get you back on track. These solutions might include:

  • Creating a debt repayment plan.
  • Developing an instalment plan for future bills.
  • Giving you a short-term payment holiday or payment deferment.
  • Joining the Fuel Direct Scheme – this is a government scheme where your energy payments are paid directly out of your benefit payments to help you to keep up with your budgeting and payments.
  • Access to the Shell Energy Helpfund – this is a discretionary fund of £20m that Shell has set aside for customers in need. You will only be referred to the fund for support if Shell think you need it.
  • Referral to debt management organisations if they think you need more help.

Who’s eligible?

There are no specific criteria that Shell Energy outline as to who’s eligible for support, and the help you’ll be offered will entirely depend on your personal circumstances.

Whatever your situation, if you’re a Shell Energy customer and you are struggling to make your regular payments, it’s worth getting in touch with them to talk about your options.

How can you apply?

To apply for support, you’ll need to get in touch with Shell Energy which you can do either over the phone on 0330 094 5801, or you can fill out this contact form online, specifying ‘Helpfund’ in the box titled ‘My query is about’.

Utility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse has worked in partnership with Citizens Advice to offer support to people in fuel poverty, who are about to go into energy debt or have run out of prepaid credit. If you are struggling to pay your bills, Utility Warehouse urge you to get in touch with them as soon as possible so they can help you explore your options.

If you’re struggling, they might be able to offer you a number of solutions to help you get on top of your bills, including:

  • Advice on budget planning
  • Energy and other services efficiency advice
  • Debt advice
  • Financial assistance
  • Helping you find if you’re eligible for government support, such as the Fuel Direct Scheme.

Who’s eligible?

Utility Warehouse don’t outline any specific criteria, but if you’re a customer of theirs and are struggling with your bills, you should get in touch.

How can you apply?

To enquire about support, you’ll need to get in touch with Utility Warehouse, which you can do by calling their UK-based customer services team on 0333 777 3215 or by filling out their contact form.

Ovo Energy Customer Support Package

Ovo usually offers a Customer Support Package annually for any of their customers needing extra support, providing help from 1 October and throughout the winter.

They have a dedicated specialist financial support team that you can contact if you’re struggling who’ll work with you to understand your situation and will offer the support they think is most appropriate.

The type of support you’ll be eligible for will depend on how you pay for your energy but could include: access to their hardship scheme, reducing direct debits by up to 15%, creating payment plans that last for up to 36 months, increasing emergency credit allowance or providing payment holidays.

On top of the financial support, they are also offering their customers help to make their homes more energy-efficient. For eligible customers, they might offer free boiler services, free energy-saving products such as smart thermostats, free electric throws, and discounted energy-efficient boilers.

They also have made a promise to not disconnect their customer if they fall behind on payments this winter, but encourage anyone who’s struggling to get in touch with them so they can help find a way to get you back on track.

Who’s eligible?

There’s no clear outline of who is eligible for support, but if you’re struggling or can see problems arising, it’s worth getting in touch with Ovo to see if they can help.

How can you apply?

You can apply for the help from Ovo using this form on their website.

Further help

If you aren’t able to get any of these grants, there might be other sources of help available. Our articles What can you do if you can’t pay your energy bills? and Are you eligible for help with heating costs? outline some other options you might want to consider.

Lots of people are struggling with their finances at the moment, and while it can feel overwhelming, it’s really important to talk about it. 

Charities such as StepChange, National Debtline and the Debt Advice Foundation all offer free debt advice and may be able to help you arrive at a manageable repayment plan with your creditors. The sooner you act, the better your chances of finding a workable solution so don’t be ashamed about speaking to someone during these times of crisis. Find out more in our article Are money worries affecting your mental health? 

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