Fuel Debt and Trust Funds

Help offered by the government and energy suppliers

Fuel Debt and Trust Funds

Householders who are in debt to their energy supplier and struggling to get on top of things should speak to their supplier as soon as possible. If the supplier knows there's a problem they can work with the householder to find a solution.

People struggling to afford to pay energy bills might be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and help offered by the government and energy suppliers.

Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help pay for heating during the winter. Anyone born on or before 5 January 1953 can get it, if they live in the UK or another eligible country.

Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment on GOV.UK

Cold Weather Payments

Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help pay for extra heating costs when it's very cold. A payment is made each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period of time.

People are only eligible if they already receive:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Find out more about Cold Weather Payments on GOV.UK

The Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount is a government scheme that is designed to help fuel poor and vulnerable households in England, Scotland and Wales by giving those eligible a rebate off their electricity bill. It is a rebate that goes against an individual's electricity bill and is not a discount received direct by a person.

Eligible people might be able to get £140 off their electricity bill under the Warm Home Discount Scheme if they're either of the following apply:

  • Getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit.
  • On a low income.

Not all suppliers are part of the scheme so householders need to check with their supplier to see if they offer the Warm Home Discount. Also, the scheme is only open to new applicants for a limited period of time each year and, at the time of writing, some suppliers have already closed their 2017/18 programme. For links to individual suppliers schemes and more detail about the Warm Home Discount click here.

Grants to help pay off energy debts

People who are in debt to their energy supplier might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.

The following energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone, not just their own customers:

There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers:

Applying For Grants

When applying for a grant, the applicant will have to provide detailed information about their financial situation in their application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help applying.

The charity Charis Grants can help with the application. Alternatively, an adviser at Citizens Advice or other local independent advice agencies can help.

Before Applying

Charitable trusts like the applicant to show that they have received debt advice before they apply. Debt advice can help people manage their debts and increase their chances of making a successful application.

Extra help from energy suppliers

If the applicant is a pensioner, disabled, or sick, they might be able to get extra help and support from their energy supplier through their Priority Services Register to help with things like:
  • Reading their energy meter.
  • Moving their energy meter free of charge.
  • Getting their bills sent or copied to someone else, eg a carer.

Further Help

Citizens Advice Helpline

Citizens Advice’s consumer helpline gives free, impartial advice to people who are worried about their energy costs and staying warm during winter.

Read their advice for steps to take if struggling to pay energy bills.


Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services - online, by phone and face to face, through partner organisations and our volunteers.

Free Turn2us helpline on 0808 802 2000 Mon-Fri 9am-8pm. Website: Turn2us.

StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange gives advice over the telephone or online via its Debt Remedy Advice Tool providing a personal action plan and a recommendation of available solutions for dealing with debts.

Helpline: 0800 138111 Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm Email via the website.

Advice UK

Advice UK has a network of independent advice organisations. Use their online search tool to find local independent advice providers.

Visit GOV.UK to find out about

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