What help is there if you cannot afford your energy bills? Full list of support available | Personal Finance | Finance

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The energy regulator Ofgem has highlighted that it understands that many may fall into financial difficulty and that it can be “extremely worrying” for many people. Ofgem has dedicated a page on its website that lists what help is available to people who are struggling with their energy bills. The page lists the steps which people should take when things start to get difficult.

Ofgem states that people should first approach their energy provider and arrange a “payment plan”.

They added that this should be the first thing people do if they are worried about paying their energy bills.

The energy regulator said: “Our rules mean suppliers must offer payment plans you can afford and you can ask for emergency credit if you use a prepay meter and can’t top up.

“Most energy firms have also signed up to fresh commitments drawn up with Ofgem and the industry trade body Energy UK to support you this winter.”

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When sorting out a payment plan, people can ask for a review of their payments and debt repayments, payment break reductions, and more time to pay.

People can also request access to hardship funds, advice on how to use less energy, and Priority Service registration which is a free support service if a person is in a vulnerable situation.

If people cannot agree on a way to pay with their energy supplier, Ofgem recommends that people approach the charity Citizens Advice to get further advice on the options available.

Ofgem highlights that many energy companies offer schemes and grants to help with home heating and energy costs.

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The advice page has also listed the Government support which is available to Britons that is not the help specific cost of living help announced this year by the Government.

This help includes things like the Winter Fuel Payment which is a £100 to £300 fuel payment for people born on or before 26 September 1955 and the Cold Weather Payment which is a £25 payment for every seven days of very cold weather between November and March.

Other support includes the Warm Home Discount which is a £140 discount for people who receive Pension Credit or for some people in low-income households and the Household Support Fund which is a package available to help vulnerable households this winter.

To access the Household Support Fund people will need to contact their local council for advice and help.

The Child Winter Heating assistance and the Winter Fuel Support Scheme is also available for those who are living in Scotland and Wales.

The page also reminds people of the charities which offer debt management support and help with budgeting.

People can get this kind of help from the Money Advice Service, National Debtline and StepChange Debt Charity.

The page also highlights that the charity Turn2us has a benefits calculator and grants search tool which can help people find out what support they can get alongside adviser locator tools.

They also have information on benefits and information on help with paying energy and water bills.

It page highlighted the Government Breathing Space scheme that gives people up to 60 days “space from creditors” so they can focus on getting advice and setting up debt solutions.

If eligible, the scheme stops all creditors are informed and must stop any collection or enforcement activity.

Charities like StepChange can help people apply for the scheme.





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