Fuel, Energy and Bills

Assistance from Energy Providers

If you're in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.

The British Gas Energy Trust offers grants and schemes that are open to anyone - you don't have to be a customer. You can claim up to £1,500 towards fuel debt if you meet the criteria.

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

  • Scottish Power Hardship Fund - this fund is aimed at customers on certain benefits who are struggling with fuel debt.
  • Ovo Debt and energy assistance - also available to customers of SSE Energy Services or Boost. The fund can provide free or discounted products and services, such as smart thermostats, electric throws and boiler servicing.
  • E.on Energy Fund - funding is available for those most in need.
  • EDF Energy Customer Support Fund - vulnerable customers who are with EDF could be eligible for help with electricity and gas debts, or provide essential white goods such as a fridge or cooker. You can contact them via their website or call 0800 269 450.
  • Octopus Energy - the Octo Assist fund is also open to customers of Affect Energy, Co-operative Energy, Ebico Living, London Power and M&S Energy.
  • Shell Energy - potential funding is available for people unable to meet their fuel costs. You can also call them on 0330 094 5800.
  • Utility Warehouse - the customer support scheme aims to help customer who may be experiencing or at risk of fuel poverty. You can call them on 0333 777 0777

When you apply for a grant, you'll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help from a friend or family member. You can also talk to an advisor for help to fill in forms.

Before you apply

Charitable trusts like you to show that you have received debt advice before you apply. Debt advice can help you manage your debts and increase your chances of making a successful application.

Other Assistance for bills

WaterSure is a scheme which helps some people with their water bills. To apply, you must be receiving benefits and need to use a lot of water for either medical reasons or because your household has a number of school-age children.

Social Broadband and Phone Tariffs can provide a safety net for customers who might be struggling to afford their broadband or phone services. Ofgem have produced a list of broadband and mobile services which you may be eligible for.

Vulnerable households can join the Western Power Priority Services Register to get extra support. This is a free service for anyone who is of pensionable age, disabled, has children under 5 years old or relies on medical equipment.

Citizens Advice Devon is managing an Energy Relief Scheme for those using pre-payment meters and who are struggling to meet their energy needs. This is being funded by the Household Support Fund.

Dogs Trust is offering a discounted service for dog training for those struggling with the cost of living.

If you’re on prepayment meters and are struggling to keep them topped up, Rural Devon Citizens Advice might be able to issue you with fuel vouchers.

Living Options Devon have funding available to help with food, fuel and white goods for people with a disability or long term health condition. You can contact them directly on 01392 459 222.

Free Cookers, Cookbooks and Electric Blankets

The Council has secured funding to provide free slow cookers, electric blankets and throws, clothes airers and cookbooks to residents in need. We are working in partnership with South Dartmoor Community Energy (SDCE) and Tamar Energy Community (TEC), who will target foodbanks and warm hubs to distribute these.

Electric throws are very economical - costing from as little as 5p per hour to run, especially when you compare them with the cost of keeping your central heating on for hours or heating rooms you're not actually using.

Slow cookers cost an average of 8p per hour, instead of 68p per hour for a traditional oven or cooker.

Clothes airers drying clothes on an airer indoors (with a window open to avoid damp) or outside, to shorten or even avoid the tumble dryer completely, can heavily cut costs. Tumble driers cost up to £1 per cycle.

For more information, please contact Tamar Energy Community.

Energy Advice and Support

  • Citizens Advice offer a full energy assessment including:

    • looking at tariffs,
    • energy discounts,
    • assisting with energy billing/account issues,
    • energy efficiency advice,
    • liaising with RSL landlords with property issues; and
    • signposting for energy efficiency improvements.
  • LEAP offers a free energy advice service.
  • Tamar Energy Community can provide support for people in fuel poverty in West Devon
  • Devon Communities Together is able to provide support to individuals who are struggling with fuel bills and heating their homes this winter.

Government Assistance

  • The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a Government scheme that obligates the largest energy suppliers to credit a £140 discount onto the electricity bills of certain low income households.
  • The Cold Weather Payment  is intended to help you pay for extra heating costs when it's very cold. You'll get a payment each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period.
  • If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a 'Winter Fuel Payment'. You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you're eligible. Call 0800 731 0160 to find out more.

Other Sources of help

  • AgeUK can provide advice for older people on preparing for winter.
  • Turn2us is a national charity providing practical support to people struggling financially.