Where to turn for financial support during these difficult times
Household bills are increasing every day for Scottish households. The cost of living and the energy crisis are the major factors in seeing your bills cost more each month.
While we can provide you with personalised energy saving advice, Home Energy Scotland doesn’t directly provide financial support of fuel vouchers or crisis funds.
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, help is available. To access this, it’s vital to contact the right source of support for what you need. Read on for more information, including links to some organisations and funding that can help you manage your money, provide financial support and check if you’re eligible for benefits.
We’re regularly updating this list so do check back regularly.
A note on the price cap
Previously a price guarantee had been put in place until April 2023, capping typical use at £2,500 per year. This amount is based on unit prices of electricity and not your maximum annual costs. In practice, your annual costs could be higher than £2,500.
As of 1 April 2023, the Energy Price Guarantee for typical use will be going up to £3,000. This is still a rate set by the government to reduce bills, as energy prices remain higher than this.
This tool on the Money Saving Expert website will help you determine how much your bills could be.
Energy Bills Support Scheme
All households with a domestic electricity connection in Great Britain are eligible for a discount from their bills. This £400 discount for all households, paid in monthly payments over the winter, will end in March 2023. There’s no need to contact your energy supplier to arrange this.
For pre-payment meters, the discount will be added to the meter or paid via a voucher. Your energy supplier will need your correct details to ensure you receive this. Find out more on the UK Government’s website.
There are also new cost of living payments that have been announced for the year with details still to come. This includes a £900 Cost of Living payment for people on means-tested benefits, paid across three payments over the year. There is also a £150 Disability Payment planned for the summer, and a £300 Pensioner Payment due in the winter.
Child Winter Heating Assistance
This is a payment of £214.10, paid once a year to parents and carers of disabled children and young people under 19 who receive a qualifying benefit. If you’re not receiving this payment but think you may be eligible, contact Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 Monday – Friday 8am to 6pm or online by webchat.
Warm Home Discount
This £150 payment towards your energy costs is managed by participating energy suppliers. Some people will receive a letter to inform you have this discount. Others may need to apply for this and can do through your energy supplier directly.
If you haven’t received this letter yet and think you might be eligible but need some support to apply, there is a new helpline set up by the government. You can call this on 0800 107 8002 for help to access the discount until 28 February 2023.
Winter Heating Payment
If you’re currently eligible for Cold Weather Payment from DWP and your circumstances have not changed, you’ll be eligible for a Winter Heating Payment.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 26 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically.
The Council Tax Rebate scheme
If eligible, you’ll receive a £150 payment by 30 September 2022 to help with the rising cost of living. Your local council will generally make the payment directly to your bank account.
Section 12 payments
If you are a vulnerable person aged 18 or over, you can get help to cover emergencies and debts. This assistance can come in the form of cash payments or vouchers. Contact your council for more information.
Prepayment meter support
Help is available if you use a prepayment meter. Support depends on your personal circumstances. Contact your energy supplier to get precise information.
Further support from energy suppliers
You can contact your energy supplier if you are worried about paying your bills. Your supplier must consider your own situation and agree on a payment plan based on your ability to pay.
Information for households paying landlords directly, using LPG or heating oil and those in park homes
The UK Government is still to announce the details of payments to be made to park home residents, care home residents and tenants whose landlords pay for their energy via a commercial contract. So far, they have said this will be a £400 support scheme, and you will be able to apply for this online in January 2023.
The UK Government have also committed an additional £200 to households who are not able to receive support for their heating costs through the Energy Price Guarantee. This Alternative Fuel Payment is available if you live in an area that’s not served by the gas grid and to compensate for the rising costs of alternative fuels such as heating oil.
New ECO+ Scheme
A new fund for warm home improvements has been announced with support which will run from April 2023. This will be available to households in Scotland and aims to offer various kinds of insulation to make homes more energy efficient and bring down people’s energy bills by helping them to keep their homes warm.
ECO+ may help if you are struggling to pay your bills and will be open to lower income households, with a focus on homes which are not very energy efficient. You can contact your supplier or local council to find out if they are participating.
Demand Flexibility Service
Households with a smart meter may be able to sign up to the Demand Flexibility Service if your supplier is taking part.
To use this service, your supplier has to access your smart meter data during test events. These are times when they will pay you to reduce usage when other people are using it more, such as early in the evening. This could save you around £100 over the winter.
You can ask your supplier about this, and they might contact you if you are eligible. The service will run until March 2023. You can find the updated list of suppliers taking part here.
Emergency advice and support
Advice Direct Scotland
Advice Direct Scotland provides funding and support. This includes the Home Heating Support Fund which offers households financial relief to help with significant financial hardship, no matter the fuel or payment method. Call them on 0808 800 9060 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or apply via the Home Heating Advice website.
They also offer help for anyone who needs to resolve an issue with their energy supplier. Find out more by calling 0808 196 8660 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or via the Energy Advice Scotland website.
Emergency Power Cut Helpline
Priority Services Register
The Priority Services Register is a free service which provides extra help to those who need it the most. This could be during power cuts or when there’s an interruption to your electricity, gas or water supply.
Citizens Advice Scotland
Citizens Advice Scotland can help with queries about employment, housing, debt, benefits, and consumer issues like energy bills and many other topics. Call their helpline on 0800 028 1456 from Monday – Thursday, 9am to 3pm and Friday, 9am to 12 noon. You can also visit their website.
Debt and welfare support
Citizens Advice Money Talk Team
Age Scotland provides advice for older people on finances, welfare and benefits rights, health and wellbeing, home and care, travel and lifestyle, and work and learning. Call them on 0845 833 0800 Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm or visit their website.
Disability Information Scotland
Disability Information Scotland is a helpline and website that provides reliable and accessible information for people living with a disability. Call them on 0300 323 9961 Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm or visit their website.
Scottish Welfare Fund
The Scottish Welfare Fund helps families and people who are on low incomes. They can provide information on different grants like a Crisis Grant, Self-Isolation Support Grant or Community Care Grant.
Help with benefits
You can check to see what benefits you could be entitled to by completing an online benefits checker.
Young Scot has a list of what benefits are available to younger people and how to claim them.
If you’re struggling to top up your pre-payment meter, you can contact your local council or foodbank for a fuel voucher.
Scottish Government’s Cost of Living Crisis website
The Scottish Government has set up this Cost of Living Crisis website that will signpost you to various ways to get help, for everything from energy bills, benefits and debts to support for families and people with disabilities.
Home Energy Scotland
We’re on hand to help with advice on making your home warmer and funding options that may be available to you. Call us on 0808 808 2282 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm, or use our contact form to get in touch via email.
- Energy saving tips: You might be surprised by how much money you can save by making simple changes to cut your energy use at home.
- Funding finder: You can use our handy online tool to search for funding and support – give it a try and see what help you can get.
- Warmer Homes Scotland: The Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland programme offers funding and support to households struggling to stay warm and keep on top of energy bills.