If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, you may be able to take advantage benefits and grants offered by the government and energy suppliers.
Your energy supplier can help if you are having difficulties paying your gas and electric bills. You can get other grants and benefits too. Your options will depend on your situation.
If you're struggling to pay your energy bills, speak to your energy supplier. They MUST work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford under Ofgem rules.
There are also lots of national and local benefits and grants available to help you manage your energy costs. You can find out more about these below.
Our Customer Support Fund
- NRHA Customer Support Fund
The NRHA Customer Support Fund can help our customers who have a specific short-term need which they cannot afford and where there is no other help available.
- Residents and leaseholders can apply for funds using a simple form.
- All applications are subject to a further assessment by phone and funds being available.
- The fund has been split into three categories; Emergency Support Fund, New Home Tenancy Support and Opportunity Fund.
Emergency Support Fund
This fund offers emergency financial assistance when you're unable to access any other funding at all within the time needed.
It can be used to help if you're struggling to afford food and other basic household essentials, or to pay utility bills such as energy, gas or water.
Energy support in Northamptonshire
- Northamptonshire Household Support Fund
This fund provides financial support to help vulnerable households who can't pay for food or energy and have no other access to funds this winter.
How to apply for the fund:
- The fund is available until 31 March 2024.
- Each council has their own fund and eligibility criteria.
- You can find out more about how to apply on their websites:
- Support from the Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service (NESS)
Get support from the Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service (NESS)
They provide free and impartial energy support and advice, including:
- energy supplier and tariff review and advice
- financial health check
You can call, email or make an appointment to visit. And they have a mobile Rural Information Centre that visits rural areas in the county.
National schemes, grants and benefits - from the government
- Warm Home Discount Scheme: a one-off £150 payment
This scheme will reopen in October 2023.
We'll update this page when info is available. Below are details of how the scheme ran last year
£150 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is paid as a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.
There are two ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
- you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit - known as the ‘core group’.
- you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme - known as the ‘broader group’.
How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount. If you’re on a low income, you may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if:
- your energy supplier is part of the scheme
- you’re on a low income
- you get certain means-tested benefits
Your electricity supplier decides who can get the discount and the number of discounts suppliers can give is limited. Please check with your supplier as early as possible to see if you’re eligible and how to apply. Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by 31 March.
- Winter Fuel Payment : an annual payment
If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills during winter. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
The amount you get includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’. This is between £150 and £300. You’ll get this extra amount in winter 2023 to 2024. This is in addition to any other Cost of Living Payments you get with your benefit or tax credits.
You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).
- Cold Weather Payments: when it's zero degrees
Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s very cold.
You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.
You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
You’ll only be eligible if you already recive one of these benefits:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically.
If you think you should have received a payment, but haven’t you can check on the gov.uk website below for your postcode.
National schemes, grants and benefits - from suppliers
- Support with energy debts: including grants
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you may be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.
- British Gas Energy Trust - open to anyone
The British Gas Energy Trust offer grants to clear domestic gas and electricity debts. These grants are open for anyone to apply for, you don't need to be a British Gas customer.
Other energy companies offer grants specifically for their customers, including:
When you apply for a grant, you'll be asked to provide detailed information about your financial situation. The Citizens Advice service may be able to help you with your application.
- British Gas Energy Trust - open to anyone
- Severn Trent Water customers could save 90% off their water bill
Severn Trent Water customers may be able to save up to 90% of your water bill by applying to their ‘Big Difference’ scheme.
Eligibility is based on your household income.
You can find more information and apply on the Severn Trent Big Difference website
- Anglian Water customers - support with water bills
Anglian Water have lots of measures in place for those who might be struggling to pay, from special tariffs to short-term support.
Anglian water offer LITE and Extra LITE tariffs to customers on a low disposable income who are struggling to pay their water bill. Based on your individual situation you could get a discount of up to 50% on your water and sewerage charges by switching to one of these tariffs.
Extra Care Support
Anglian Water also offer an Extra Care Support service – where they create a personalised plan for you to manage your water payments. This may include switching tariffs, setting up an affordable payment plan, a payment break (breathing space) or support through the Anglian Water Assistance Fund.
- Big Community Switch - free energy switch service
Big Community Switch is a free scheme that could help you save money on your energy bills.
What is Big Community Switch?
Collective energy switching uses the bargaining power of a large group of people to get a competitive offer for you. Big Community Switch is coordinated by iChooser.
How does it work?
It’s a free service and open to anyone in the UK.
- They invite pre-vetted energy suppliers to an energy auction where they compete to offer you the lowest energy tariff.
- Suppliers bid against each other until they have the lowest bid.
- You’ll then be sent a personal offer. There’s no obligation to accept the offer
- If you do accept, and choose to switch energy supplier, they will handle the entire switching process for you.
The scheme runs continually with auctions several times a year.
How do you get involved?
To get involved, you’ll need to sign-up on the Big Community Switch website.
You’ll need to provide your contact details, the name of your energy supplier and details of your current energy usage and tariff.
Find out more on the Big Community Switch website
Energy and water support for disabled people
- Scope – Disability Energy Support
Scope offers a free energy and water advice service for disabled people.
Their expert advisers can help and talk you through a wide range of topics related to your energy and water needs, including:
- managing energy and water debt
- switching tariffs or supplier
- energy and water efficiency
- accessing benefits, grants, and trusts
- free fuel vouchers (conditions apply)
- contacting or complaining to your supplier
- understanding your gas and electricity bills
- support registering with the Priority Services Register
Apply online for personalised support: