Stay warm this winter - help is out there to beat the chills
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT AID IS AVAILABLE
FROSTY nights are creeping in meaning for many, heating bills will soar - not helped by the rising cost in fuel which is set to put a huge strain on our purse strings.
Fortunately, help is available in the form or grants and schemes that could make all the difference this winter.
Leicestershire County Council has recently announced that its Warm Homes fund is now open and other options are on the cards too. Government schemes such as the Winter Fuel Payment or Warm Home Discount can provide substantial savings on heating costs.
There’s also the Green Energy Initiative, which helps residents make energy-saving improvements to their homes to lower bills.
Customers can also get grants directly from their energy suppliers to help pay off debts.
Here we break down each scheme, revealing all you need to know, what you can be awarded, how to check if you’re eligible and how to apply.
LEICESTERSHIRE WARM HOMES FUND
The scheme was set up by National Grid to support local authorities to address some of the issues affecting “fuel-poor” households.
If your home does not have central heating and you meet the eligibility criteria, you could get fullyfunded central heating set up, along with help to get a fully- funded gas connection if your property does not have one.
Additional improvements could be made to your home, such as having cavity wall and loft insulation fitted, which could save you more than £250 a year in energy bills.
You should also check if you’re entitled to any benefits or offers, such as the £140 Warm Home Discount off your energy bill.
Those eligible for the fund can also access advice on finding a better tariff for their energy bills and grants to help repair or replace broken heating.
If households already have a central heating boiler, the council will help to identify alternate funding schemes as Warm Homes Fund cannot be used for this.
To be eligible for the scheme you must be a home owner or private tenant without central heating and meet one of the following criteria.
Household income (after tax) within certain thresholds
Receive certain benefits including, income support or job seekers allowance.
Receive child benefit
Live in an eligible postcode Your street /estate is identified for a Community Scheme.
For more information, go to: leicestershire.gov.uk/health-andwellbeing
GOVERNMENT WARM HOME DISCOUNT
This is a national scheme which offers a one-off discount on your electricity bill between October and March.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity.
The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the scheme.
There are two ways to be eligible - you qualify for the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
For more information, go to: gov.uk/the-warm-home-discountscheme
GREEN ENERGY INITIATIVE
The Green Deal helps you make energy-saving improvements to your home and to find the best way to pay for them.
If you need help paying for home improvements, you may be able to get a loan through the Green Deal, but you will have to pay this back.
The improvements that could save you the most energy depend on your home, but typical examples include insulation, such as solid wall, cavity wall or loft insulation, draught-proofing, double glazing and renewable energy generation, such as solar panels or heat pumps.
The Green Deal may be right for you if you think your property could benefit from energy-saving improvements, and you can always talk to a Green Deal assessor or provider for free advice. gov.uk/green-deal-energy-savingmeasures
WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS
If you were born on or before September 26, 1955 you could receive between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.
If eligible, you will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically.
Eligibility includes receiving the state pension, receiving another social security benefit (but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).
Most payments are made automatically in November or December. You should get your money by January 14. gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
GRANTS VIA ENERGY SUPPLIERS
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
Energy companies offer a range of amounts, but all of the following have schemes to help:
British Gas Energy Trust; Scottish Power Hardship Fund; Ovo Energy Fund;
E.ON Energy Fund;
E.ON Next Energy Fund;
EDF Energy Customer Support Fund;
Bulb Energy Fund.