Support for our customers
Here at So Energy we speak to our customers every day about supporting them through the energy crisis. With winter fast approaching, we wanted to set out all the support you can access if you are struggling.
Much of the content of this blog is drawn from these much longer advice documents available from Ofgem which is great if you’d like to learn a bit more. There is also a useful government website on Help for Households which has information on support available to help with the cost of living.
In this blog, we’ve split things into a few different themes:
Financial support that will be provided without you needing to apply.
Financial support that’s available, but you need to apply for it to get it.
Keeping your home warm for less money.
Support if you’re struggling to pay your bills.
Financial help that doesn’t require an application:
Warm Home Discount (WHD, England and Wales)
The WHD is a £150 credit for qualifying customers’ energy accounts, provided each winter. Customers in England and Wales do not need to apply for the WHD. Instead, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will provide us with the details of those customers and we will pay them directly.
The situation is different in Scotland– some customers will get the credit automatically, while others must apply for the WHD each winter. See the next section, below and our helpful page here, Warm Home Discount Help Centre.
Winter Fuel Payment (if you’ve received it before)
The Winter Fuel Payment is a £250-£600 top-up on qualifying customers’ welfare benefits. If you’ve applied for and received the Winter Fuel Payment in the past, you normally don’t need to apply for it again. If you haven’t previously received it, please see the next section.
Cold Weather Payment (England and Wales)
Customers on certain welfare benefits will automatically receive an additional £25 a week top-up to their welfare benefits if the average temperature falls below 0°C for 7 consecutive days between November and March.
Child Winter Heating Assistance (Scotland)
Child Winter Heating Assistance is a benefit from the Scottish Government to help disabled children, young people and their families with increased heating costs over winter. It’s paid automatically once a year to eligible persons by the Government. The payment for 2023-2024 is £235.70 and these payments will begin in November 2023.
Financial support that’s available but you need to apply to get it:
Warm Home Discount (WHD, Scotland)
Unlike in England and Wales, those customers Scotland in Soctland may receive the WHD payments in slightly different ways. Some customers will automatically receive the £150 credit towards their energy bills
Winter Fuel Payment (first time applicants)
The Winter Fuel Payment is a £250-£600 top-up on qualifying customers’ welfare benefits. It is provided to most people born before 25/09/1956. Find out if you’re eligible here. You can claim here if you live in the UK and here in certain European countries.
You can find more information here.
Household Support Fund
The Government has provided extra money to local councils to help those struggling with costs and fill gaps in support this winter. You’ll need to contact your local council to get help. Details on how to contact them can be found here.
Home Heating Support Fund (Scotland)
The Home Heating Support Fund is available to customers in Scotland to support you if you are struggling with your energy costs. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.
Warmer Home 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. You can find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.
Section 12 Payments (Scotland)
Section 12 or ‘Section Payments’ can be paid to a vulnerable person in Scotland aged 18 or over, and can cover emergencies, and debts as well as preventative help to avoid a person’s needs becoming greater. They are available from your local council. Details on how to contact them can be found here.
Discretionary Assistance Fund (Wales)
You may be eligible for a grant from this fund if you are in hardship and need help to pay for essential costs. Further information can be found here.
Support if you use an oxygen concentrator
If you use an oxygen concentrator at home, you can claim money back for the electricity it uses. The company that supplies your concentrator can make payments to your bank account. Contact them to find out how to claim.
Keeping your home warm for less money:
There’s also the Household Support Fund that has been set up to help those struggling to keep their homes warm while also paying for utilities, food and clothing. If you are struggling to access support from this or any other Government or Council-run scheme, that you believe you are entitled to, please go directly to your local council, your local councillor or your MP who will be able to point you in the right direction.
For more independent advice on keeping your home warm this winter, we recommend visiting:
Simple Energy Advice: A government-endorsed website that, unsurprisingly, provides straightforward energy advice.
Energy Savings Trust: A charity that provides energy efficiency advice and support.
There are also several organisations offering free support to qualifying households to help with home improvements and efficient energy usages. To receive this support, you must apply and meet the qualifying criteria (which generally centre around having a low income and a poorly insulated home).
Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS)
ECO and GBIS are obligations placed on suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of qualifying households. To qualify, you need to be in a home with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or below, be in social housing or on certain benefits while living in your own home or private rental accommodation. You can find out more about these schemes on our website here.
If you live in Wales, Nest offers a range of free, impartial advice and, if you are eligible, a package of free home energy efficiency improvements such as a new boiler, central heating, and insulation.
You can find out more information and see you’re eligible to apply here.
Warmer Homes (London)
If you live in London, grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 for energy efficiency measures are available to low-income homeowners and private tenants.
Find out more information and whether you qualify here.
Support if you’re struggling to pay your bills:
We understand that given rising energy bills, customers may still struggle to pay multiple bills that don't involve energy. If you find yourself getting into difficulty, our advice is to talk to someone about it. The sooner you start engaging with the problem, the sooner you can start taking steps to get things under control. We want to provide support as soon as possible.
We recognise that you may find it difficult to speak with us on this topic, and although we are happy to do so, we can also work with any of the organisations we’ve listed below on a plan that works for you. These organisations can help provide independent help and advice with all your monthly outgoings:
MoneyHelper is a government-backed service offering you tools and advice to help manage your expenditure.
Our new Hardship Fund is for customers who cannot pay their bills and are falling into more debt. We appreciate it’s still a very difficult time for many customers, and we hope to be able to help our most vulnerable customers. We’ll be releasing information on this soon.
We also encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible about changes in your circumstances and situation, so we can offer help where we can. If you are struggling with debt, we can work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford based on what is called your ‘ability to pay’. This includes reviewing a plan you have agreed on before.
We hope this information has provided clarity on how you can get help with your bills. If you’d like to read more about how we’re aiming to help customers in other areas you can read our blog here.
How to contact us
We’re on hand to make sure we support you with difficulties you may have. Our dedicated team will be able to guide you on the best course of action given your circumstances.
By phone: 0330 111 5050 from Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.
By email: email@example.com
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