It is no secret that making your home energy efficient is a worthwhile and cost-effective procedure to undertake, but it can be fairly costly from the outset. If you struggle with your energy bills and cannot seem to keep your home warm as you need to, you may find yourself turning to short term loans such as payday loans, which may not be desirable for your circumstances. However, there are various grants available in the UK that go towards maximising your energy efficiency and installing insulation.
If you are looking for an energy grant, you can test your eligibility using the government’s eligibility checker here.
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Depending on your answers along the way of your application, you will be required to answer some or all of the following:
- Why you require help with your fuel bill
- Whether you require help to make your home more energy efficient
- Do you need help with a new boiler, insulation or other improvements?
- What are your financial and employment circumstances; are you on benefits, and do you own your property?
- What is your Date of Birth?
- When was your property built?
- What kind of property do you live in?
- Which of the following do you have (mains gas, electric heating, loft insulation, double glazing?)
After completing the form, you will be told whether or not you are eligible for an energy grant from the UK government.
Winter Fuel Payments
Winter fuel payments, also known as the ‘Winter Fuel Allowance,’ is a tax-free benefit which is paid annually and functions to support those who were born on or before 5 August 1953 in order to help them afford to heat their homes during the colder winter months. The sum is usually between £100 and £300 per year.
You may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment if both of the following apply:
- You were born on or before 5 August 1953
- You will be living in the UK for at least one day during the week of 18 to 24 September 2017 – this is known as the ‘qualifying week’
If you won’t be living in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if both of the following factors apply:
- You live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA)country
- You have a genuine link with the UK social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK for most of your life
You are however, not eligible for the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.
What Are Cold Weather Payments?
Cold weather payments are separate from Winter Fuel Payments, and they are paid to certain qualifying people if the average temperature in their area plummets or is forecast to drop below zero degrees Celsius for more than seven consecutive days.
The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs for the period between November 1st and March 31st only. Those who are eligible are able to receive £25 for each week-long period of weather below zero degrees during this timeframe.
Payments should be received within 14 working days of the period of cold weather.
You may get Cold Weather Payments if you are in receipt of:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
What is The Warm Home Discount Scheme?
The Warm Home Discount Scheme allows for those who are eligible to get up to £140 off their electricity bill between September and March 2017-18. You may qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, known as the ‘core group’ or if you are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme, known as the ‘broader group.’
It is important to know that the benefit is not paid to you directly. It is applied as a discount to your existing energy bill. If you have a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter however, you may still be able to receive this benefit; most likely in the form of a voucher given to you by your energy supplier.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
It may be possible to get free or discounted insulation services under the Energy Company Obligation Scheme. This scheme is fronted by the government in order to improve the UK’s energy efficiency. Under the ECO, energy suppliers including British Gas, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power, EDF Energy, and SSE are required to help residents to make their homes more energy efficient. Services that are offered include:
- Loft insulation
- Wall insulation
- Replacement or repair of boilers
You must contact your energy supplier to find out if you are eligible for an insulation grant or for free energy efficiency services. Eligibility does not only depend on your personal circumstances, such as if you are on benefits, but also how much your home is in need of improvement, how significant the carbon and cost savings will be, and the area in which you live. Eligibility will be calculated by your energy supplier in accordance with the ECO.
If your home has poor energy performance, but you lack the funds to make the improvements it needs, ensure to get in contact with your energy provider as soon as possible. Additionally, make sure to use the eligibility tools offered by Gov.uk to see if you could benefit from Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments, or the Warm Home Discount Scheme.