It’s normal to feel pressured into paying the bills which seem the most urgent. But some bills are more important than others. Bills such as council tax, rent, gas, electricity, TV licence and court fines must be paid first. All the companies which send out bills are expected to deal sympathetically with customers – they can sometimes restructure your payments or hold off chasing payments for 30 days while you talk to an Advice Centre.
With the cost of living set to rise significantly over the coming months due to increases in food and energy prices, the withdrawal of the Universal Credit uplift and the rise in National Insurance levels later this year, it is likely to be a financially challenging time for many households.
There is some support available to help with the rising costs of energy bills. Most suppliers have funds available that can help pay off debt and sometimes help with your ongoing bills. They'll want details about your circumstances and finances. If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, check your supplier’s website or give them a call.
Some of the available schemes are linked below -
Reduce household expenditure
Not having affordable warmth can occur because the costs of heating a home are higher than average and paying for those costs leave people below the poverty line.
This affects around 15% of households in Nottingham and is one of the top five priorities for Nottingham City Council.
Households on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits may be eligible for energy bill discounts. Search www.gov.uk for advice on heating and housing benefits, Cold Weather Payments, Winter Fuel Payments and the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
You can talk to the following local organisations for help:
Get help and support with paying your fuel bills from your nearest advice centre.
For details see our where to get advice page.
Insulation, heating, energy switching & energy advice:
Get support and advice on boiler and insulation grants to reduce your fuel bills and stay warm and healthy in your home from NEP’s Healthy Housing Service. Receive free support in the event of an unplanned power cut by registering on the Priority Services Register. For details go to healthy-housingservice or call the team on 0115 985 9057
Free energy saving products and smart meter sessions:
For the over 60’s, reduce your energy bills with a free home energy check which includes the fitting of energy saving products. Try a Smart Meter session in the comfort of your own home, to find out how a smart meter can help you save money on your gas and electric. Call Age UK Notts on 0115 8599260 or for details visit www.ageuk.org.uk/notts
Cold rented accommodation:
Landlords must comply with latest domestic energy efficiency standards and housing regulations by law. Please contact the customer hub or Safer Housing on 0115 9152020 or SaferHousing@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
There are a number of council tax discounts available that can help you to reduce your bills. Please visit the Council Tax Discount page on Nottingham City Council's website for further details.
We now have more vouchers to help people on Council Tax Support with food and energy bills. The funding has been made available through the Government’s Household Support Grant to help people through the winter.
People who have yet to claim, can now apply for:
- Supermarket vouchers worth £100
- Energy bill vouchers worth £49
Please note, these are on a first-come, first served basis. If you have received supermarket vouchers already in December then you won’t be eligible for this round – but you can still apply for energy vouchers. Apply here: www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/HouseholdSupportVouchers
This is a scheme provided by the NHS - if you have a low income, you may be able to get help with NHS costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). For further details and for information on how to apply please click here.
he Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme aims to fit solar panels to around 655 properties in the city.
Low-income homeowners and private renters in Nottingham can apply to have solar panels fitted to their properties free of charge, in a bid to reduce energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.
Installing solar panels is expected to save around £240 a year in electricity costs per household and would equate to a carbon saving of 440 tonnes over 655 properties.
To be eligible for the scheme, the property must be in the City of Nottingham and have a low energy performance and the household income must be less than £30,000 a year. Anyone interested in applying or finding out more can contact email@example.com or call 0115 666 7298.
There are a number of ways to help to reduce your energy bills:
- Most water and energy suppliers have trust funds making one off grants to clear arrears. For further information please view this website for all the schemes available.
- The Nottingham Energy Partnership has a lot of useful advice about switching your energy supplier, help with insulation and boiler schemes.
- The Energy Savings Trust also provides a lot of other useful information.
Ofcom provide some useful information about how to change your phone, broadband and mobile supplier. The price comparison sites listed have been accredited by Ofcom. Please click here for further details.
Talk to your suppliers. If they don’t help you, go to an Advice Centre. An Advisor can speak to these companies on your behalf to help agree an affordable plan. Please click on our Help and Advice section for contact details for advice centres.
Budgeting Advance - You might be able to get a loan as part of your Universal Credit if you need to cover a specific expense - this is called a 'budgeting advance'. Find more information on the citizens advice website.
This is a scheme run by Seven Trent and could offer you up to 90% off your average yearly bill. You don’t need to be behind on your bills or on benefits to apply. The scheme is available to Severn Trent customers who may be finding it difficult or struggling to pay their water bill and need a little extra help, please see Seven Trent's website for further details.
The Big Difference forms to apply online can be found here.
Please be aware that this scheme is for people who are struggling to pay their water bills, submitting an application may have an impact on your credit score.
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2019 to 2020 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. For further details please visit the Gov.uk website.