Feeling the cold this winter?
Winter is a time when everyone's household energy bills increase, especially when energy prices are going up. If you are struggling to pay your heating bills, help and support is available.
The Council's Welfare Rights Team can help make sure that you are not missing out on any entitlement to benefits, including some to help you to heat your home. You can contact the Team by calling 01738 476900 (Option 1).
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount (WHD) is a government scheme where the largest energy suppliers' credit £140 onto the electricity bills of certain low-income households each winter.
People who are who are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit on the qualification date will receive a letter by mid-December telling them whether the discount will be applied automatically by the energy supplier, or if the customer needs to contact the WHD Helpline by the end of February 2022 to submit a claim. The WHD Helpline will be open for calls on Monday 18 October.
Households in receipt of other benefits may also be able to claim a WHD direct from their energy supplier. If you think you may qualify you should contact your supplier as soon as possible.
The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
Cold Weather Payment
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you're getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
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 be able to check if your area is due a payment when next year's scheme starts on 1 November 2021.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a 'Winter Fuel Payment'.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you're eligible and either:
- get the State Pension
- get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
If you do not get either of these you may need to make a claim.
If you've got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again.
Scarf and the Home Energy Advice Team
Scarf delivers a Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT) service across the Perth & Kinross. This service is funded and supported by the local authority to help residents heat their homes for less.
HEAT offers free and impartial advice either over the telephone or through home visits* to homeowners, local authority tenants, housing association tenants and private rented tenants. Their advice helps householders reduce their energy use, find the best supplier and tariff to suit their needs, and help them make the switch. Advisors from HEAT also offer an advocacy service to help those in fuel debt. Call the team on 0808 129 0888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may qualify for £140 off your electricity bill this winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Give Scarf a call to find out whether you're eligible for the scheme, or complete the Warm Home Discount Scheme form to arrange a callback.
*Home visits are not being carried out currently due to Covid restrictions, but advice is available over the phone.
Home Energy Scotland
Home Energy Scotland is a network of local advice centres covering all of Scotland. Its expert advisors offer free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste and more. HES is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Energy Saving Trust, to help people in Scotland create warmer homes, reduce their bills and help tackle climate change.
Changing your energy supplier
You may want to shop around to see if switching your energy supplier can get you a better deal. Citizen's Advice Scotland has some guidance on things to consider before you switch and how to get the best tariff for your household.
What to do if your energy supplier goes under
You may have seen on the news that some energy suppliers are going under due to the rising price of gas. If your supplier ceases trading you will still have a supply of energy. Citizen's Advice Scotland offers this advice for people if their energy supplier goes under.
Energy saving tips
There are also simple things everyone can do to reduce your household energy bills, like making sure devices like TVs are not left switched on in standby or filling your kettle more efficiently.