Energy help, advice and financial support round-up
Climate groups from Seaford, Newhaven and Lewes have put together this summary of sources of help and advice with energy bills and keeping your home warm and energy-efficient. If you know of any others, please add them in the ‘Comments’ section.
1. Financial Help
Lewes District Council
Provides information on financial help and support including Household Support Grants for households in the most need with food, energy and water bills, plus financial grants to support energy efficiency as and when they are available.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The government scheme provides a one-off payment off your electricity bill or by voucher for pre payment meters. The scheme is for people on low incomes the exact criteria for which are altered somewhat each year. The scheme re-opens in October 2023
Help to Heat – Boiler Upgrade Scheme
The Government’s Help to Heat scheme includes boiler upgrade grants of up to £6,000 to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps. The scheme runs until 2025, but, as TTL has reported, has had its problems.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme
If you claim certain benefits or live in social housing, you can get help with the cost of insulation or replacing or repairing your boiler or upgrading your heating system either via energy suppliers taking part in the scheme. Ofgem has a list of participating suppliers here. Local councils may also participate in the scheme from time to time.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off, tax-free payment to help with heating costs. It is made automatically to households with someone over state pension age. Most people born on or before 25 September 1956 will usually qualify for a payment of between £250 and £600 in 2023/24.
Cold Weather Payment
A Cold Weather Payment is given to those on certain benefits or mortgage interest support if the average temperature in their area is 0 degrees celsius or below for a seven consecutive days. Currently, recipients get £25 for each 7-day period of cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. The next scheme starts in November 2023.
Grants to pay off energy debts
If you are in debt to your energy supplier, you may be able to get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to help pay it off. This is an independent charity and these grants are available to anyone – you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.
If you are struggling financially and have a prepayment meter with less than £4, and are not due a payment for a while, you can ask your utility company for a fuel voucher. This is worth £49 for a family, You can apply twice a year and it doesn’t have to be repaid. A PIN number is sent to your mobile phone which you can show at your top-up shop.
For more on financial help with energy bills, see the Citizens Advice website page here: Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills – Citizens Advice.
2. Advice on insulation and energy efficiency
The national not-for-profit organisation provides a retrofit advice service where homeowners can provide details about their home online then speak with a Retrofit Coordinator about which measures would have the biggest energy saving impact for their home. The Retrofit Coordinator can get quotations from local contractors who are all approved members of the Retrofit cooperative, and help homeowners decide how to proceed.
Warm East Sussex
East Sussex County Council’s main source of information and grants for energy efficiency home owners. It offers free Warm Home Checks for anyone in East Sussex struggling to keep warm at home. Plus tips for keeping warm and basic DIY energy efficiency home improvements
0800 464 7307
Energy Saving Trust
An independent ‘profit for purpose’ organisation working to address the climate emergency by encouraging governments, business and individuals to move to clean energy. Provides plenty of advice, tools and calculators to help people save energy at home.
Transition Town Lewes
Has a dedicated ‘Taking Action’ section with tips and articles on how to improve energy efficiency, insulate a home and switch to green energy sources such as heat pumps. Also has online Open Eco House webinars on
Heating your home
Insulation and draughtproofing
Powering your home.
3. Advice on energy bills
National Energy Action
NEA is a national fuel poverty charity. Its Warm and Safe Homes (WASH) Advice Service is a free support service providing advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home. It can also help with benefits advice and income maximisation.
Energy Advice: 0800 304 7159 (Mon-Fri 10am-midday) Webchat and online referrals also available.
The community energy company for Lewes and the Ouse Valley provides a free energy bill-checking service through its Local Energy Champions to see if homeowners are on the right tariff, whether they qualify for financial support and what home energy efficiency measures they can take. Drop-in sessions in Lewes are regularly provided, including every Tuesday morning at the Corn Exchange at Lewes Town Hall. Find dates and locations of other upcoming sessions here.
Money Saving Expert
The website founded by consumer champion Martin Lewis has a wealth of information on how to cut the cost of energy and water bills – and what help is available if you’re struggling to pay a bill.
4. Other useful services
Citizens Advice – Extra Help Unit
This unit has been set up to help people who are vulnerable or at risk of being disconnected by their energy provider. It can help raise complaints with a provider on your behalf. Referral is needed through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Warm Spaces in Lewes
For anyone worried about heating their home during the cost-of-living crisis, a number of venues across Lewes District have opened their doors as ‘warm spaces’. These venues welcome anyone seeking a warm place to relax, work, have company, or seek out advice on debt, bills, benefits and food. In Lewes, warm spaces are provided at: Christ Church, Fitzjohns, King’s Church, Lewes House of Friendship, and Trinity St Johns. Learn more from the District Council’s Warm Spaces Directory here.
Wave Community Bank has a benefits calculator that lets you see your eligibility and whether you’re getting all the financial help you’re entitled to. Give it a go here.