Help and support with rising energy costs
Find information and support about rising energy costs.
Published: 24 September 2021
Last updated: 7 October 2021
With energy prices set to increase across the country, we know that many people will be worried about rising expenses and we want to provide as much support as possible to our residents.
A range of support and guidance is available if you’re struggling with your energy bills, concerned about rising energy prices, or would like further information on how you can cut your energy use at home.
Local energy advice
Westminster Citizen’s Advice
Citizens Advice Westminster offer specialist energy advice to Westminster residents as part of the Big Energy Saving Network. They can provide tips to help you check, switch and save on your energy bills, advice on how to resolve issues with your energy supplier, and support applying for energy grants, if eligible. They offer energy saving workshops and one-to-one appointments.
The Green Doctors offer free help if you are over 65, on a low income or have a long-term health condition or a disability. They can help you to save money on your energy bills, make your home more energy efficient and improve your health.
- explain how to make your home energy efficient
- install energy saving devices
- offer impartial advice on switching energy providers to save money
- give you income support and debt advice
- connect you with other health services
To make a referral for an initial phone consultation fill in the Green Doctor referral form and they can arrange a visit to your home to assess how they can help you.
Westminster Home Improvement Agency
Westminster Home Improvement Agency supports vulnerable residents to maintain independence and live comfortably and safely in their own homes. It is available to anyone who is over 60 or receives a disability benefit.
The services includes:
- providing advice and assistance with repairs, improvements and adaptations for clients whose homes require works. This includes those who find their homes cold in the winter months.
- applying for financial grant aid on your behalf for works recommended by occupational therapists
Find more information about the Westminster Home Improvement Agency (WHIA)
Westminster Handyperson Service
Westminster residents aged over 60, or in receipt of disability benefit, can request free help from a handyperson. The service covers minor works to your home, such as replacing light bulbs, and other DIY jobs.
Westminster Local Support Payment
If you need help because of an emergency or a crisis, you may be entitled to a Local Support Payment. These payments are not given as cash, so cannot be used to pay for energy costs, but can provide short term assistance in the form of goods or vouchers for residents who are struggling due to an emergency.
Support from Energy Companies
If you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them. Suppliers must work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford under Ofgem rules. This includes reviewing a plan you have agreed before. Contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about paying your energy bills. They have agreed emergency measures with the government during the pandemic, including fresh commitments to support people most in need this winter.
You can ask for:
- a review of your payments and debt repayments
- payment breaks or reductions
- more time to pay
- access to hardship funds
- Priority Service registration – a free support service if you are in a vulnerable situation.
National support schemes
You may also qualify for further support towards your energy bills, if you meet certain eligibility criteria.
- Winter Fuel Payment – a £100 to £300 fuel payment for people born on or before 5 October 1954.
- Cold Weather Payment – a £25 payment for every 7 days of very cold weather between November and March.
- Warm Home Discount – a £140 discount for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income households.
Your rights - what to know if your provider fails
If your energy supplier fails or exits the market, the energy regulator, Ofgem, have processes in place to ensure your gas and electricity supply will continue.
A new supplier will be appointed for you and any credit you may be owed on your household energy will also be returned. You shouldn’t switch to another supplier until a new one has been appointed.
Once this happens, your new supplier will likely put you on a special ‘deemed’ contract when they take on your supply. This is a contract you haven’t chosen and may cost more than your old tariff, so your bills could go up.
Once contacted by the new supplier, ask to be put on their cheapest tariff or check if you can save by switching to a new supplier. You won’t be charged exit fees.
For further advice, visit:
- Ofgem: How you’re protected when energy firms collapse
- Money Saving Expert: Avro Energy and Green cease trading – here's what it means for your gas and electricity
Switching your energy provider could be a good way of saving money on your energy bills. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Westminster residents can take part in the London-wide Big London Energy Switch, which helps you benefit from the bargaining power of a large group
- There is a fair-priced green energy company exclusively for Londoners called London Power
- Alternatively, you can look to switch individually using a price comparison website or contacting a new supplier directly
Energy suppliers are rolling out the next generation of gas and electricity meters, called smart meters. These are provided at no up-front cost from energy providers and offer automated meter reading, and end to estimated bills and live in-home display of your energy use and costs.
For further information on smart meters, visit: