The best government grants and top tips to save hundreds on your heating bill

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The price cap on energy bills is set to rise in April. Ofgem first announced the increase from £1,042 per year to £1,138 last month much to the dismay of around 15m UK families.

The default tariff cap, or energy price cap is a limit on the unit rate and standing charge that energy suppliers can charge for their standard variable – or ‘default’ – tariffs. The rate is set by Ofgem, the energy regulator, and is reviewed twice a year.

With energy bills set to rise by up to £96 in April, UK boiler installation company, Boiler Central, has compiled a list of government grants, benefits and expert tips to help you cut costs on your heating bill without compromising on comfort.

UK Grants and benefits

Cold Weather Payments

What is it?

One-off payments to help with heating costs each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a certain period.

Who is eligible?

Those that already receive any of the following benefits: Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

Winter Fuel Payment

What is it?

An annual, one-off payment to help you fund fuel costs during winter.

Who is eligible?

Those born on or before 5 October 1954.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

What is it?

£140 off your electricity bill (as long as your supplier is signed up to the scheme).

Who is eligible?

If you’re on a low income or getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, you may be eligible to apply.

Green Home Grants

What is it?

A voucher towards the cost of installing energy-efficient improvements to your home. These improvements could be to upgrade your insulation or install low-carbon heating, for example. The voucher must be redeemed, and home improvements made by 31 March 2022.

Who is eligible?

Homeowners or residential landlords.

Grants to help pay off your energy debt

What is it?

A grant from a charitable trust to help you pay off debts to your energy supplier.

British Gas Energy Trust offers grants which are open to anyone (you don’t have to be a customer).

Scottish Power Hardship Fund, Ovo Debt and Energy Assistance, E.on Energy Fund, EDF Energy Customer Support Fund, Npower Energy Fund and Bulb Energy Fund all offer grants specifically for their customers.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who is struggling to pay off their energy debts. Those who apply will need to provide detailed financial information in the application. Charitable trusts also like to see evidence that you’ve received debt advice before you apply. This can increase your chances of making a successful application.

Further information on how to claim the grants or benefits listed can be found on GOV.UK

Practical tips to save money on your energy bills

Although grants and benefits aren’t open to everyone, there are some lesser-known ways to save money on your energy bills by making small changes in your home. Heating experts from Boiler Central share their expert tips for keeping your house warm during winter:

1: The ideal thermostat setting for winter is 18-21 degrees. Turning the temperature up higher won’t make your house heat up quicker and will instead use more fuel and increase your heating bill.

2: If you’re drying clothes, a proper drying rack is the best option. Drying clothes on the radiator will block the heat.

3: Poor roof or wall insulation can mean losing up to 35% of the heat in your home. Making sure you have good-quality insulation will save you money in the long run.

4: Cover your letterbox with a seal or use keyhole covers to prevent heat from escaping and make sure your house can heat up quicker.

5: Switching to an eco-friendly showerhead means you’ll use less hot water per shower, and less energy to heat the water.

6: If possible, use thermostatic radiator valves so you can control the temperature of each radiator. Make sure the thermostat valve is turned to zero in areas that you don’t use.

7: Switching to an A-rated boiler can help you save up to £315 per year through reduced energy consumption.

8: As soon as it gets dark, draw your curtains or blinds to prevent heat loss. Lined or thermal curtains are a good option.