Grants and funding
Help with Energy Bills
With rising energy bills, many people are concerned about how they will be able to afford the increase and continue to heat their home.
There are a number of schemes, grants and advice available to help with energy bills;
Council Tax Rebate
The Government has announced an Energy Bill Rebate for households in England from April 2022 to help with rising energy costs.
This includes a one-off payment of £150 to most households in Council Tax bands A-D, excluding empty or second homes.
Find out more about the council tax rebate.
Energy Bill Support Scheme
The Energy Bills Support Scheme (also known as the Energy Bill Discount) is a £400 non-repayable discount that will be provided to eligible households to help with energy bills from October. You do not need to apply for the discount, it will be administered by suppliers and paid to consumers over 6 months. All households with a domestic electricity connection in Great Britain are eligible for the £400 discount.
Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December to March 2023. It will be provided on a monthly basis regardless of if you pay monthly, quarterly or have an associated payment card.
Households will never be asked for their bank details. Electricity bill payers should enquire with their supplier if they have not received their first instalment by the end of October.
Breakdown of the delivery process for each payment method:
- direct debit customers will receive the discount automatically as a reduction to the monthly direct debit amount collected, or as a refund to the customer’s bank account following direct debit collection during each month of delivery
- standard credit customers and payment card customers will see the discount automatically applied as a credit to standard credit customers’ accounts in the first week of each month of delivery, with the credit appearing as it would if the customer had made a payment
- smart prepayment meter customers will see the discount credited directly to their smart prepayment meters in the first week of each month of delivery
- traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with redeemable vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) from the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post. Customers will need to take action to redeem these at their usual top-up point
For more information and FAQs visit GOV.UK
If you have a traditional prepayment meter, you are entitled to government support with your energy costs, including £400 off your bills this winter.
- Make sure your supplier has your up to date contact details
- Check your post, texts, email and spam for your Energy Bills Support Scheme vouchers. If you can’t find your voucher, or it has expired, your supplier can reissue them
- Act on supplier instructions to redeem vouchers at top up points, ensuring you take valid ID with you
- You have 90 days to redeem the vouchers
Alternative Fund for households without a direct relationship to domestic electricity supplier
Most households in England, Scotland and Wales get a £400 discount on their energy bills automatically. In some cases, you do not get the discount automatically, for example if you:
- pay for energy through a landlord, housing manager or site owner
- live in a park home, houseboat or off the electricity grid
Use this service to apply for the discount if you do not get it automatically. You can only make one application per household.
You may be eligible to apply if your main home is:
- a residential park home
- on a boat on a permanent residential mooring
- on a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site
- part of a heat network without an electricity meter
- in social or private rented accommodation which has a business energy connection or a communal electricity supply
- off the mains electricity or gas grid
- in a care home or assisted living facility and you pay for some or all of your care (directly or through loss of pension or other benefits)
- in a separate domestic home within a non-domestic property (such as a farmhouse or a flat above a shop)
You do not need to apply if you or your landlord:
- has a domestic energy meter
- pay your bills directly to an energy supplier (such as British Gas or EDF)
You cannot apply if you’ve already had Energy Bills Support Scheme payments. This is 6 automatic monthly payments or prepayment meter vouchers of £66 or £67 from your energy supplier, from October 2022.
For more information and to apply visit GOV.UK
Energy Bill Relief Scheme
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will see energy prices for non-domestic energy customers such as businesses, charities and public sector organisations cut – protecting them from rising energy costs.
The Government will be providing a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (such as UK businesses, the voluntary sector such as charities and community groups and the public sector such as schools and hospitals) whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated due to global energy prices.
It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022 and deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts and will apply to energy use from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 for an initial six-month period. This will begin for October bills, typically received in November.
No action or applications need to be done to receive the support, it will be automatically applied to bills.
For more details visit the Government page on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme
Energy Price Guarantee
The Energy Price Guarantee will mean a typical household will not pay more than £2,500 per year on their energy bills. This will save the average household £1,000 and is in addition to the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme.
A ‘typical household’ uses around 12,000 kWh of gas and 2,900 kWh of electricity.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is available to you if you were born before 25 September 1956 and receive a state pension or other social security benefit.
The Winter Fuel Payment provides £200-£600 to help towards the cost of heating bills and this year includes a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of between £150-£300. This will be in addition to any Cost of Living payment you’re eligible for if you receive benefits or tax credits.
You should be automatically enrolled if you are eligible, but if you do not receive a state pension or social security benefit, you may need to make a claim.
The deadline for claims for winter 22/23 is 31 March 2023.
Heating oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) users
The prime minister said a fund will be created to support those who are not covered by a cap such as those using heating oil and LPG. We will share more information as it is announced.
Money Helper has provided advice for heating oil and LPG users.
Accessing financial support if you use home oxygen equipment
With the rising cost of living, please remember, you can be reimbursed for the electricity used by your oxygen concentrator.
Information on how to access financial support whilst utilising oxygen.
You are also entitled to join the priority services register with your energy supplier which includes:
- Priority support in an emergency
- Being informed of planned power cuts
Please contact your energy supplier to arrange this if not already in place.
Further information available from OFGEM and Asthma and Lung UK
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme was first introduced in 2013 and places legal obligations on large energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic properties.
ECO4 (2022-2026) aims to support the least energy efficient properties, with SAP Bands D-G and targeting residents on low incomes. Measures include replacement heating systems, insulation and renewable energy technologies.
The ECO Flex scheme offers residents an additional qualifying route who are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit but are however, on a low income and vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.
The Council have published their Statement of Intent, detailing the routes residents may qualify for energy efficiency improvements.
For further information or to discuss your eligibility, please contact the Sustainability Team on 01376 552525.
Major Housing Grant
We make major housing grants for:
- installing hot water or heating systems
- repairing hot water or heating systems
You can apply for a major housing grant if you are:
- an owner occupier of a property
- a leaseholder with at least five years lease remaining and have a repairing responsibility for the property
The property you want to repair, must be your only or main residence and must have been in your ownership for at least three years. For first time buyers, you must have owned the property for at least 12 months.
Major housing grants are means-tested and you must repay the grant in full when you sell or transfer the property.
You can contact us to apply for a major housing grant.
Minor Works Assistance
Minor works grants go towards the cost of undertaking repairs not covered by the Decent Homes standard that if left will have a detrimental effect on the fabric of the dwelling or mobile home.
You can only apply for a minor works grant if you are receiving an income related benefit.
You must repay the grant in full when you sell or transfer the property.
You can contact us to apply for a minor works grant.
Disabled Facilities Grants
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) if:
- you or a member of your family has a disability
- you need to adapt your home to make it suitable for a person with disabilities
You can check GOV.UK for information about what you’ll get and who can apply for a DFG.
To apply for a DFG, you need to contact the occupational therapy team from Essex County Council’s Adult Social Care.
Essex Essential Living Fund
Anyone can apply for this funding. You will need to answer questions about your income, earnings and savings. You also need to give proof of your financial situation.
The Essential Living Fund can help pay for:
- household furnishings
- white goods
- clothing and footwear, including school uniforms in exceptional circumstances
- general living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries and money for pay-as-you-go fuel meters
The Essex Essential Living Fund has replaced Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants.
You must live in Essex and apply through Southend Borough Council.
Essex Cultural Diversity Project (ECDP)
ECDP will be managing a food and fuel fund within its network of organisations supporting culturally diverse communities to ensure they have access to support and funding as needed.
You can get apply for support through Essex Cultural Diversity Project.
Groundwork East offers the Green Doctor Service throughout the Essex area, focusing on Colchester, Braintree and Harlow. The service works with residents living in fuel poverty that may be struggling to pay their utility bills or to keep their homes warm to better get control of their energy usage, get on top of utility bills including utility debts, in order to live in warmer homes and have a better quality of life.
- Look at funding to improve home energy efficiency i.e. insulation, new boilers
- Switching energy companies
- Energy awareness advice for residents themselves
- Help to pay off debts by applying to grants or setting up payment plans
- Onward referrals i.e. Anglian Water Priority Services Team
- Free energy saving measures;
- LED light bulbs
- Draught proofing
- Radiator panels
- Letter flap and door brushes
- Hot water bottles
- Water saving shower heads
Although the service is free there are qualifying criteria:
- Anyone aged over 65
- Anyone living on a low income or with debt
- Anyone with mental or physical medical conditions, especially ones exacerbated by the cold i.e. arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular conditions
- Young families who have children under the age of 5
- Anyone living in emergency housing or poor housing conditions
- Pregnant women
Initially a first consultation is had, with the option of a second if needed as well as a follow up call to see how the suggested actions and recommendations are going.
Residents can get in touch directly through firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 077 0294 1440.
Visit the Green Doctors website to request a referral.
Braintree District Council Handyman Scheme
We offer a free service for residents aged 65 and over or vulnerable owner occupiers and private tenants to help keep you safe and well. The service does not cover plumbing or electrical work and does not include maintenance work.
In terms of helping keep homes warm, they can help with radiator bleeding, draught insulation, foil backing, hot water tank jacket, trickle vents, replace curtain rails and loft clearance to enable loft insulation to be installed.
Contact the Sustainability Team on 01376 552525 for information on criteria and eligibility.
Residents who are Social Tenants (eg Eastlight) should contact their own Housing Association.