Energy grants Warm Front and other government grants
Some privately owned or rented properties can get more than subsidised or free insulation, thanks to enhanced energy-grant schemes run by the government.
Read on to find out more about the different schemes, plus what you need to do if you think you qualify.
Make sure you're not paying your energy supplier more than you need to. Check that you're on the cheapest gas and electricity tariff for your home - use our independent switching service, Which? Switch.
Warm Front and UK grant schemes
Update January 2013: The Warm Front scheme in England ended on 19 January 2013.
Energy-efficiency grant schemes have different names in different parts of the UK. The best known, Warm Front, operates in England, but equivalent schemes include Warm Homes in Northern Ireland, NEST in Wales and the Energy Assistance Package in Scotland.
Energy grants offered under Warm Front and similar schemes help with a wide range of energy-efficiency modifications, including loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, but also a new boiler and heating controls - or even a completely new central heating system. An assessor will visit your home to determine what is needed.
How to apply for a Warm Front grant
Criteria for Warm Front or similar grants differ between schemes.
For more information on these schemes, contact the scheme operator in your part of the UK:
Other benefits and schemes
If you get Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and are struggling to keep up with fuel or water bills, you can ask your benefits office to pay the supplier directly out of your benefits. Fuel Direct payments pay for your current fuel use and an agreed amount of your unpaid bill each week.
Fuel Direct is sometimes also called 'third party deductions'.
Get in touch with your local benefit office or Jobcentre Plus to find out more.
Winter Fuel Payment
Most people aged 63 or over can get a Winter Fuel Payment to help them pay for gas or electric heating in winter. This annual tax-free lump sum is normally paid from November and most payments are made by Christmas. Households with someone over 63 get £200 and over-80s households get £300.
Government Electricity Rebate
The Government Electricity Rebate (GER) is a £12 government contribution towards consumer energy bills.
To be eligible you need to have a contract with a domestic electricity supplier, which will be the case for most householders.
Most households will not need to take any action to receive the rebate. If you pay by direct debit or on receipt of a bill (e.g. quarterly) you will see a credit automatically applied on the next bill.
However, if you pay for your electricity through a pre-payment meter, you may need to actively redeem the rebate. Your supplier should inform you about how you can claim the rebate. It is likely to be either through a voucher to be redeemed next time you top up or you may receive the rebate automatically as your supplier will have sent an electronic credit which you will pick up when you next top up. If you're on a pre-payment meter, do check with your supplier.
There will be another GER provided in autumn 2015.
Cold Weather Payment
Cold Weather Payments are made to households in receipt of qualifying benefits during periods of very cold weather to help people pay for extra heating costs. To get a Cold Weather Payment, the average temperature where you live must be recorded as, or forecast to be, 0°C or below for seven days in a row. Those eligible will get £25 for each seven-day period between 1 November and 31 March.
The DirectGov website has a tool which enables you to find out if your area is due to receive Cold Weather Payment.
Depending on your personal and financial situation, you could be eligible for benefits to help you keep up with your bills and household expenses. Check if you qualify for financial help through the benefits system using the DirectGov website or the Home Heat Helpline.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount is a £140 annual credit that suppliers place on the account of an eligible consumer. Find out more in our guide to the guide to the Warm Home Discount.
Energy Company Obligation
Subsidised energy-efficient improvements are available for qualifying households through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). Find out more in our guide to ECO.
Boiler scrappage scheme
The boiler scrappage scheme in England, Wales, and Scotland was a limited sum of money allocated to stimulate the boiler industry and raise awareness of energy efficiency, by providing a money-off voucher to households wanting to upgrade their old G-rated boilers for a new A-rated boiler. As all the money has now been allocated, the scheme is no longer available.
However, some companies still use boiler scrappage to offer money-off if you get a new boiler from them. This is not the government scheme, and we recommend you get more than one quote because sometimes, even with the money-off offer, these boilers might not be the cheapest.
If you're considering a new boiler, make sure you get a reliable one - check out our boiler Best Buys.