Home grants Warm Front and other government grants
There are a small range of grants that can provide households with energy efficiency measures. Some grants can also help pay for energy bills.
Read on to find out more about the different schemes, including Affordable Warmth, Nest, the Cold Weather Payment and the Winter Fuel Payment, and what you need to do if you think you qualify.
Make sure you're not paying your energy supplier more than you need to. Use our independent switching service, Which? Switch, to check that you're on the cheapest gas and electricity tariff for your home.
Affordable Warmth and other UK grant schemes
The Affordable Warmth Obligation - part of the Energy Company Obligation - took the place of the Warm Front scheme that ended in January 2013. It is available in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In Wales a scheme called Nest provides assistance to households to improve the energy efficiency of their house. Nest is managed by British Gas.
Energy grants offered under Affordable Warmth and similar schemes help with a wide range of energy-efficiency modifications, including loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. You could also qualify for 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.
To qualify, you need to receive certain benefits and must either own your property or rent it privately. If you're renting, you need the owner's permission to do the work.
For more information on these schemes, contact the scheme operator in your part of the UK:
- Home Energy Scotland (Scotland): 0808 808 2282
- NEST (Wales): 0808 808 2244
- nidirect (Northern Ireland): 0300 200 7874
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. This is sometimes called 'third party deductions'.
Get in touch with your local benefit office or Jobcentre Plus to find out more.
Winter Fuel Payment
Most people born before 1953 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 households.
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 (eg 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. So contact your supplier to find out how you can claim.
It is likely to be either through a voucher to be redeemed next time you top up, or you may receive the rebate automatically if your supplier sends an electronic credit which you pick up when you next top up.
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 GOV.UK website has a tool which enables you to find out if your area is due to receive the 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 GOV.UK 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 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 a discount 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 discount, these boilers might not be the cheapest.
If you're considering a new boiler, make sure you read our essential guide - 5 things you need to know before you get a new boiler.