Low income customers may receive financial assistance from British Gas for paying utility bills in arrears. There are programmes available such as the charitable Energy Trust they contribute to, rebates from the government, as well as payment plans that are provided to eligible households. Families in poverty and vulnerable customers can also seek help from various government schemes and programmes, such as Warm Home Discount or third party deductions. There are other forms of assistance, and details on these and other solutions from British Gas for addressing heating or electric bills is below.
Direct financial aid from the company
Grants for paying both energy bill arrears as well as other debts are available from the British Gas Energy Trust. While this can help customers on a low income, the funds are issued by an independent charity and the trustees that oversee it. The demand for help is high and thousands of households may be assisted each year, but many will not be eligible for an award.
There are many forms of financial help offered from the Trust, and it ranges from grants for the unpaid bills to stop a disconnect to funds for conservation. There can be assistance for essential buying appliances with an aim on conserving energy. As part of this, there may be grants provided to British Gas customers to pay for a boiler replacement or repair, efficiency fridges or washers, and other critical household appliances.
British Gas is also trying to provide households with the best tariff they can qualify for. In some cases, they are matching or have a better rate available than the independent fuel suppliers that are making the energy market more competitive across the UK. This will ensure people have the lowest prices on their utility bills each and every year.
To ensure the lowest prices are being provided to the household, people can call the company at the number below. The customer service team will offer comparative information on comparable bills from providers in Wales, Scotland, and across Britain. Reviewing the account can go a long way towards helping people save money.
Payment plans provide more time to customers. They can spread the arrears for all types of utilities or gas costs over a period of time, and the amount that is due monthly will be affordable and based on the household’s income. The plan can be short term or available for a longer period, and this will depend on an assessment that is done by the British Gas customer service team.
Government schemes for British Gas customers
The Warm Home Discount Scheme and the rebate from it assists hundreds of thousands of British Gas vulnerable customers from October to March, and they will be provided with savings on their electricity bills. This can go a long way to helping a low income customer keep their heat on and stay warm during the colder winter months.
The rebate, which is set by the government each year and can range from £100 to £200, is for people on benefits or some form of welfare payments. The scheme will also be available to individuals receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit and it can help people with a pre-pay meter as well. More information can be found at 0800 072 8625, or the helpline for the discount scheme can be called at 0845 603 9439.
Older and disabled British Gas customers are protected from disconnections. They are provided more time to pay the arrears on their bills and are guaranteed additional support. If a vulnerable individual is not given additional assistance then they can contact Citizens Advice at 0845 404 0506.
Households on benefits have two options available for them. One is a free check on the level of their current benefits they receive, and British Gas will ensure the person is getting all deductions and assistance they are entitled too either from the central government or directly from British Gas themselves. The second option is the third party deduction. This will allow some people to pay their heating costs using the benefit payment they get from the Department for Work and Pensions, and this will help ensure their bills are paid on time and disconnects do not occur.
Winter Fuel Payments can help senior citizens and older people, and Cold Weather Payments are for the vulnerable when the weather is cold. Depending on the programme, the central government scheme will provide up to £200 from Winter Fuel to people on State Pension or some other form of social security benefit. Or the Cold Weather scheme will offer British Gas customers up to £25 for heating costs. The money will be transferred directly into the bank account of the person that is found eligible.
For information on the grants for bills in arrears from the charity trust, ring 01733 421 060. Other options for low income families to get advice include the Home Heat Helpline, and the phone number is 0800 33 66 99. Or households can learn about all the other British Gas options by calling the company at 0800 072 8629.