Over 1 million households in the UK use heating oil during the winter months, including both Kerosene or gas. This form of fuel can have spikes in it due to the price of oil, and it may be difficult for families on benefits or a low income to pay for it. Charities provide grants to help with buying heating oil and the government schemes also help the poor, vulnerable, and older people. The aim is to keep families and individuals across the UK warm and safe in the winter. Find how, and where to get assistance below with heating oil and even help with boiler repairs and more.
Heating oil help from charities or energy suppliers
All of the big six as well as independent energy suppliers that operate in the United Kingdom also provide assistance. There is winter heating oil help from EDF Energy, British Gas, E.ON, npower, SSE, as well as Scottish Power. The type and form of assistance will vary by company, but it may be a payment plan, discount, top off of a prepayment meter or more.
To learn more on what may be provided, or to apply for heating oil assistance from an energy supplier, ring them. The companies will only offer help for their customers. The assistance will not be available for someone who is not a current customer.
Fuel Banks also give vouchers as well to help pay for oil or even propane. Or there may even be free heating oil in limited amounts. This is mostly given in partnership with foodbanks that are part of the Trussell Trust network. The amount of the voucher will vary, but it may be enough for a vulnerable household (such as older person, disabled, or single mum) to keep their winter heat on for a few more days as it can get some oil into their tank. There are hundreds of fuel banks across the UK for the low income.
Many charities across the UK also offer support. They will provide everything from grants to vouchers, referrals, free boiler repairs, or even free advice in form filling for a government scheme (see below). Some of the assistance includes Surviving Winter, the Salvation Army Social Services, and others.
There is also information on various grant schemes from not-for profits, charities, and government affiliated agencies. They are located across this site and are for people of all ages, backgrounds, careers, and more. Each grant based programme has their own qualifications, and everything from free heating bill oil to car repairs, grants for housing and more may be provided. Find how to apply for grants in the UK.
Government fuel and heating oil schemes
There are three main programmes that are offered from central government as part of their benefits. They are below and help with gas oil, kerosene and more. In addition, local councils across the UK including in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland may also provide winter fuel oil help in the form of vouchers, welfare payments. Or they can deliver oil to top off (or partly fill) a tank.
Councils provide emergency financial assistance from local welfare. Each city, borough, town, and village has their own funding as well as application process. Generally, any funds for paying heating oil, fuel, or gas bills will be for an emergency only. The applicant needs to be in poverty or in benefits, vulnerable, have a low income and no savings. When funding allows, some vouchers may be provided. Find emergency financial help from welfare.
Older people that receive financial help from social security or a pension get apply for up to £300 from the winter Fuel Payment Scheme. Older people can either be (1) automatically enrolled by the government or (2) they will need to make a claim for their money. The funds will be paid out in early January of each year to those that are eligible for the winter Fuel Payment Scheme.
During a cold stretch of weather that occurs from the months of November 1 to March 31, the Cold Weather Payment scheme is offered. There will be verification done by postcode and temperature. In order to get as much as £25 to pay for heating oil, the temperature needs to be at or below 0 degrees Celsius for as long as seven days. The government will also provide this grant if the forecast calls for that cold weather to occur during the winter too.
The government also supports heating oil price comparison websites. They will allow the over 1 million UK households the ability to find the least expensive supplier of oil. The websites to check include Heating Oil Shop, Homefuels Direct, as well as Boilerjuice among others. There is no cost to use these tools.
The energy suppliers will also provide discounts on winter heating oil bills as well in partnership with the UK central government. It does not matter the source of fuel, whether it is electricity, gas, heating oil, or something else, as the Warm Home Discount Scheme will allow any eligible family on a low income to save money. The discounts are also for people that are on the welfare scheme called the Guarantee Credit.
The amount of the deduction on your winter utility bills will vary. It may be as much as £100 to £150. Any financial discount (in the form of a deduction or credit) will be one-off. The savings can be used for either electricity or a gas bill.