WINTER is coming, and while millions are worried about rising energy bills, these freebies will help to lower costs.
Energy bills have rocketed to £2,500 a year under the government’s price guarantee, up from £1,971.
Here’s all the energy freebies you can get from your supplier, council or the government
Although the guarantee will save the average household £1,000, the government claims, it’s still a considerable hike to pay for.
But bill payers might not know that they may qualify for energy saving freebies – and it could cut your bills by up to hundreds of pounds.
From electric blankets to solar panels, we explain who is eligible, and how to apply, for the handy money saving measures.
Free electric blankets
Octopus is dishing out free electric blankets this winter to help customers keep warm while bills stay high.
It will be giving out more information about who qualifies for the freebie today – but there are 10,000 up for grabs.
That’s more than last year when Octopus launched the scheme, when 8,000 were given out to customers.
Blankets will only be available to people who will benefit from them most.
This is likely to include elderly people, or those with specific medical conditions which make them immobile, very unwell, or feel cold.
Customers will be be able to fill in an online form to apply for one.
Around 5,000 extra customers will be able to get a discount for an electric blanket from Dreamland if they don’t qualify for a free one.
It costs 24p to run an electric blanket for one hour a day for seven days.
And if you used it for one hour a day for a year, you’d be spending £12.48 on your electricity.
You could get a brand new boiler installed free of charge from your energy company if you are on a low income, or considered a vulnerable customer.
Some suppliers are offering the freebie, and the eligibility criteria may vary.
E.on, for example, is offering new boilers under its Affordable Warmth scheme – but you need to receive some benefits to qualify, and have an income below £18,500 if you’re single or £25,500 if you’re a couple.
British Gas, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, and SSE have versions of the grant for their customers too.
But not many providers let you apply online, so you need to call direct to get started.
There are other ways to get help towards getting a new boiler – but it might not cover all the costs.
You can get a £5,000 grant under the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which runs until the end of March 2025.
You don’t apply for the scheme yourself.
Instead, you will need to find an MSC-certified installer to claim the grant on your behalf.
MSC is the certification scheme for energy efficiency product installers and you can find the nearest ones to you on the MSC website.
Free solar panels
Some councils give low income households money to put towards making their home greener.
If you meet the right eligibility criteria you will be able to have your home fitted with measures that could save hundreds on your energy bills, all free of charge.
Some councils offer households grants to install solar panels, which can cost around £6,000.
HOAR spoke to pensioner Gareth Hodgson, who applied for tens of thousands of pounds of FREE home improvements that have nearly halved his bills.
The help you can get from your local council varies depending on a number of factors including your personal circumstances.
In most areas, homeowners must have a total income of less than £30,000 to get the help.
Your home must have an EPC rating of D, E, F or G for you to be eligible too.
You can find who your local council is by using the gov.uk tool checker
Free energy efficient shower head
It’s not just energy suppliers giving out freebies to help with your energy bills.
Water companies are giving out free water – and energy – saving gadgets like regulated shower heads worth £20.
The Energy Saving Trust says switching to a water efficient shower head reduces hot water usage and could save a family of four on a water meter a total of £195 on their water and energy bills.
This is because less energy is needed to pump, heat and treat the water
But this will vary depending on your supplier and your usage.
You will need to visit the Save Money Save Water website where you will then need to fill in a short survey about your water usage.
It will ask questions such how many people live in your home, how many showers you take a week as a household and if you water your garden.
After filling out the survey, you will be redirected to your water supplier’s website to claim the freebie.
Whether you can get the shower head for free depends on where you live as not all water companies offer them.
Anglian, Essex & Suffolk, Northumbrian or Thames Water aren’t part of Save Water Save Money’s promotion, but you can sometimes get the freebies if you go direct to their websites.
Free £150 from Shell
Shell Energy will be giving thousands of customers an extra £150 to help them this winter.
The energy giant will be boosting the £150 warm home discount payment to £300 for all 157,000 customers who get the help.
You’ll get the top-up if you received certain benefits and joined Shell Energy on or before August 21 this year.
The warm home discount is available to those on the lowest incomes to help with rising costs.
Energy suppliers will dish out the help, worth £150, this year – and unlike previous years, you no longer have to apply for the support as you’ll automatically qualify if you receive certain benefits.
You’ll need to be a recipient of one or more of the following benefits to qualify for the automatic £150 discount:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Universal credit
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credits
- Pension credit guaranteed
- Pension credit savings credit
What other help can I get?
You can get a grant worth up to £6,000 to help install a new heat pump – but it probably won’t cover the entire cost of one.
The government is offering grants for installing heat pumps to help cover the cost.
Heat pumps deliver heat at a lower temperature than gas and oil boilers so they have to be run for much longer periods at a time.
According to Energy Helpline, air sourced pumps cost anywhere between £8,000 and £14,000.
There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you’re struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it’ll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF’s energy customer support fund
- E.on’s energy fund
- Npower’s energy fund
- Octopus Energy Octo Assist fund
- Ovo’s debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power’s hardship fund
There’s also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you’re on a prepayment metre.
If you’re in debt there are plenty of services you can take advantage of and they offer free and friendly advice on how to manage debt.
Most of them can offer you free guidance and help in person, over the telephone or online.
- Money Helper – 0800 138 7777
- Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
- StepChange – 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000