Where should we turn if we find ourselves struggling to pay our energy bills or having trouble finding the spare cash to make vital home improvements like replacing an old boiler?
With 2020 proving to be a challenging year for people and businesses around the world, it seems few of us are safe from the prospect of facing money problems. However, there are several housing and boiler grants in the UK that can help us out of a bind.
Energy efficiency schemes run by the government, local authorities and energy suppliers provide energy, boiler and housing grants across the UK. They all offer financial support to help ensure everyone is able to keep their home warm.
Could you be eligible for help replacing your boiler or paying your heating bills? We’ve collected together key information about accessing grants and highlighted the steps that will help you get the process started.
How the ECO Scheme Could Help You
One of the first options to look into is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). This is an energy efficiency scheme put in place by the UK government to help the environment and provide support for people who are finding it tough to pay their energy bills.
If you’re eligible for support, there are several ways the ECO scheme can help reduce the amount of energy your home uses and keep your property warmer:
Cavity Wall Insulation
The walls of many UK homes contain a hollow space in the centre — these are called cavity walls. Filling this space with insulation is a fast and effective way to successfully reduce the amount of heat that escapes our homes.
External or Internal Solid Wall Insulation
For homes that already have solid walls, there are other solutions to help keep the warmth in. Insulating the inside or outside of the walls can reduce heat loss, helping to lower energy bills and stay snug when temperatures drop.
We all know that heat rises, which means lofts are one of the easiest places for heat to escape from a home. Insulating the loft in our properties or increasing the thickness of existing insulation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring our homes stay warm.
Replacing your old boiler with a high-efficiency new model or updating your heating controls can make a big difference when it comes to how much energy it takes to keep your home cosy. As a result, this can mean your fuel bills may be much lower than before.
People who are living in older properties and those who receive benefits or are on low incomes may be able to access ECO funding. This support is provided by energy suppliers and can be accessed either from the suppliers themselves or through groups such as Green Deal Providers.
You can learn more about who is eligible to access the ECO scheme on the government’s website.
What if You Have Been Affected by COVID-19?
With the world continuing to come to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government has been working with energy providers to see how people can be supported. As a result, they’ve shared emergency measures to help people struggling to pay their energy bills because of the need to self-isolate.
These new measures could benefit over 4 million individuals who use pre-payment meters for their energy. One of the ways people will be assisted through the pandemic is by being sent pre-loaded top-up cards so their supply is not interrupted or cut off.
The government has advised people who aren’t able to top up their pre-payment meter to contact their supplier as soon as possible to find out if they qualify for support and how their energy provider can help.
How to Access the Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 5 April 1954, you could be eligible to claim a Winter Fuel Paymentof between £100 and £300 that will help towards paying your heating bills. How much you will be able to claim depends on things like whether you live alone or with another person, and the age of anyone else who lives with you.
If you qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment, the chances are you should receive it automatically. However, if you think you may be eligible for the payment but haven’t received it, it’s definitely worth checking to find out for sure. For more information, visit the government’s website.
There are a wide range of housing, energy and boiler grants in the UK that can offer us support when we need it most. All of the schemes covered above could be a big help if money problems mean paying energy bills becomes difficult or you require home improvements such as installing an economical new combi boiler to replace an old model.
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