We understand that things are difficult for many families. So, we have put together some information to help you get the support you need.
Remember The Manchester College offers a range of support via Access to Industry which can be found at https://www.tmc.ac.uk/study-with-us/fees-finance-funding/
As the weather starts to get colder, we are focusing on heating bills, but information on welfare matters including mental health and wellbeing can be found at https://www.tmc.ac.uk/student-life/support/useful-contacts/
The main discount schemes for heating are Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payments. You may also qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment. Individual energy suppliers will also provide information and support. If you are struggling to pay, they have a legal responsibility to help you to get an affordable solution. Details of each of these below along with information on how you can save money if you have a combi boiler.
Nesta’s Money Saving Boiler Challenge
Innovation charity Nesta has launched a campaign, supported by Which?, Octopus Energy, EDF Energy, E.ON Next and Energy UK, to help 1 million people save around £112 per year and cut their carbon emissions by 172kg by changing a single setting on their combi boiler this winter. You can find more by clicking on the online tool here:www.moneysavingboilerchallenge.com
Warm Home Discount
How much is it? £140 off your bill over the winter.
Who qualifies? Those getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. Those on a low income who qualify against their supplier's criteria. The scheme opens for applications from November.
More information at: www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme, from your energy supplier, or call the Warm Home Discount scheme on 0845 603 9439.
Cold weather payments
How much is it? £25 for each seven-day period where the temperature is below zero (on average) between November 1 and March 31.
Who qualifies? Qualifying people should get the payment automatically, but if you get Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and you have a baby or a baby under 5 comes to live with you, notify your Job Centre Plus or you will not get the payment.
More information at: www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Winter fuel payments
How much is it? Between £250 and £600 to help with the cost of heating bills.
Who qualifies? People born before 25 September 1956. Those getting a state pension will get automatic payment, or most social security benefits will get the payment automatically, but if you do not get either of these, for example, if you have deferred your State Pension, you may need to make a claim. If you have been living overseas recently, you may need to make a claim too.
More information at: www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
Support from Energy Suppliers
British Gas: support includes the British Gas Energy Support Fund for customers, and the Individual and Families Support Fund, which doesn't require you to be a customer. These are for people with existing fuel debts. More information on the grants can be found here, and more information on their support if you are struggling to pay can be found here. You can also call them on 0333 202 9804.
EDF Energy: have a customer support fund which helps vulnerable customers. You can get advice and support here, and more information about their customer support fund here.
SSE: if you're having trouble paying your bills, get more information here. They also partner with charity Charis who provide grants and support to customers suffering hardship, more information can be found here.
E.ON: call 0345 052 0000 for advice and support paying bills, or get more information here. They also have a support fund: you can get more information here, or call 03303 80 10 90.
Octopus Energy: customers struggling to pay their bills can get more information here, including information on their support fund.
OVO Energy: provide information and support to customers struggling to pay their bills here.
Scottish Power: as well as help to pay if you are struggling, a hardship fund is available for some customers. You can find advice on helping to pay your bill here, and on their hardship fund here.
Shell Energy: provide information and support to customers struggling to pay their bills here, and information on their support fund for customers here.
Priority services register
All UK energy companies offer a Priority Services Register. The Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. It can include help making your bills clear, free gas safety checks, free meter relocation if you struggle to reach it currently. Get in touch with your energy supplier to see if you qualify. Open to those who are: aged over 65; with children under 5; have a disability or medical dependenc;, are living independently for the first time; recovering from hospital treatment; or have recently been bereaved, had a break-up or job loss.
Advice and support with payments and debt
National Debtline gives independent advice on any debts – call them on 0800 808 4000.
StepChange are a leading charity that will help if you're struggling with bills. Call them on 0800 138 1111 or visit their website.
Money Helper is a government advice service – check the website or call 0800 138 7777.
Citizens Advice have a dedicated page on their website for advice about energy issues at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/energy. There is also a free web chat at the website. Call 0808 278 7803 for advice, or to book a local appointment (for example, at Lees Library Hub).
PayPlan provide free debt advice, visit www.payplan.com or call 0800 280 2816.
The Debt Advice Foundation are a specialist debt charity offering free, confidential advice on any aspect of debt - visit www.debtadvicefoundation.org or call 0800 043 40 50.