Heat your home - managing rising costs

The cost of the gas and electricity we use in our homes is going up. You can find out here about steps you can take to deal with this.

What can I do about it?

Emergency support - Flexible Food and Fuel Fund

If you are really struggling for money, have little or no savings to help meet these increasing costs and have a relatively low household income you can apply for grant funding to help with the cost of Food or Fuel. You can apply online using this link Argyll and Bute Flexible Food and Fuel Fund, or call 01700 502784 to make an application. The fund links immediate need for money with longer-term support from welfare benefit and money advice specialists and can really help families struggling to make ends meet.

For more help in dealing with rising costs of living please see our advice page -   Worried about money?

Fuel Poverty in Argyll and Bute

A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it has to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel, to heat their home to a satisfactory level

Frequently asked questions

What is fuel poverty?

A: Fuel poverty is basically being unable to afford to keep your home adequately heated and is identified by directly relating a households income to fuel costs. The fuel poverty definition is a household that spends more than 10% of its total income on fuel use, which includes heating, hot water, lighting and the use of appliances

My energy supplier has recently increased my direct debit recently and I’m not sure if I can afford it. What can I do?

A – Your energy supplier may have changed your direct debit in advance of the price cap rise on 1 October. The Government has reduced the amount that the price cap is increasing by and your direct debit may now be overestimated meaning that you could be paying too much for your energy. It is advised that you contact your energy supplier to ask them to review your direct debit payment level.

I have an issue with my energy supplier and they are not dealing with it. What can I do?

A – Raise a formal complaint with your supplier. If they do not resolve the complaint within 8 weeks you can escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman service. If you do make a complaint, keep a good record of what you have done and when as the Ombudsman will ask for evidence to support your complaint. To make a complaint follow the instructions here  https://www.ombudsman-services.org/complain-now and https://youtu.be/74q0jkRkD6Q

I have a health condition and use equipment that needs an electricity supply. What if I can’t afford my payment plan?

A – Where there is a threat to life suppliers are expected to take users circumstances into consideration. Ideally the customer should have their payment plans set to take affordability into consideration, this should be enough to cover at least the ongoing usage. Where the ongoing usage costs are unaffordable the supplier should take the exceptional circumstances into consideration. Evidence will be required to substantiate the claim. Customers should access support of a money adviser or energy adviser to laiase with the energy provider if necessary.

What financial support is available for help with energy bills?

A: The Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) administer some financial support that may help people pay their energy bills this winter as follows;

Get energy advice

  • You can also get free advice from Home Energy Scotland – by visiting the Home Energy Scotland website to request a call back or call 0800 808 2282 or
  • ALIenergy enquiries@alienergy.org.uk or call 01631 565 183 for energy cost crisis assistance and practical advice to increase resilience to fuel poverty.
  • Ask your energy supplier about their Social Tariffs to check you are getting the best deal with them.

Improve the energy efficiency of your home

  • You might qualify for Insulation - Home Energy Efficiency if your property is in band A to C or dependant on your circumstances or where you live. Home Energy Scotland will carry out an eligibility check and can also assess eligibility for the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme. Visit the Home Energy Scotland website to request a call back.
  • The range of available insulation is as follows;
    • External wall insulation
    • Internal wall insulation
    • Cavity wall insulation
    • Loft insulation
    • Underfloor insulation

Get help with benefits

Make sure you are receiving all the Welfare Benefits you are entitled to.  For a free impartial benefit check contact:

  • Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau Advisory Service at info@abcab.org.uk or call 01546 605550
    “If you are in debt with your energy provider: Argyll & Bute Citizens Advice Bureau offer free, confidential debt advice to avoid disconnection and can check eligibility for extra financial help for anyone living in Argyll & Bute regardless of housing status”
  • Bute Advice Centre’s  Money Advice Service info@buteadvice.org.uk  or call 01700 502784
    Bute Advice Centre fights poverty and social exclusion by the provision of impartial, confidential advice and assistance with regards to:
    • Housing Advice
    • Income maximisation through the Welfare Benefits Advice Service offering benefits checks, form filling and representation up to and including Tribunal appeals
    • Fuel Poverty advice and assistance
    • Debt Management Provision, including advice about voluntary payment arrangements, protected trust deeds, bankruptcy, DAS and court representation.
  • Argyll and Bute Council’s Welfare Rights Service Welfare Rights Service or call 01546 605517
  • If you a tenant of Argyll Community Housing Association ACHA Welfare Rights or call 0800 028 2755
  • The Do You Have Money Worries Book gives guidance and support to people experiencing challenges related to money and fuel across the whole of Argyll and Bute.