Skip to main content
Blog Post 2 December 2021

Financial help available for home energy efficiency

Energy bills are a concern for many people. In October 2021, the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem increased the energy price cap – which protects households by limiting how much suppliers can charge for gas and electricity – by £139 a year.

If you live in the UK, unless your energy supply is currently on a fixed tariff, your energy costs will now be more expensive. We know that many residents may now be worried about their energy costs, and would like to do something about it.

Being more energy efficient at home is one way to reduce your bill payments. But often, you need to pay out before you can access the biggest savings.

Take, for example, installing wall insulation in your home. About a third of all heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that you can save around £185 a year by installing cavity wall insulation – or £255 if you need solid wall insulation. But cavity wall insulation costs around £475, with this investment rising to £8,200-£10,000 for typical solid wall insulation, depending on whether this is internal or external, respectively.

Help is out there

All is not lost, however. Financial help is available in a number of circumstances, with the focus very much on keeping you warm for less.

If someone in your household is currently receiving benefits such as Income Support or Universal Credit, they could be eligible for support through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) a GB-wide scheme through which energy companies are obliged to install energy efficiency measures in the homes of those who need them most. This includes insulation and boiler replacement.

Cold snap support

There are other government-backed schemes available right across the UK to cut energy costs. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 and you receive the State Pension or another social security benefit, you could be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. This offers between £100 and £300 to help with energy bills in those chilly months when they tend to peak.

To help with the very coldest periods, there’s the Cold Weather Payment. This is £25 to help with bills after seven days of sub-zero conditions. You qualify if you’re receiving certain benefits – details of this, and of the other grants and payments, can be found on the government’s Simple Energy Advice website.

Other options in Great Britain (not Northern Ireland) include the Warm Home Discount, another winter-only, one-off discount of £140 on your electricity bills for those who claim the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or are on a low income. Your electricity supplier must be part of the scheme, but as this list shows, the vast majority of them are.

Schemes across the nations

As well as the help available UK-wide, the individual nations of the UK have their own financial incentive schemes. In Scotland, for example, we administer a number of schemes for the Scottish Government through Home Energy Scotland.

Under the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes (HEEPS) there’s a range of help available north of the border, from help with getting discounts on energy costs to free and subsidised heating upgrades and insulation via Warmer Homes Scotland. Again, certain criteria apply here, but over 24,000 households have received help worth around £5,000 to install heating, insulation and more.

In Wales, the Nest programme has a similar offer. We also administer this scheme on behalf of Welsh Government, and depending on the circumstances of householders, a sliding scale of measures is available to cover the costs of making those home improvements which make such a difference to comfort and costs.

Government and energy suppliers in Northern Ireland are working together to offer a package of options for householders. This includes Affordable Warmth, which offers a range of measures for households with an annual income of less than £23,000, and a boiler replacement scheme which offers a grant of up to £1,000 towards either replacing an inefficient gas boiler with a new one, switching from oil to gas, or investing in a wood pellet boiler. Conditions apply, and your boiler must be at least 15 years old.

Make a change right now

Don’t despair if you don’t qualify for assistance from these programmes. You can still reduce your energy bills with these quick, easy and low-cost ways to make savings.

Simply taking greater control of your heating can have considerable money-saving implications. Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (and using them efficiently) can save £85 a year for a gas-heated, three-bedroom semi.

The DIY approach can get good results for little outlay. We include ways to make your home warmer and cheaper to run in our list of energy saving quick wins. In particular, you might want to consider tackling the draughts coming into your home from doors, windows, floors and chimneys.

Although keeping homes warm and bills manageable can seem like a formidable challenge, it’s clear there are a number of areas worth exploring that can help. You may only be a few clicks from making your home more comfortable and cost-effective – at exactly the right time of year.

Last updated: 2 December 2021