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Cambridge City Council

Energy bill help

Emergency energy vouchers

If you have a pre-pay meter and are struggling to afford to top it up, contact our partner PECT. They can offer advice, support and assess you for an emergency fuel voucher. PECT can also provide free energy saving products such as rechargeable lightbulbs, draught excluders, chimney balloons and radiator reflector panels.

People who pay by Direct Debit or pre-pay meter could also access vouchers from Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS), for £28 (for an individual) or £48 (for a family). In exceptional circumstances CLAS can instead issue vouchers to purchase alternative sources of energy, such as bottles of gas for people living in caravans, or vouchers to use in supermarkets, to help people free up money to use on energy.

Beneficiaries can be awarded the payments up to three times during the autumn and winter. Residents can find out more about eligibility for CLAS support on the Making Money Count website and searching for ‘CLAS’.

Stay Well can also help with energy bills, through their Stay Well Heating Grants. Grants of up to £400 are awarded for vulnerable individuals and families living in Cambridgeshire facing fuel poverty. You cannot apply directly for the grant. You need to be referred by the council or another local organisation who can refer. The council or organisation will need to check your circumstances and verify that you are in extreme crisis and in need of immediate assistance.

To talk to us about a referral and to find out whether you are eligible for the Stay Well Heating Grants, please contact our customer service centre on 01223 457000.

Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) is providing support of £400 for energy bills for households in England, Scotland, and Wales without a direct relationship to a domestic electricity supplier.

This support is provided by His Majesty’s Government and is delivered by local authorities. The scheme is now open to all eligible households across Great Britain until 31 May 2023.

Eligibility

Subject to applications meeting the eligibility criteria, people who will be able to receive support under EBSS AF include:

  • care home residents and others in care facilities/sheltered accommodation (wholly or partly self-funded)
  • park home residents, houseboats and caravans that can provide proof of address
  • social and private tenants who pay for energy through a landlord on a commercial supply
  • homes on a heat network/private wire
  • off-grid homes
  • farmhouses used for wholly domestic purposes

How to apply

If you are eligible for EBSS AF, you will need to fill out a short online form via the GOV.UK website.

This form can be found by searching “Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically” into the search bar on GOV.UK or an internet search engine. Applications are made directly to His Majesty’s Government, not to or via Local Authorities. If you do not have online access, you can apply via a contact centre on 08081753287 where a representative will guide you through the application process.

Once you have applied, your application will be processed and verified. After this if your application is successful, your details will be shared with local authorities, who will deliver the one-off, non-repayable support. The payment will be made directly into your bank account in a single instalment.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK.

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Energy debts grants

If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.

Citizens Advice has created a list of grants that are offered by energy providers to their customers. Even if your energy provider isn’t listed, you might be able to get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone - you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.

Find out about these options on Citizens Advice– scroll down to ‘Grants to help pay off energy debts’.

Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme

Cambridgeshire’s Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) supports people facing unexpected financial difficulties. CLAS can provide information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure.

Following an assessment, you may be eligible for a CLAS award. The awards can be in the form of supermarket vouchers, energy vouchers, new white goods, decorating packs, beds, mattresses, recycled white goods and furniture. You can self-refer, contact CLAS directly.

Cambridgeshire County Council financial support

The Cambridgeshire Household Support Fund has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food and household energy bills.

It is money Cambridgeshire County Council have been awarded to help those in need and most affected by the cost of living crisis to support them to resolve their financial issues. 

Cold weather payment 2022

The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2022 to 31 March 2023. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or is forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius (or below) over seven consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1 November 2022 and 31 March 2023. 

You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re receiving:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

For more information visit the government cold weather payment page.

Support for tenants

If you have concerns about the condition of your home – for instance whether you're able to heat your home effectively and whether it's free from damp and mould, you should first speak to your landlord to see how they can address the issue.

If your landlord is not able to resolve your concerns, you can contact the Residential Team, at env.health@cambridge.gov.uk or phone 012234 57900, for advice and support regarding these and other safety and suitability issues.

As a private tenant, you would be entitled to live peacefully in your home: you cannot be forced to leave your home unless your landlord has followed the correct legal procedures. At the start of your tenancy, your landlord should have provided you with certain information. If they don’t, and they later serve you with a notice to end the tenancy, that notice might be invalid.

If you have been served with a notice to leave your accommodation, you're welcome to check with our Housing Advice Service (for free) whether the notice is valid or not.

The team will also be able to support you and advise you of your rights.

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Ideas to use less energy

Citizens Advice provides lots of advice about help that may be available with energy costs.

Energy Saving Trust advise how to cut down on your energy use to save money.

Cambridge Carbon Footprint has ideas to help reduce costs and save energy.

Which has also published 10 ways to reduce energy bills.

Identify where your home is losing heat

From November to March, the use of thermal imaging cameras can help to reveal where your home is leaking heat.

Sign up with Cambridge Carbon Footprint for a free training session and to borrow a thermal imaging camera.

This can show problems with insulation, draughts, damp and more. Some of the problems shown are easy for householders to fix, like draught-proofing, and some, like faulty insulation, may need professional help.

Home energy efficiency grants and incentives

There are various grant schemes available to Cambridge residents to increase the energy efficiency of your home (and bring down energy costs in the longer term).

Visit home energy efficiency grants and incentives.

Switching energy supplier to save money

Organisations such as Citizens Advice are advising that, because many energy companies are struggling, you won't find as many tariffs as normal – and if you don’t find a better tariff than the one you’re on it’s probably better to wait until deals are available again.

However, if things change and you wish to look into changing suppliers, it's important to do research into the best option for you. Citizens Advice and Ofgem can provide more information about whether to switch, and how to do so. 

Disability Energy Support

Scope advisers can help and talk you through a wide range of topics related to your energy (and water) needs. This could include helping provide access to benefits and grants, free fuel vouchers (conditions apply), or support registering with the Priority Services Register.

Help if you are struggling to pay your energy bills or keep your home 

The Green Doctor Service helps Cambridge residents by:

  • finding funding to improve home energy efficiency (such as with insulation, or a new boiler)
  • helping to pay off energy debts by applying to grants or setting up payment plans
  • installing free energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs, draught proofing, radiator panels, letter flap and door brushes, hot water bottles, water saving shower heads

The service is free for anyone over 65; anyone living on a low income or with debt; anyone with mental or physical health conditions, especially those made worse by the cold. For example arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular conditions; families who have children under the age of five; anyone living in emergency housing or poor housing conditions, such as with persistent mould; pregnant women.

For more information, please visit the Green Doctor website, email greendoctoreast@groundwork.org.uk, or call 07702 941440.

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