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What should I do in an energy emergency this winter?

Get help with your winter energy emergency with this guide. It covers paying winter bills, and getting help from third parties like Citizens Advice Bureau.

Power cut or smell gas?

Go straight to our energy emergency page

Where can I find help to pay for winter energy?

Cold Weather Payment
When it gets really cold, people who receive benefits including Pension Credit, 
Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance,  income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit get extra help to pay for energy. The Cold Weather Payment is added directly to your other benefits “when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.” 

See if you’re eligible on

Winter Fuel Allowance
This payment is similar to the Cold Weather Payment – find a guide to the winter fuel allowance here

Winter Fuel Payment
This is a scheme to help older people pay their energy bills. Read our guide here.

Warm Home Discount
OVO offers the Warm Home Discount – and is helping 30,000 people keep warm this winter. If you’re on a low income or receive benefits, you may be able to get a one-off payment of £140 to help stay on top of your bills.

More on Warm Home Discount
See if you’re eligible for Warm Home Discount

Cash in a crisis
If you’re having to make difficult choices financially, extra help out there. The team at Shelter have put together a really helpful overview of all the help available. It covers how to get a short-term benefits advance, and what payments you might be able to apply for through other organisations like your council. There’s also information about other vital support – like foodbanks, help to pay your rent, and where to find fair loans – all in one place. See more here.

Do you offer help with practical problems?

Priority Services Register
If you’d really struggle to manage if you lost your energy supply, please join our Priority Services Register. It’s completely confidential, but means you’ll always get the help you need – particularly in an emergency. We’ll contact you about it annually. Meanwhile, find out more here.

Boilers and central heating
If you have a problem with your home’s heating system, you’ll need to talk to your landlord – OVO can’t help with this. 

It’s worth knowing your rights. Shelter have lots of useful information for private tenants here. They have also produced a guide to health and safety for tenants, and a really useful guide to who’s responsible for repairs in social housing – that’s council homes and Housing Association properties.  

If you own your home, you’ll need to organise the repair yourself – though there are sometimes grants and loans available. The Energy Saving Trust can help.

Can you help with winter energy efficiency?

Yes. Read our guide to winter energy efficiency here

There also dedicated guides to: 
Energy efficient laundry
Is it more energy efficient to leave the heating on?
Save on standby energy
Energy monitors and how to use them
Energy saving lightbulbs explained

You might also be interested in other winter energy efficiency guides: 

Energy Saving Trust ‘Quick Wins’ 

More places to turn if you’re worried… 

Family Action is a charity that provides practical, emotional and financial support for families experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation. Visit their website.

Turn2us helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services. Go to their site.

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