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Help Paying Your Bills

Community Action Cost of Living Paying the Bills

The cost of energy bills and other essentials is rising. If you’re struggling with money, there are steps you can take to save on your regular living costs.

Updated: 14/12/2023

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Paying Your Energy Bills

Gas and electricity bills are rising. If you’re struggling to keep up with your payments, there is help available. You can also visit the links below for specialist support and advice:

Cost of Living Payments 2023-24

Millions of UK households received £301 directly from DWP between 25 April and 17 May 2023. This was the first of three payments totalling up to £900 for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit or Pension Credit, in 2023/24.

There will be further payments at the end of 2023 / early 2024, meaning the most vulnerable can receive up to £1,350 in direct payments. 

The payments will be sent out automatically and directly to recipients, meaning those eligible do not need to apply or do anything to receive it. The payment reference for bank accounts will be DWP COLP, along with the claimant’s National Insurance number. 

Click here for more information

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.

This winter, from November 2023, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment

Check if you're eligible for the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

Energy Grants


British Gas Energy Trust

The British Gas Energy Trust currently operates two energy debt write-off funds, which are open for applications. It does not matter if you are on a pre-payment meter or a credit customer:

  • Individuals and Families Fund - You do not need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this fund.  (Open to applications until the end of March 2024).
  • The British Gas Energy Support Fund - You do need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this fund

Click here for more information has compiled a list of all grants offered by energy suppliers, and how to apply for them. Click here for more information

Great British Insulation Scheme

Launched September 2023 to support the installation of Insulation to properties. Click here for more information

Boiler Upgrade Scheme

Scheme to introduce Heat Pumps and Biomass boilers particularly in off gas grid properties. Click here for more information

ECO 4 / ECO Flex Funding

Energy Saving Improvements such as insulation boiler repairs etc.  Residents can approach their energy company direct for information.  Further guidance and advice is available from OFGEM. Derby City Council is working with OFGEM to expand the eligibility criteria for the ECO4. Click here for more information

Connected for Warmth Scheme

Connected for Warmth is a grant scheme offering FREE energy-saving measures to homes across Britain, to help you reduce your energy use and stay warm and well. Focuses on Loft Insulation and Cavity Wall Insulation. Click here for more information

HEAT Project

Derby City Council and partners across the region are working with “able to pay” residents, to access one-to-one advice from trained Retrofit advisors. These advisors can identify a whole house retrofit plan for residents especially with hard to treat properties. The project is launched regionally in September 2023 and Derby City Council is in the process of setting up the local arrangements. In Derby the project will be delivered by Marches Energy Agency

Help Paying Your Water Bill

Many water companies run hardship schemes or fund independent charitable trusts which can help you pay your bills.

Get support paying your Water Bill

Severn Trent Big Difference Scheme

Additional Support if you are Disabled

Disability Cost of Living Payment

Individuals on disability benefits will receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport.

This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.

Check if you're eligible for the Disability Cost of Living Payment

Disability Energy Support

The charity Scope offers free advice to disabled people, to help manage energy and water needs. The service is open to any disabled person or households where one or more disabled people live.

For more information, click here

Rebates when you use an oxygen concentrator

If you use an oxygen concentrator at home, you can get a rebate for the electricity it uses. The company that supplies your concentrator can make payments to your bank account.

Call the Electricity Rebates (BOC Home Oxygen Service) Patient Service Centre on freephone 0800 136 603.

Call the Electricity Refund (Air Liquide Healthcare) rebate team on freephone 0800 781 9939.

Priority Support Register

The Priority Services Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. Energy suppliers and network operators offer it. Each keeps their own register. You need to contact your energy supplier or network operator to get on it..

Find out how to contact your energy supplier

Stay warm this winter

Cold Weather Guidance

There are some simple steps to getting ready for winter weather. Planning ahead can really help you and your family when the cold sets in.

For more information visit:

Additional Financial Support for the Winter


Marches Energy Agency (MEA)

MEA supports Derby residents through the Warmer Derby and Derbyshire project.  They offer support with energy bills, insulation grants and energy efficiency  they can be contacted on 0800 677 1332 or at  MEA also offer a drop-in advice session at the Sahahra project every Tuesday - Rosehill Lodge, 75 Rosehill Street, Normanton, Derby DE23 8FZ

Winter Fuel Payments

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills. This winter, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment. 

Check if you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment

Cold Weather Payments

£25 extra a week if you’re getting certain benefits is available during the winter when the temperature is zero or below for more than seven days.

Check if you’re eligible for Cold Weather Payments

Warm Home Discount

This autumn nearly three million low-income households are eligible for a £150 rebate on their winter electricity bills.

Check if you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount

0% VAT on Energy Saving Materials

It will be cheaper for you to install energy saving materials such as thermal insulation or solar panels with 0% VAT for the next five years, helping to improve energy efficiency in your home and keep heating bills down.

Find ways to save energy in your home

Help to Heat

You may be eligible for grants to improve the energy efficiency of your home, which could help to reduce your energy bills. Government is investing in energy efficiency schemes which are being delivered by local authorities.

Find energy grants for your home

Cheaper Phone & Broadband

Social Tarrifs

You may be eligible to move onto a social tariff if you’re struggling to afford your broadband or phone services.

Check the Ofcom website to see if you can switch to a social tariff

Good Things Foundation - Free Data Vouchers Scheme

The Good Things Foundation established the UK National Databank to help people from low-income households to get digitally connected for 12 months. The databank has been built with support from Virgin Media O2 and with data donated by Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three.

To qualify for free data through the National Databank, people need to be over 18, be from a low-income household and qualify in one or more of the following: 

  • have no access or insufficient access to the internet at home

  • and/or have no or insufficient access to the internet when away from the home 

  • and/or cannot afford their existing monthly contract or top up

Eligible adults need to book an appointment to receive a free data voucher. Call Normanton Library on 01332 642640 or speak to a member of staff at Normanton, Alvaston, Mickleover or Riverside Library.

Paying your TV License

Aged 75 or over, and receiving Pension Credit?

You can apply for a free TV Licence. You need to be receiving Pension Credit in your name, or this can be in your partner’s name if you are a couple and living at the same address.

To apply for a concession, go to

Simple Payment Plan

The Simple Payment Plan is TV Licensing's most affordable plan, offering more flexible payment options for people struggling to pay their TV Licence.

How to join the Simple Payment Plan

You must be invited to join the Simple Payment Plan. You can apply online now if you've:

If you haven't been invited, you aren't able to apply for the Simple Payment Plan. For information on how you can pay for your licence another way, visit the main TV Licensing website.

What payment options does the Simple Payment Plan offer?

  • Direct Debit (monthly)
  • Simple Payment Plan payment card (monthly or fortnightly) - pay by cash or debit card at any PayPoint terminal.
  • Continuous Payment Authority (monthly or fortnightly) - get payments taken automatically from your debit or credit card.

Once you are set up on the Simple Payment Plan you can also make ad-hoc payments using a debit or credit card via the website, over the phone, or via a Paythru link issued via SMS.

Blind (severely sight impaired)?

You may be entitled to a 50% concession on the Simple Payment Plan.

For more information about the Simple Payment Plan visit:

Beware of Energy Scams

Scammers may sometimes contact you pretending to be from Ofgem. For example, a scammer might call saying they are from Ofgem or your energy company, suggest you switch and then ask for your bank details.

They might try to contact you by knocking at your door, phone calls, social media, email, pop-up messages on a website, or text messages. They can use the availability of grants, promises of cheap energy, and energy efficiency claims as tactics to trick you. 

Please report any suspicious activity to Ofgem.