How to get help if you’re worried about paying your energy bills

People in the UK are facing huge rises in their energy bills. Find out why this is happening and where to get help if you’re struggling.


It’s already been an extremely tough couple of years for many of us. And now millions of people in the UK are having to cope with a huge rise in living costs. Food and tax costs are going up, but the biggest increase is in energy bills.

Jump to help for your bills

How much are average energy bills now?

A typical energy bill was around £2,100 a year in winter 2022-23. So we’re paying almost double what we paid last year.

From April 2023, bills are expected to go up to about £3000 a year for the average UK home. But it could be higher than this if you use more energy.

It’s not just the gas we’re using that’s costing more. Energy companies are also putting up their fees called ‘standing charges’. So even customers who’ve switched off their heating and electricity to save money will be charged this fee.

Why are energy bills rising?

The government sets the highest price that we can be made to pay for our energy – known as the energy price cap. Because the global cost of gas has risen, the price cap has gone up too.

There are a few reasons energy prices have risen:

  • The UK relies on gas a lot for its energy. And the government has not put enough money into changing the energy system to protect us. So sudden spikes in gas prices can throw us into a crisis.
  • More countries around the world are preferring to use gas instead of coal. Meaning lots of countries are buying more gas than before. If more countries want gas, it can increase prices because of how the global market works.
  • The terrible war in Ukraine caused gas prices to go up, because a lot of gas used to flow into Europe from Russia. This makes gas from places filling the gap more valuable and expensive. The UK only gets a small amount of its gas from Russia. But if the price of gas goes up in one place, it goes up almost everywhere.

Read more about why bills are rising and what we can do about it.

Because of these price rises and other tax increases, a typical working household is set to be £2,100 worse off in 2023-24. This is pushing millions into fuel poverty, as they face bills higher than they can afford. Almost a quarter of the country faced fuel poverty in October 2022. And as bills rise in April, millions more face being unable to afford their bills too.

What help is there for paying your bills?

Talk to Citizens Advice if you or somebody you know are worried about being able to keep your home warm or your electricity on. They can help you access support you’re entitled to, manage any overdue bills you need to pay, and find local support services.

You might be able to get some grants and benefits, for example:

  • Energy bill support scheme. Every household will get £400 off their bill. How you claim this money depends on how you pay your energy bills.
  • Council tax rebates. You may be able to get £150 back from your council tax.
  • Warm Homes Discount. If you’re on a low income, you might be able to get £150 off your electricity bill or a £150 voucher for your meter. People getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit can also get it.
  • Winter Fuel Payment. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955, you can usually claim some money every year to help you pay for heating in the winter.
  • Cold weather payments. People on benefits and pensions can get an extra payment when the weather gets very cold.

Visit Citizens Advice for more information on these options and other support for your bills.

You can also check with your local council for a ‘warm space’ near you. These are public spaces you can visit to stay warm, like a library or community centre.

If you need help to feed yourself or your family, the Trussell Trust can help you find a food bank, or you can call them for advice.

What is the energy price guarantee?

This is a limit on what most households pay for gas and electricity. It was introduced by the government in October 2022 to help with high energy costs. You do not need to apply for it. The limit changes in April 2023, but how much you pay for energy will go up. See Citizens Advice for more on how the energy price guarantee works.

How to help other people who are struggling

If you’re in a position to help people hit hardest by this crisis, there are things you can do.

How can the government help lower bills in the future?

Just like the cost of living crisis, climate change will hurt the poorest people first and worst. People with the least money are often least able to recover if their house is flooded or burnt down in a wildfire. Luckily, both crises have the same solution: get the UK off expensive oil and gas and on to cheap, reliable renewable heat and power.

Drilling for new gas won’t help lower bills, but it will make the climate crisis worse. Nuclear power creates risks and wastes that are difficult to manage, and also won’t be ready for many years.

Instead, the answer to our energy prices going up and down (and mostly up) is to get off fossil fuels. And put more money into:

The government has taken some small steps in the right direction. But it needs to do much more to lower our energy bills and tackle climate change.

How much could your bills be?

Some people could save hundreds with good insulation and a modern heating system. In just 2 minutes, you can find out how much you could save using our Affordable Energy Calculator.

Find out how much you could save

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