We’ve heard the expression lately of ‘heating or eating’. Sadly, many households up and down the UK are having to make that choice a reality when it comes to either having enough money to buy food or keeping the heating on to stay warm. This should never be a choice that someone should have to make.

If you’re worried about keeping up with your energy bills, the most important thing to do is to contact your energy supplier and tell them. Suppliers must work with you to agree an amount you can afford under Ofgem rules. If you already have a plan in place, this can also be reviewed.

You can ask for a review of your payments, a payment break or reduction, more time to pay or possibly access to hardship funds. Many suppliers run discount schemes and grants to help with heating and energy costs.

You can also check if you’re eligible for schemes like the ones below:

  • Winter fuel payment

Up to a £300 fuel payment for people born before 5 October 1954.

  • Cold weather payment

A £25 payment for every seven days of very cold weather between November and March. You’ll get this payment if the average temperature in your area is forecast to be, or goes below, 0°C or below for seven days in a row.

  • Warm home discount

A £140 discount for people getting pension credit or for low-income households.

  • Household support fund

A funding package to help vulnerable households this winter. Your local authority will be able to tell you more.

If you have oil central heating, using an oil broker such as boilerjuice.com could save you money. Prices change daily, and you can get an instant quote online. Also, if you can top up your tank in the summer months, it will save you money as the price is often much lower as demand drops.

If you’re struggling with your finances and want help budgeting, you can contact our money matters team for help and advice.