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Could an energy hardship fund help?

Energy bills have gone up again this month, but some suppliers have set aside cash to ease the pressure

If we’re struggling with energy bills now that the new price cap has come in, our supplier may have an energy hardship fund that could help.

Several suppliers have set up funds in response to soaring bills. Some are providing cash grants and others are writing off energy debts (up to a certain amount).

The price cap is expected to rise again in October, so it makes sense to get as much help as we can as soon as possible.

Which suppliers are helping?

EDF has just announced that it’s topping up its fund with an extra £5m.

It has a customer support fund that can help us manage energy debts or pay for energy-efficient appliances.

Who gets what is decided on a case-by-case basis. But we have to keep paying our bills in the meantime.

If we’re with Shell Energy, they’ve set up a £5m pot to support households that are struggling.

They’re using the cash to help customers who’ve fallen into debt.

If we think we might qualify, we should get in touch with its payment support team and speak to an adviser.

Payments are decided on a case-by-case basis and Shell advises getting in touch as soon as possible as it expects demand to be high.

The number to call is 0330 094 5800 or we can email customer.services@shellenergy.co.uk.

Other energy hardship funds

If we’re with British Gas, they’re saying they can cancel debts of up to £750 if we’re eligible.

Scottish Power will cancel 40 per cent of our debts if we’re successful – up to a maximum of £750.

Octopus also has a £5m fund, and is offering grants for struggling households. The payments are between £50 and £500.

If we’re with Bulb we can call their Energy Fund helpline on 0300 30 30 635 for advice and support.

What else is available?

Even if our supplier isn’t listed here, we should still get in touch. They may not have a fund in place at the moment, but there may be other things they can do to help.

Once we’ve done that, there are various other ways of getting help with the rising cost of energy.

There’s also a council tax rebate for many, and the Household Support Fund has been extended.

Then there are benefits – times are so tough it’s important to check we’re claiming everything we’re entitled to. There’s a benefits checker on the Quids in! website and it’s the easiest way to make sure we’re not missing out on anything that could make life easier.

And there may be things we can do to cut our energy use and bring down bills.

The Quids in! Future-Proof Finance Quiz is another tool we can use to help us cope with the rising cost of living. It’s free and could save us hundreds of pounds a year – we should definitely try it!

Image: Greta Hoffman / Pexels

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