Can The Council Help With Gas And Electric Bills?

The ongoing energy crisis in different parts of the world has significantly impacted the cost of living for millions of households. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether or not local council authorities can help with the payment of gas and electricity bills. We will also explore how to get help from the authorities to pay energy bills and if and if they can’t extend support, what possible alternatives should be considered.

Can The Council Help With Gas And Electric Bills?

Yes, the council can help you with gas and electricity bills. Under the current Energy Bills Support Scheme, you can get a rebate of £150 from your council tax to pay your energy bills.

Earlier this year, the Government announced the Energy Bills Support Scheme for households that are struggling to pay their energy bills in the UK. This is a £400 non-repayable discount to help with energy bills from October 2022. You will not have to inquire about this from your energy supplier as all domestic consumers in the UK will be provided with the discount automatically.

Under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, if you get benefits, you will be able to get a £150 discount on your electricity bill or have this amount added to your prepayment meter.

You can get a fuel voucher from your council to top up your prepayment meter if you cannot afford to do it by yourself. In this case, you should not be using gas or electricity for heating your home.

Then there are benefits that can be claimed to pay energy bills. However, your claim will depend on your eligibility for the payment. 

For instance, if you were born before the year 1956, you can claim the Winter Fuel Payment this year as it is an annual one-off payment applicable for residents of State Pension Age. this year, you can get an additional amount of £300 with your usual claim. 

Similarly, when the weather gets too cold, you can apply for a Cold Weather Payment if you claim Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or support for mortgage interest.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Pay Gas And Electricity Bills?

Gas and electricity bills are classified as priority bills. This means that if someone does not pay these bills on time or skips payments altogether, there can be severe consequences. These include the following:

  • the supplier can ask a debt collection agency to recover the unpaid amount of bills from consumers
  • the supplier can get a court order to enter homes and have a prepayment card meter installed to collect arrears
  • if your bill remains unpaid for 28 days and you can’t come to a repayment agreement plan with your supplier, they can cut off your supply after giving you a 7-day notice

Many energy suppliers charge an extra fee for later payments. Since consumers will eventually have to pay the dues on their energy bills, having a larger sum built up as debt also means that there will be a larger late payment surcharge to be paid as well.

Additionally, a lot of people choose to pay their energy bills through direct debit as it is the cheapest option for bill payment. If you stop paying your energy bills by cancelling your direct debit service, repayment of dues and future payments will be higher. 

What Should I Do If I Can’t Pay My Energy Bills?

If you know that you will not be able to pay your energy bills sometime in the near future, the first thing for you to do is to contact your supplier and ask them what they can do to help. They may be able to offer an affordable payment plan to make it easier for you to pay your bill in instalments or provide other assistance. Some of the potential options include the following:

  • the supplier can conduct a review of your payments and debt repayments
  • they may offer payment breaks or reductions (where possible) 
  • they may extend the due date for payments and offer you more time to pay
  • they may provide access to hardship funds or advise you on how to gain access to them
  • they may provide advice on how to use less energy to reduce your energy bills in the future

If you are on benefits, you can avail the Fuel Direct Scheme to pay your energy debts through a direct deduction from your benefits payments.

If your energy suppliers are unable to help, there are other organisations that provide financial assistance for individuals through grants.


The above discussion highlights the details of various forms of support that one can get during the current energy crisis. This can be in the form of help from councils, rebates on council tax or even financial support for individuals who claim benefits. In fact, in some cases, you will not even have to apply for a grant or rebate and a certain amount will automatically be discounted from your bills.

FAQs: Can the council help with gas and electric bills?

How do I get a fuel voucher?

You can ask your energy supplier to get a fuel voucher. This is a code given to users in a text, email or letter which they can add to their gas card or electricity key.

Can I get help with energy bills on Universal Credit?

You may be able to get a discount on your gas bills if you are on low income or claiming benefits (or both). You can confirm your eligibility with your energy supplier and council office.

Can electricity be cut off if the bill is not paid?

Yes, your electricity supply can be cut off if your bill is not paid. If your bill remains unpaid for 28 days and you can’t come to a repayment agreement plan with your supplier, they can cut off your supply after giving you a 7-day notice.

How long can energy companies chase you for debt?

Energy companies can chase you for debt collection if you have unpaid bills of up to six years.

Does unpaid energy bill affect credit?

Unpaid energy bills can affect your credit score if they become a debt and you are unable to agree with your supplier on a repayment plan.


Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills – Citizens Advice

Millions to receive a £350 boost to help with rising energy costs – GOV.UK

Getting help if you can’t afford your energy bills | Ofgem

Government Help With Gas & Electricity Bills. StepChange.

Help if you’re struggling to pay your gas or electricity bill | MoneyHelper

Help with energy bills – Shelter England

Extra help from your local council