Help with fuel and water bills

In this article

The Warm Home Discount scheme

This scheme may lead to a rebate worth up to £140. The scheme applies in England, Scotland and Wales only and is offered on a first-come-first-served basis. The discount is not paid to you – instead the £140 is deducted from your electricity bill.

You will qualify if your energy provider is part of the scheme and:

For you to be eligible to claim, you or your partner’s name must be on your energy bills and your supplier must take part in the scheme. The Gov.UK website lists all the firms that currently participate.

Do I fall into the broader group?

You should qualify for a warm home discount under the ‘broader group’ of vulnerable customers if you fall into one of the following groups: 

The number of discounts each company gives to customers in the ‘broader group’ is usually limited, so discounts tend to be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis.

Who else might be eligible?

Other groups such as low income families with a child under five and some disabled adults also qualify. Full details of the eligible groups can be found at table three on pages 28-29 of OFGEM’s guidance [PDF].

Suppliers also have the discretion to apply more generous rules offering discounts to other groups on a low income. Contact your supplier for more details.  

To find out if your supplier is taking part in the scheme, visit the government’s Warm Homes Discount Scheme webpage.

Child Winter Heating Assistance (Scotland only)

If you live in Scotland and have a child aged under 18 who is entitled to the highest care component of DLA, you should receive a £200 payment from Social Security Scotland to help towards your winter heating bill.

The payment is for each child who qualifies, so if for example you have two children who are both on the higher rate care component you should receive £400. The scheme is not means-tested so it makes no difference what income or capital you have.

In order to qualify for a payment in winter 2020, a child must have been entitled to the higher rate DLA care component at some point in the week beginning 21st September 2020. 

For more information see our webpage on Welfare Benefits in Scotland

Cold weather payments (UK-wide)

You may qualify for cold weather payments if you are on an income-related benefit, such as:

and you have any of the following:

or you receive:

You will receive an automatic payment of £25 if the average temperature recorded or forecast over seven days in a row in your local area is zero degrees Celsius (freezing) or less. You do not have to do anything to receive the payment. You can use the government’s Cold Weather Payment tool to find out if your area is due to receive a payment.

Water Sure (England and Wales)

In England and Wales, help with water bills may be available under the Water Sure and Water Sure Wales schemes, which work in exactly the same way.

These schemes cap your water bill so you won’t pay more than the average metered bill for the area your water company covers. To qualify you must:

Children who have certain conditions may automatically qualify under these schemes. Contact your water company directly to find out more and to apply. Your supplier may also offer additional help for customers struggling to pay their bills.

Help from water providers

Vulnerable customers who are finding it difficult to pay their water bills might be entitled to help from their water company.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, some providers (including Welsh Water) offer social tariffs to households with low income or receiving certain benefits. Social tariffs are usually capped at a lower amount than normal bills. The Consumer Council for Water has details of water companies that offer social tariffs.


All households in Scotland are provided with water by Scottish Water. Metered charges are invoiced directly by Scottish Water, which offers various payment plans. Households without water meters are billed by the local council.

If you receive council tax reductions or your property has been adapted for a disabled person, you might be entitled to a discount on your water charges. Speak to your local council for further information.

Northern Ireland

Households in Northern Ireland are provided with water by Northern Ireland Water. Vulnerable customers, including those with a disability, can join the Customer Care Register to receive priority support and other free services. Find out more on the Northern Ireland Water website.

More help with reducing water bills

For more tips on reducing your water bill, visit the Consumer Council for Water page.

It may be worth asking your energy supplier to include you on their Priority Services Register because you have a disabled child. People included on the register can receive extra support such as advance notice of any planned power cuts or priority support such as alternative heating or cooking sources in the event of an interruption in your energy supply. 

Other sources of financial help

Social services departments may help with problems related to fuel bills or fuel supply or provide financial assistance to help a child. This could be a cash payment, a loan or payment in kind.

Some charities provide grants for heating costs, expenses or arrears to families with a disabled child. Our helpline can give you a list of grant-giving organisations.

Check that you’re not missing out on benefits. See our benefits webpages for more information about main entitlements and sources of practical help. See our checklists of entitlement, Money Matters [PDF], for parents are carers in England and Wales and Money Matters [PDF] for parents in Scotland.