If you are struggling with your existing energy debts, then there may be a way to get a free grant from the British Gas Energy Trust, a charity funded by British Gas, to help clear your outstanding energy debts.
Funded solely by British Gas since 2004, the British Gas Energy Trust has provided consistent financial help for vulnerable households. It is one of the largest grant-giving energy trusts in the UK.
The scheme reopened applications for grants this month, offering grants of up top of up to £1,500 to help people clear debts owed to their energy provider – and you don't have to be a British Gas customer to apply (although most of the funds are expected to be allocated to British Gas customers)
The Trust operates two schemes: one for British Gas customers only, which has been open all year but is closing on 8 July, and another, also available to non-customers, which has re-opened this month, and both are only for those living in England and Scotland.
Firstly, You are expected to get money or debt advice before applying for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. If your energy bills are more than you can afford to pay right now, speak with your supplier to see if you can pay what you owe by instalments as part of a payment plan.
You’ll pay fixed amounts over a set period, which could help make it more affordable. When speaking with your supplier, they’ll want to consider:
How much you can afford to pay - based on your income and outgoings, debts and personal circumstances
How much energy you’ll use in future - based on your estimated past usage
The British Gas Energy Trust funds advice-giving organisations across England, Wales and Scotland. You can speak to a trained advisor for free in-person, online or by phone. It’s a significant next step to getting your bills under control and will help if you decide to apply for any grants later. They can help with:
Planning your budget
Checking your benefits entitlement
Making sure you’re on the most suitable energy tariff
Negotiating with energy suppliers and resolving energy debt problems
Completing grant applications
Specific energy efficiency advice
The advice is designed to help you get into a position where you may be able to clear debts and, going forward, be in a position to manage your finances better.
You can grab free advice HERE.
If you’ve sought advice and still need help to get back on your feet, you may be eligible for a British Gas Energy Trust grant. The trust isn't in a position to give money to everyone that applies; funds are limited, so you will need to meet specific criteria to be considered for financial help.
To be considered for the individuals and families fund, you must meet the following criteria, or your application will not progress to assessment.
You live in England, Scotland or Wales.
You have not received a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust within the last 2 years
You must be seeking a grant to clear an outstanding debt on a current or open gas, electricity or dual fuel energy account in your name or be a member of that household. The energy account must relate to your primary residence
You have electric and/or gas debt
You do not have savings above £1,000
You have received help from a money advice agency
To apply online, you will need to have:
Proof of money advice received in the last three months – individuals and families fund only
Proof of all household income – including three recent consecutive wage slips or benefit statements less than a year old
A meter read for your gas and electricity account – if you’re a British Gas customer – or your most recent gas and electricity bill.
The British Gas Energy Trust is interested in funding applications where applicants can show a sustainable position moving forward. They believe that it is rarely in the person’s best interest to seek a debt write-off without dealing with the underlying problem of a deficit budget; due to this, deficit budgets will only be considered in exceptional circumstances; there is some allowance for marginal exceptions.
You can head to the Energy Trust website for further information on independent financial advice and to apply for a grant.
It's best to get apply asap, as this scheme is inc credibly popular, and likely to be more so, due to the deepening cost of living crisis, and so the scheme is expected to reach capacity faster than in previous years.