Household bills and costs
There is currently an increase in scams related to the cost of living and government energy rebates. Find out how to keep safe.
Support available for household bills and costs. Find out how to reduce your energy usage and bills.
Not sure which bills to pay first? The MoneyHelper Bill Prioritiser can help you put your bills in the right order and tell you what to do if you are struggling to pay.
- Rent and Council Tax
- Disability Cost of Living Payment
- Reducing your energy usage
- Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and EBSS alternative funding
- Alternative Fuel Payment Fund
- Fuel grants
- Fuel Support Scheme for pensioners
- Winter Fuel Payments
- Cold Weather Payment
- Household Support Fund
- Local Assistance Scheme
- Benefit calculators
- Hampton Fund
- The Barnes Fund
- Richmond Parish Lands Charity
- Thames Water
- Energy supplier grants
- TV Licence
- Richmond Furniture Scheme
- Help with transport
- Help for pet owners
- Free data
- Priority Services Register
If you're on a low income you may be able to get help with paying your rent and Council Tax.
Certain people are eligible for discounts on their Council Tax, such as people who live alone, people with disabilities, carers and students. Make sure you check if you could be eligible.
Individuals on disability benefits would have already received a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport. This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.
Report a missing Cost of Living Payment
You can report a missing Cost of Living Payment if you think you should have had one of the following payments but you cannot see it in your bank, building society or credit union account.
You can report one of the following benefits payment as missing:
- £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment
- £326 Cost of Living Payment for a low income benefit or tax credits
Do not report the same missing payment more than once. Report a missing Cost of Living Payment.
Find out more about how to reduce your energy usage and bills.
The government's Energy Bills Support Scheme provides a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023.
All households with a domestic electricity connection in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible for the discount. You do not need to apply for the discount, and there is no need to contact your energy supplier. The discount will be applied to your monthly household electricity bill for six months starting in October 2022.
Prepayment meter users will get equivalent vouchers to redeem, which are valid for 90 days. Your supplier should have your contact details, but if you’re not sure or you don't receive any information from them, you should check that they have your latest number and email.
If you get vouchers, you will need to redeem them at a top-up point. Your supplier will tell you where to redeem them, for example at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop. Make sure you redeem them as soon as possible, and within the 90 day limit.
Find out more about the Energy Bills Support Scheme (GOV.UK).
This scheme is for households who do not have a domestic electricity supply contract, and so were not eligible for the automatic £400 EBSS payment.
Households who pay for energy through a landlord or housing manager, or as part of a service charge, rent or other arrangement, can apply for this funding. This includes, but not limited to, caravan park homes and houseboats.
Find out more and apply for EBSS alternative funding (GOV.UK).
If your household is not connected to mains gas, and you use alternative fuels as your main form of heating, you may be eleiglbe for a £200 payment.
This is in addition to £400 from your electricity supplier.
You can apply for this payment (GOV.UK) if you have not received it and think you should have.
Richmond residents can apply to get up to £170 towards their annual energy bill through our Fuel Grant Scheme. This scheme is open to anyone on a low income, including pensioners.
The 2022 scheme is now closed. The 2023 scheme will be launched towards the end of this year.
A £100 one-off payment to pensioners in receipt of Council Tax reduction, you do not need to apply for the Fuel Support Scheme for pensioners. Payments will be made direct to your bank, or you will be supplied with a voucher.
In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills. This winter, they can also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.
Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment (GOV.UK).
You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter. The money is not paid to you - it's a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October 2022 and March 2023.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.
Find out more about the Warm Home Discount Scheme (GOV.UK).
If you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest, you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0OC or below over seven consecutive days. Next year's scheme will start on 1 November 2022. Cold Weather Payments are different to Winter Fuel Payments.
Find out more about the Cold Weather Payment (GOV.UK).
Richmond AID and Citizens Advice Richmond have received Household Support Funding to distribute to low-income households who are struggling and need help and support accessing food, energy bills or other household essentials. This includes working households on a low income.
This support can be in the form of:
- Payments and vouchers for individuals and families towards the cost of food, energy costs and essential items
- Access to the wider advice service provided by Richmond AID and Citizens Advice Richmond to help residents maximise their household income and manage their situation, for example support around benefits or debt advice
Citizens Advice Richmond
Find out more about Citizens Advice Richmond.
- Telephone: 080 8278 7873 (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm)
- Online: Submit a grant enquiry
Find out more about Richmond AID.
- Telephone: 020 8831 6070 (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For residents who receive welfare benefits, are subject to serious hardship and have nowhere else to turn, the Local Assistance Scheme can help with the purchase of essential household items (for example white goods) and food and baby essentials in a crisis.
- Telephone: 020 8891 1411
- Email: email@example.com
Find out what benefits you could be entitled to using a benefit calculator.
If you are on a low wage, get state benefits or live on a pension you can get help with paying your gas and electricity bills and for urgent essential household items. You must live in the Hampton Fund area of benefit: Hampton, Hampton Hill, Hampton Wick, Teddington, Twickenham and Whitton. Apply online via the Hampton Fund website.
- Website: Hampton Fund
- Telephone: 020 8941 7866 (10am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Support with utility bills, such as gas, water or electricity. You must be in the Barnes Fund catchment area and must have a referral from an agency, for example Richmond AID.
- Website: The Barnes Fund
Richmond Parish Lands Charity provide grants to residents in TW9, TW10, SW13 and SW14.
Referrals to their crisis grants must be made through a referral partner. Please contact one of these in the first instance:
- Citizens Advice Richmond - by freephone: 080 82 78 78 73 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)
- Richmond AID (for people with long term health conditions, disabilities, and carers) - via email to email@example.com or call 020 8831 6070
- AgeUK Richmond - 020 8878 3625 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Achieving for Children - Use the website contact form
Other referral partners (who will need to complete an online application form) include: schools in RPLC's catchment area, Crosslight Advice, Vineyard Community, Look Ahead, Community Mental Health teams, Richmond support teams and social services.
- Website: Richmond Parish Lands Charity
- Telephone: 020 8948 5701
Thames Water has designed WaterSure and WaterHelp schemes to reduce the cost to households in need of extra support. This includes low-income households, households with large families and those who have a water-dependent medical condition.
If you are in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Support Fund
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
- Ovo Energy Fund
- E.ON Energy Fund
- ON Next Energy Fund
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund
- Octopus 'Octo Assist Fund'
TV licenses are free if you're aged 75 or over and you or your partner are in receipt of Pension Credit. Find out more about free TV Licensing.
Richmond Furniture Scheme (RFS) are a local furniture reuse charity. They provide good quality, value for money second-hand and refurbished furniture which is discounted for those receiving benefits.
If you are in receipt of benefits (excluding child benefit), are a student, a care leaver, a carer or keyworker, you can benefit from a 25% discount. RFS also work with local agencies who refer clients with grants to the scheme to get essential furniture. These include:
- Our Local Assistance Scheme
- The Hampton Fund
- Richmond Parish Lands Charity
- The Barnes Fund
- Richmond Housing Partnership
Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them 'essential' or 'basic' broadband.
They are delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price.
Find out more about cheaper broadband and phone packages.
We are working with cycle hire companies to provide low-cost bicycle, e-bike, cargo bike and e-cargo bike options. Find out about cycling opportunities in the borough.
If you are unemployed and receiving Universal Credit or Jobseekers Allowance, you may be eligible for a travel discount.
The RSPCA is committed to ensuring that animals do not pay the price of the cost of living crisis.
They have launched a new cost of living hub to provide advice and support for struggling pet owners. It's constantly being updated with signposts to pet food banks, advice and support for vet bills, information about pet insurance, and tonnes of other resources.
They are also working strategically with partners and organisations across the country to provide financial support for smaller rescues and veterinary vouchers for pet owners to ensure that pets stay in the home rather than get abandoned. They have launched a partnership with Farehare which will ensure pet food and veterinary treatments are provided for pet owners who are struggling at hundreds of food banks across England and in all the food banks in Wales.
The National Databank is providing free data to 500,000 people in need via the Good Things Foundation’s network of community partners, in partnership with Virgin Media O2, Vodafone, and Three. There is also help with free data from O2 via their app.
Find out about National Databank.
All large gas and electricity companies, as well the gas and electricity grids, offer a range of free services to their most vulnerable customers including residents of a pensionable age and those with additional health needs.
Joining the Priority Service Register entitles you to the following free services:
- A gas appliance and installation safety check (if everyone in the home is eligible)
- Quarterly meter readings
- Help in moving a meter if it is in an inconvenient position
- A personal password system for gas and electricity staff to use every time they call at the person’s home, to confirm they are genuine
- Help if they have difficulty in using certain appliances
- Bills sent to a friend or family member on their behalf
- Bills supplied in different formats, such as large print or Braille, by cassette or in a different language
Some energy companies offer extra services to residents. Most energy companies require you to be on their priority service register before offering reduced bills for vulnerable customers, otherwise known as a 'social tariff'.
Up to: Richmond Cost of Living Hub
Updated: 22 August 2023