Stop the silence around energy debt. British Gas Energy Trust – providing independent advice and support
Financial support and energy advice
If you are facing bills you can’t afford and struggling with the rising cost of energy, don’t suffer in silence. The British Gas Energy Trust is here to help. They are an independent charitable trust1 set up to support families and individuals facing financial hardship and energy debt across England, Wales and Scotland.
The rising cost of living means more people are experiencing financial difficulty for the first time. If you’re worried about money and energy debt and don’t know where to turn, then take the first step to understanding what support is available.
IncomeMax, a social enterprise funded by the Trust, has produced the Bounce Back Checklist that details benefits, grants and organisations that can help, whatever your circumstances.
How British Gas Energy Trust can help
Independent charitable trust
Funded solely by British Gas since 2004, the British Gas Energy Trust has provided consistent, financial help for vulnerable households and is one of the largest, grant-giving energy trusts in the UK.
We don’t mind who your energy supplier is
Whether you’re with British Gas or another supplier, there is help available to you. The majority of the information on this page applies to customers of any supplier, but if you’re a British Gas customer you’ll find more focused help towards the bottom of the page.
Advice local to you
The Trust funds local organisations that provide free 1-2-1 money, benefits, and energy-saving advice.
The Trust throughout the year runs a direct access energy debt programme, awarding grants to households most in need of support. Funds are limited and subject to eligibility.
Step 1. Finding the right support for you
Are you getting all that you’re entitled to?
Millions of households are missing out on benefits they are entitled to. The Bounce Back Checklist details the main benefits and schemes to help you maximise your income - whether you’re working or not - with quick links to find out if you qualify and how to apply. It also lists specialist organisations that offer guidance and support on a range of other issues you may be facing.
Don’t forget to review your household budget
It’s always a good idea to review your household budget to see if you can make any immediate savings. That means understanding exactly how much money you have coming in daily, weekly or monthly (your income), and how much needs to be paid out (your outgoings). Remember to include everything from priority bills like your rent or mortgage and energy bills to insurances and living costs including food and transport. You can find resources to help you understand your budget, including a free tool at Moneyhelper.
Step 2. Speak with your energy supplier
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 installments as part of a payment plan.
You’ll pay fixed amounts over a set period of time, 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
If you’re a British Gas customer, we’ll do everything we can to support you.
If you need more help or specialist advice, then read on to Step 3 below .
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 great next step to getting your bills under control and will help if you later decide to apply for any grants. 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
Just knowing someone is there for you can help take the pressure off, boost your confidence and give you the strength to get back on your feet again.
Step 4. Applying for a grant
You should get money or debt advice before applying for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. This will help you feel confident that you’ll be able to manage your energy costs in future and support your application.
If you are struggling with domestic gas and electricity debts owed to British Gas or other suppliers, you may be eligible to apply for a grant from the Trust to clear that debt. Most of the budget will be reserved for British Gas customers. The grants available and eligibility criteria may change from time to time. Unfortunately, the Trust is unable to help everyone who applies and due to high demand, applications from low-income households, namely below the London and UK Living Wage are being prioritised.
British Gas Energy Support Fund
In December 2021 we launched a new support fund and have invested £6 million to help our most financially vulnerable customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
This fund was set up in response to the increasing cost of living and rising inflation and will remain open until all the money invested has been awarded. This is on top of the debt relief grants available to both British Gas customers and customers of other energy suppliers.
Hear from people the British Gas Energy
Trust have already helped
British Gas Energy Trust supports grassroots organisations like IncomeMax and Citizen’s Advice. Watch Manpreet and Zara’s story to see how it helped them take control of their finances.
Raising awareness of energy debt
We’re very happy to be working with rapper and mental-health activist, Professor Green to raise awareness of the burden of energy debt – and crucially, that no one should suffer in silence. Support is available, from organisations like the British Gas Energy Trust.
What’s the average monthly energy bill?
Want to know how much gas and electricity you’re using compared with a typical household?
How much you pay depends on your lifestyle, the size of your home and how many people you live with. See how your bills compare with the average British household and what’s makes up your energy bills.
Tips to use less energy
Many of us are guilty of leaving the TV on standby or charging our mobiles overnight. Now is the time to make small changes which could help to cut your gas and electricity bills.
Summer is also a great time to save energy at home. See our handy guide for tips to help you save now and build up credit for the winter months.
Some other suppliers offer grants just for their customers:
Help and advice for British Gas customers
Struggling to pay your energy bills?
Last year, we helped over 300,000 customers manage their debt. So, don't be afraid to tell us why you're struggling, and we'll do everything we can to support you.
Priority Services Register
Our Priority Services Register is a free support service for people who may be vulnerable – perhaps because of their age, health or disability, or if they’re going through a difficult time in their lives.
Get more from your smart meters
If you’ve got a smart meter then you’ll also have a smart energy monitor. This is the device in your home that tells you how much gas and electricity you’re using. It’s easy to use - you can even set budgets to help you stay in control or keep an eye on your spending in real-time.
British Gas Energy Trust is Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation no 1179578.