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Struggling to pay your energy bills

Struggling to pay your energy bills

Information on what help is available to keep your home warm if you struggle to pay your energy bills.

What is fuel poverty?

A household is in fuel poverty if they spend 10% or more of their net income on energy costs. Fuel poor households are more likely to be found in one of these categories:

  • Living in private rented accommodation
  • Living in a single person households
  • Unemployed / economically inactive households.

Your home may cost more to heat if it was built before 1975 because of its lack of insulation, leading to higher energy bills. You may also be heating your home using oil instead of mains gas, which can be up to 30% more expensive.

What the Government is doing?

The Welsh Government published a Fuel Poverty Strategy in 2010 outlining the planned actions to tackle fuel poverty. This includes support from the fuel poverty scheme, Nest.


You may be eligible to receive free home improvements to help make your home warmer and reduce the cost of your energy bills under Nest. A Nest whole house assessment is available if you:

  • Own or privately rent your home, or you live in a shared ownership property;
  • Are in receipt of a means tested benefit; and
  • Live in the hardest-to-heat homes (F or G rated).

Recommended measures for your property could include:

  • a new central heating boiler;
  • insulation for a hot water cylinder;
  • loft, cavity wall and solid wall insulation;
  • or renewable energy technologies such as air source heat pumps.

Visit the Nest programme page for more information.

Nest also provides free impartial advice and support on saving energy and managing money to everyone living in Wales. If you’re worried about the cost of heating your home, you can call 0808 808 2244 free from a landline or a mobile phone.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

In January 2013, the UK Government changed the law to require the largest energy companies to help improve the energy efficiency of certain types of home. This introduced ECO funding for energy efficiency improvements. Measures are provided directly to customers by Energy Suppliers. Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) on 0300 123 1234 for more information on your eligibility for improvements under ECO.

Energy efficiency

You may be eligible for free help and advice from Eco Centre Wales who provide home visits, look at options and solutions to reduce energy bills as well as grants and funding to help energy efficient measures.

Home Heat Helpline factsheets provide useful information to keep your energy costs down and any additional help you might be entitled to.

Local authorities

Your local authority may also provide you with an energy-saving grant or other incentive to help with the installation of certain energy efficiency measures in your home. Contact your local authority for details of any current programmes in your area.

Related links

You may be eligible to receive free home improvements to help make your home warmer and reduce the cost of your energy bills under Nest.

Resource Efficient Wales Programmes

The Welsh Government has set up a number of programmes to help support you, your community or business become more resource efficient.

Find out more