British Gas giving families in debt £1,500 to pay energy bills

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Households are currently experiencing a 27 percent increase to their energy bills on average despite the introduction of the Government’s price guarantee. Many families are in debt with their energy supplier which is putting further financial pressure on them amid the cost of living crisis. However, people can apply for around £1,500 in grant money from British Gas to help in paying off any outstanding debts which can help in paying for energy bills.

Unlike other energy suppliers, this grant scheme from British Gas is open to everyone and not just customers.

Despite this, funds for the grant scheme are limited so those in debt should apply for support soon as possible.

There are two separate schemes which are operated by the British Gas Energy Trust: one for existing customers and another for non-customers.

The grant scheme for customers closed on July 8, 2022, but its sister scheme for non-customers reopened after closing in the spring.

These grant schemes are open to all eligible residents living in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In order to qualify for the ‘Individuals and families fund’, which awards up to £1,500 in support, applicants must have had help from a money advice charity in the last three months, such as Citizens Advice.

On top of this, those looking to put forward claims need to be currently in energy debt in their active gas and electricity accounts.

Applicants must also have less than £1,000 in savings and have not received any debt grant money from British Gas within the last 18 months.

To be eligible, anyone applying must be considered as being in fuel poverty or at risk of falling into it. This means someone is spending over 10 percent of their earnings on energy bills.

Anyone looking to apply can do so through the British Gas website but they must do so under the name of the account registered with the energy supplier.

As part of the application, families will need to provide full evidence of their income, expenditure and debt.

It should be noted that other energy suppliers provide similar grants schemes to customers in helping them pay off debt.

Earlier, the parent company of British Gas Energy pledged to donate 10 percent of all its profits to the Support Fund which awards grants to families.

This comes amid criticism of energy companies as suppliers report record profits despite the hike in gas and electricity bills.

Chris O’Shea, the chief executive of Centrica, shared why the organisation is increasing its support for vulnerable people at this moment in time.

Mr O’Shea explained: “The current cost of living crisis requires all of us to think differently.

“As a responsible business we want to do more to support our customers during this difficult time.

“Committing 10 percent of our profits for the duration of the energy crisis will mean we can target help at those who need it the most.

“This increased investment in supporting our customers adds to the financial support and advice we already offer and ensures more grants will be available as we go into this winter.”

He added: “We’re proud to have put together a £25million customer support package which will grow: so far, we’ve donated £18million to the British Gas Energy Support Fund; we contribute £6million annually to the British Gas Energy Trust for all consumers; and an additional £2 million investment was made through the British Gas Energy Trust to fund another 20 money advice centres.”

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