Help with bills if you use alternative fuels
If you don’t have a contract with a gas supplier you’ll use other types of fuel to keep your home warm. These could include alternative fuels like:
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
solid fuel - such as coal
biomass - such as wood pellets or agricultural waste
If you can’t afford to buy fuel
You might be able to get extra financial help if you:
rely on oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), coal or wood as your main source of heating
aren’t on the gas grid
You’ll need to show that you can't heat your home because you can't afford to buy fuel - or you might not be able to afford it soon.
Talk to an adviser if you need help. Your local Citizens Advice will need to apply to for you.
Check if you can get help from your local council
You should check with your local council to see if they offer local grants or schemes for people who use alternative fuels.
Check what other support you can get for different types of fuel
You might be able to get more support to help you with the costs of getting fuel.
If you use oil
You might be able to save on oil costs by joining an ‘oil club’. You can join an oil club to combine your order for heating oil with other people's. There might be an oil club near you if you live in a rural area away from other people.
Check if there’s an oil club in your local area - you can search online, on social media or on village notice boards. If there’s not already an oil club in your area, you can set up one yourself.
If you want to set up an oil club
Check if there are others in your local area who would be interested in joining. Ask on social media, on village notice boards and in shop windows.
There’s no rule on the size of oil clubs, but larger clubs can sometimes get better savings.
You should set up a terms of reference for your oil club which explains what people can expect. If you want to charge members for the service, make sure you make this clear.
Once you’ve set up your oil club, you should:
set up a list of oil suppliers and their prices - you should review this list regularly as prices can often change
agree order dates for the year ahead
try to place orders for winter early in the summer or autumn - you might be able to get better discounts
If you’re 75 years old or over
If your supplier is a member of the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association Ltd (UKIFDA), they must make sure you get the fuel you need. This is called the ‘Cold Weather Priority Initiative’.
You, or someone you live with, must be aged 75 or over. Your supplier should automatically add you to the ‘Cold Weather Priority Initiative’, but you should check you’re on it.
You might have to ask them to add you. You don’t have to pay for this.
If you use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
If you have a storage tank, you’ll usually be tied into a 2-year contract. Ask your supplier when your contract ends. You might be able to find a better deal with another supplier.
Most suppliers will let you keep your old tank. If they want to fit their own tank, they must pay for this - you can’t be charged for the removal of the old tank.
If you use coal or wood
It’s usually cheaper to buy your coal and wood in bulk. You might be able to find a better deal with another supplier - make sure you look around for deals regularly.
You might also want to look into using different types of coal or wood. Some might be more energy efficient than others, which could save you money.
If you want to move onto the gas grid
If you’re finding it difficult to use alternative fuel, you might find it easier to move onto the gas grid.
You should contact your local gas network to check the costs. Your gas network is responsible for the gas piping - they don’t supply gas. You might have to pay to get:
your home connected to the gas grid
a gas meter fitted
If you live in a rural area and your property has never been connected to the gas grid, you might also need to pay to have pipes laid. This can be expensive.
If you’re struggling with energy bills and living costs, check with your local gas network if you can get connected for a lower price, or for free.
You’ll also need to choose a company to supply your gas. This will be the company that will send you bills. You can check how to get your home connected to a gas supply.
If you have electricity debts
You might be able to get help to pay your electricity bill, such as from the Energy Bills Support Scheme or Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Getting a grant for energy-saving home improvements
You might be able to get help with the cost of things like insulation, a new boiler or improvements to your heating.
If you’re struggling with the cost of living
If you don’t have enough money to live on, you might be able to get help to afford essentials like bills and food. Check if you can get help with the cost of living.
Page last reviewed on 24 February 2023