Cost of living: Jeremy Vine caller slams British Gas prices
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British Gas is contributing 10 percent of its energy supply profits to the British Gas Energy Support Fund for the duration of the energy crisis, to help the most financially vulnerable customers with their energy bills this winter. The support announcement comes ahead of the rise in energy tariffs in October, expected to be announced by Ofgem on Friday.
The British Gas Energy Support Fund was created in late 2021 with an initial £2 million investment in response to the cost of living crisis. A further £4 million was donated in the first half of 2022.
Now, to help keep vulnerable households afloat over the winter months, the firm – which has raked in huge profits this year – has announced it’ll be boosting the fund with a further contribution of £12 million.
British Gas said the boost makes this the largest voluntary aid package offered by a UK energy supplier to its customer and takes the total amount contributed to the British Gas Energy Support Fund to £18 million over the last eight months.
Chris O’Shea, chief executive of Centrica, parent company of British Gas Energy said: “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.”
The additional support will be accessible for energy customers from mid-September, but how much could be awarded, who would be eligible and how can people apply?
How much is the British Gas Energy Support Fund?
Through the previous funds, British Gas said thousands of households have received grants of £250-£750.
The average grant size has been £550. Over a third of the recipients are on disability benefit and many are families; 30 percent of them are single parents and a quarter have children under five years old.
It’s expected that from the new fund, grants will average £750 per household and will go to thousands of customers most in need.
A statement on British Gas’ website reads: “The fund will remain open until all the money invested has been awarded.”
Who is eligible for the British Gas Energy Support Fund?
To be eligible to access the fund, applicants must be a British Gas customer in fuel poverty. It will no longer require applicants to have under £1,000 in savings, a spokesperson from British Gas confirmed to Express.co.uk.
Fuel poverty in England is measured using the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) indicator. Under this indicator, a household is considered to be in fuel poverty if the following two apply:
- They are living in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of band D or below
- When they spend the required amount to heat their home, they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line
There are three important elements in determining whether a household is fuel poor, and these include:
- Household income
- Household energy requirements
- Fuel prices
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How to apply for the British Gas energy support fund
The British Gas Energy Trust will open the fund on Monday, September 12.
There is not yet any information or links to forms, but based on where other forms are available, it’ll likely be accessible on British Gas’ ‘Grants available’ page here.
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