Managing energy bills and heating your home

Understanding fuel poverty

The cost of living crisis has pushed many into fuel poverty including an estimated 13,500 households (22%) in East Lothian alone. Fuel poverty can be described as ‘being unable to afford to heat your home to an adequate temperature’.

Officially a household is in fuel poverty if they spend more than 10% of net income to pay for their reasonable fuel needs after housing costs have been deducted.

For many, fuel poverty means choosing between buying food and heating their home. Often, fuel poverty is linked to increased risk of debt, ill health and social isolation. It may also impact on a child’s education if they are off sick more often or don’t have anywhere warm to study at home.

We understand that fuel poverty can be particularly challenging if you live alone, are elderly, are living with a disability or health issue, on a low income, or just starting out in your first home.

It’s important to us that local residents are warm during winter and we continue to work to minimise the impact of energy bills wherever possible.

Home Energy Scotland offer advice on how to use less energy and reduce costs and make your house warmer.

Find out more about how Home Energy Scotland can help.

East Lothian Energy Advice

The East Lothian Energy Advice Service aims to help anyone struggling with their energy costs regardless of whether they own their home or are in rented or social housing. 
The service is delivered by Changeworks on behalf of East Lothian Council.

Their Affordable Warmth team has over 10 years’ experience in delivering specialist energy advice services to householders across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Advisers can help you with:

  • understanding bills, resolving errors, resolving debt, understanding tariffs, switching and how to access discounts from suppliers, and much more
  • understanding meter readings and how to get results from talking to suppliers
  • access to grants for debt-wiping or reducing, for installation of measures such as insulation or new heating systems
  • how to use your heating and hot water systems to best effect
  • how to save money on your energy

To make a self-referral to the service visit or call 0131 555 4010.

Managing condensation and preventing mould

Keeping your home warm will reduce the impact of condensation and mould. 

Being able to afford to heat your home is important for health, comfort and hygiene as well as maintaining the condition of your property.

We have produced a guide to heating and ventilating your home, washing and drying laundry and tips for the kitchen and bathroom to help minimise condensation and avoid mould becoming a problem, especially during the colder months.

Check out our new guide to managing condensation and mould.

BeGreen Dunbar Energy Advice Centre

The BeGreen Dunbar Energy Advice Centre enables local residents and visitors to access advice and information whilst visiting or shopping in Dunbar.

The aims of the BeGreen Energy Advice Centre include:

  • providing advice on energy efficiency in order to reduce energy usage
  • helping residents to obtain grants and funding for free or discounted insulation, with additional top-up funding available from BeGreen
  • providing advice and information on alternative energy systems, their installation, funding and liaison with approved installers
  • offering a service to review energy bills, check tariffs and record progress in cutting carbon emissions in order to reduce energy bills
  • working partnerships to deliver the low carbon message to local residents, community groups and schools, ensuring the most up-to-date information is always available 
  • provision of free energy efficient resources including low energy light bulbs and power-downs, and offering services to assist with sustainability

For more information, you can call into the centre on 01368 863720 or email

Help for Homeowners

Home Energy Scotland (HES) aims to help Scottish residents create warmer homes, reduce their energy bills and lower their carbon footprint.

HES can refer home-owners to Warmworks for grant funding and/or loans from the Scottish Government to make energy efficiency improvements such as:

  • wall insulation
  • loft insulation
  • draught-proofing
  • central heating and renewables

Improvements are offered depending on a survey of the property which is completed by an assessor, who will recommend if and what improvements are suitable for the property. All works are completed by an approved installer.

Funding is available, subject to eligibility, from the Scottish Government but please note this cannot be for works already completed or underway. For more expensive improvements such as solid wall insulation, a contribution is required. Interest free loans are available through the Energy Saving Trust.

Warmer Homes Scotland is the Scottish Government’s national fuel poverty scheme. The scheme has helped over 35,000 homes and families across Scotland. Warmworks manages the end-to-end process for customers, from an initial survey that looks at the energy efficiency improvements they could benefit from, through to the installation of these improvements, and a final independent inspection that makes sure they meet quality and safety standards.

To find out if you are eligible visit or call 0808 808 2282.

Help for private tenants

If you are a private tenant and looking for support for fuel costs or would like to find out if your rented property could benefit from upgrades that can be funded through grants/loans to your landlord, you can contact Home Energy Scotland (HES) who can provide you with more information and support.

Find out more about how Home Energy Scotland can help.

Help for landlords

Through a range of Scottish Government funded grants, we are working with landlords in the private rented sector to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

Improving energy efficiency has a range of benefits including: adding value, making properties more attractive to new tenants and reduction of potential problems such as damp, mould and disrepair, as well as positively contributing to the health and wellbeing of your tenants. Improvement works can include installing external wall insulation on non-traditional properties or cavity wall insulation on mixed tenure blocks throughout the county.

Eligibility for improvements will involve looking at the construction/build of properties and whether the tenants and/or landlord is experiencing fuel poverty (spending more than 10% of income after housing costs on fuel bills). Depending on you and your tenant’s circumstances you may be eligible for a full grant or partial grant with a minimum contribution.

Using the criteria below, if you think you are eligible or want to discuss your options, please contact Home Energy Scotland.

  • do you own properties which are rented in the private sector?
  • are your properties in Council Tax Bands A-C?
  • do you have an EPC rating of D or lower?
  • are you and/or your tenants experiencing fuel poverty?

Find out more about how Home Energy Scotland can help.

Cold Weather Payment

The Cold Weather Payment is automatically paid to people on low incomes and in receipt of certain benefits to help with heating costs when the temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, colder than zero degrees celsius across seven consecutive days.

Find out more about the Cold Weather Payment.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme opens in October each year. You may qualify for a reduction in your electricity bill if you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s scheme criteria.

Eligibility for the scheme and the application process is different depending on your circumstances, so for more information contact your energy supplier as early as possible. The number of discounts suppliers offer may be limited.

Find out more about the Warm Home Discount Scheme, including how to apply.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you may qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment to help pay your heating bills.

You will receive your payment automatically if you’re eligible and receive a State Pension or other qualifying social security benefit such as Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance, etc.

You will receive a letter from DWP in October or November telling you how much Winter Fuel Payment will be paid, but if you don’t receive a letter and think you may be eligible, please check if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment.

Fuel Bank Foundation

The Fuel Bank Foundation is a UK charity with a focus on those living in fuel poverty and the challenges they face. It provides emergency financial support to families when they face a “fuel crisis” and have used up all of their options for support. Any supplier’s meter is topped up within a couple of hours.

Find out more about the Fuel Bank Foundation.

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free UK wide service which provides extra help during power cuts or when there’s an interruption to your gas, electricity or water supply. Utility companies can provide advance warning of planned interruptions of supplies.

During a power cut, call 105. It’s free of charge and you will be put through to your local network operator who can give you help and advice.

Find out more about the Priority Services Register.