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British Gas Energy Trust - how to apply in 2019

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What is the British Gas Energy Trust?

The British Gas Energy Trust is a charitable nonprofit organisation set up to help people who have problems paying their gas and electricity bills. If you are having problems covering energy costs or need help with energy efficiency improvements in your home, the British Gas Energy Trust may be able to help. The energy grants are used to help vulnerable and low-income households in fuel poverty to clear their energy debts, so that they can move on with their lives.

    Key facts

    Here are some key facts to be aware of if you are thinking about applying for the scheme:

  1. You do not have to be a customer with British Gas to receive a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust.
  2. The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charity funded entirely by donations from British Gas.
  3. Every application is considered carefully and awards are granted for genuine emergency cases only.
  4. If you are awarded a grant to help you pay your bills, the money will go straight to the energy provider, not to your bank account.
  5. Only the account holder who pays the energy bill can be awarded a grant. If they cannot apply by themselves, due to disability, for example, this circumstance must be explained and backed up with documentation in order for someone else to apply on their behalf.
  6. The British Gas Energy Trust strongly advises applicants to get money or debt advice before applying. This will give the applicant a better chance of getting assistance from the British Gas Energy Trust.
  7. It is really important to reply to any request for further documents within the 30 days even if you do not have the requested documents yet, otherwise they will close your application. Depending on personal circumstances, they may give you more time to submit the required information, but you must communicate with them within that initial 30 day period.
  8. All documentation you provide must be from the past three months except for annual benefit letters or if any of the following apply: you are a pensioner; you receive benefits; you receive disability allowances.
  9. If you receive care from a support worker or carer, you can ask the British Gas Energy Trust to contact them so that they can assist with your application. Your information will be kept secure.

Who runs the Energy Trust?

An organisation called Charis Grants Ltd runs the Energy Trust on behalf of British Gas. Despite the name, the British Gas Energy Trust is not part of British Gas plc. It is an independent trust, registered as a charity in England and Wales, and registered in Scotland as the Scottish Gas Energy Trust.

Who can apply?

Firstly, it’s important to emphasise that you do not need to be a British Gas customer to apply for a British Gas Energy Trust grant. If you meet all of the following conditions you could be awarded a grant:

  • Your net household income - after paying taxes, National Insurance, and your rent or mortgage - is below £13,260 per year.
  • You have had advice from a recognised money advice service, which has fully investigated your household income and whether or not you can pay your energy bills.
  • Someone in your household has a very serious health condition that has directly affected your ability to pay your energy bills.
  • You live in England, Wales or Scotland (sorry Northern Ireland, you’re not included in this one)

What you need to know before applying

There are certain limitations to the kind of help that is available through the British Gas Energy Trust. Here is a list of what the grants can be used for:

They can help you with: They cannot help with:
Repaying residential gas and electricity debts that are owed to British Gas or other energy suppliers, whatever the tariff. Buying essential energy efficient white goods and cookers to improve quality of life. Assistance with Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Order fees, Minimal Asset Process and Sequestration. Emergency fuel top-ups for prepayment meters. Emergency heating sources. Fines for criminal offences. Educational, training costs or other incentives. Down payments and mortgage deposits. Medical equipment, aids and adaptations. Overpayments of benefits. Debts from business. Credit cards, catalogues and personal loans. Rent and council tax arrears. Holidays. Home improvements such as windows and doors. Beds or carpets.

How to apply

The most efficient way to apply to the British Gas Energy Trust is to contact them directly or complete the online form. If you’re having trouble using the application form on the website contact the Trust by phone or email to ask for an alternative version of the application form. You can also ask someone to apply on your behalf.

Check with your money advisor if this is the right time for you to apply. If you’re currently having your benefits reviewed or you’re waiting for a decision to be made about the benefits you receive it might be best for you to wait until that is finalised before you apply for the Energy Trust.

What evidence do you need to support your application?

You will be asked to provide evidence that you have sought and received money advice. On the application form you should include details about the organisation that gave you advice about your financial affairs. You will also need to give a few details about your financial situation. Be sure to give as much detail as you can about the following things:

  • Include the total amount of money earned by everyone in your household, including pensions, benefits, and income from employment.
  • Include the total amount of money spent by everyone in your household - that’s everything you spend on food, rent/mortgage, bills, your car, going to the cinema, absolutely everything!
  • Include full details about all your debts, not just your gas and/or electricity bills. Remember to include all the money owed by all the people living in your house.
  • Provide the account numbers from your gas and/or electricity bills.

Since part of the eligibility criteria to receive a grant is that someone in your household has a serious medical condition, it’s very important to include the right evidence from a medical professional. You will need a letter on headed paper, signed by the medical professional, giving full details of the medical condition. The letter must also be recent; the date should not be more than six months before the date of your application to the Energy Trust.

If you’re posting your application form don’t include original copies of your supporting evidence documents! Go to your local library and get them photocopied. For online applications get your documents scanned so you can attach them to your application.

How will you know if you have been successful?

You will receive an email from the Trust letting you know if your application has been successful or not. If you’ve nominated someone to apply to the Trust on your behalf, that person will receive the email.

Before the final decision is made, you might be asked to provide more information in support of your application. Keep an eye on your email inbox and be prepared to send your additional evidence within 30 days of the date the Trust asks for the extra information.

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Can I apply more than once?

If you apply and you receive an award from the Trust you will not be eligible to re-apply for another two years. However, if your application is not successful you can apply again at any time. For example, if something changes and you are in a different financial situation you can submit another application with details of your new circumstances.

Can I get help to complete the form?

There are various organisations throughout England, Wales and Scotland that receive funding from the British Gas Energy Trust to help people with their grant applications. These are independent organisations whose job it is to give unbiased, impartial advice. See below for more details about how to find an advice centre near you.

British Gas Energy Trust Contact

You can contact the British Gas Energy Trust and the company that administers the trust through various methods.

Energy Trust telephone number

The administrators of the British Gas Energy Trust, Charis Grants Ltd, can be reached over the phone through the following number.

Charis Grants contact number Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost. Phone: 01733 421021

Don’t ask to speak to Chris Grant! The company is called Charis Grants - it is not a person called Chris Grant! You wouldn’t be the first person in the world to make that mistake if you misread it.

Energy Trust email

This is the official email address to use for sending your supporting information for your grant application: BritishGasEnergyTrust@lets-talk.online

You can also contact the administrator organisation that deals specifically with the British Gas Energy Trust using this email address: bget@charisgrants.com

Energy Trust fax

If you don’t want to post or email your application and supporting evidence, you might be able to fax your documents instead. We suggest you give them a call first on the number above just to make sure they will accept your fax.

Charis Grant fax number 01733 421 020

Energy Trust online form

To apply online, you have to create an account with Charis Grants, who administer the allocation of grants. They will then send instructions by email for how to submit evidence and complete the application for the British Gas Energy Trust.

Create an online account to apply for a British Gas grant

Energy Trust address

Supporting documentation and application forms can be sent for free (no stamp needed) to this address:

Papers

Freepost: British Gas Energy Trust C/O Charis
3rd floor, Trinity Court
Trinity Street, Peterborough PE1 1DA

Advice centres for people facing debt

You can go to your local Citizens Advice centre for help in the first instance. For specific help with completing an application for a British Gas Energy Trust grant there are a few places in England and Wales that can help you. Click below for the full list:

British Gas Energy Trust advice centres

Scotland

In Scotland there is a different network of Citizens Advice centres, imaginatively named Citizens Advice Scotland, where you can go for help and advice when you’re having money troubles. You can also consult THAW Orkney for specific help to apply for a British Gas Energy Trust grant.

Other help available from British Gas

In addition to the British Gas Energy Trust, there are other ways to get help paying your gas and electricity bills. So don’t worry if you’re not eligible for a British Gas Energy Trust grant; here are some other options for you to explore.

Warm Home Discount

Warm Home Discount is a UK Government-run scheme to help people in fuel poverty pay their electricity bills during the colder months. The amount awarded is £140 and it comes straight off your electricity bill. Sometimes you can get the discount to apply to your gas bill instead; it depends on your supplier.

Read our Warm Home Discount for British Gas customers for more information. If you’re not a British Gas customer, see our Warm Home Discount guide to find out how you can get help through your own supplier.

Cold Weather Payment

Snow falling outside window

Depending on which benefits you receive from the government, you could be eligible to receive a Cold Weather Payment. This scheme comes into effect when the temperature is extremely cold.

If you qualify for the Cold Weather Payment you would receive £25 every time the temperature is below freezing for seven days at a time.

Winter Fuel Payment

People who were born on or before 5th April 1954 automatically qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment. It’s a one-off payment of between £100 and £300 paid to you directly from the government to help you pay your energy bills in the colder winter months. Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment here.

Priority Services Register

Paper writing on pen

You can qualify for extra help in certain circumstances by asking your energy supplier if you can be added to their Priority Services Register. Being on a Priority Services Register means that you receive additional support according to your particular circumstances, such as issuing bills in Braille or large print for customers who have visual impairments.