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Subsidies, grants and goverment schemes

A number of government schemes aim to help you reduce your energy use and bills.

The Green Deal

This UK-wide initiative allows private companies to install energy improvements in homes and businesses, and then recover the cost of the installation over time, through a payment added to the electricity bill. The repayment is designed to be less than the bill savings resulting from the energy improvements, so you're never worse off. Alongside the Green Deal is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). All major energy suppliers are obliged to support energy improvements in homes under 3 initiatives:

Affordable Warmth Obligation:free or subsidised insulation and heating improvements for householders on qualifying benefits

Carbon Saving Obligation: subsidised insulation for houses with solid walls, or with cavity walls that are unsuitable for standard cavity wall insulation

Carbon Saving Communities Obligation: free or subsidised insulation improvements for households living in the poorest areas of the country

For further information about the Green Deal and ECO, go to www.gov.uk/greendeal, www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation or phone 0300 123 1234.

Generating your own electricity

If you're interested in generating your own electricity - from solar PV panels for example - then you can get support from the Feed-in Tariff. This pays you a bonus for every unit of electricity you generate, plus a bit more for every unwanted unit you feed back into the grid.

If you want to use a renewable heating system, such as a heat pump or biomass boiler, then you can benefit from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). If you install an eligible system you can claim a one-off payment now from the RHPP and then get paid under the RHI for every unit of heat you are estimated to produce, starting in 2014. For more information visit Energysavingtrustor call 0300 123 1234

Wales

If you live in Wales you may be eligible for additional support through Nest, the Welsh Assembly's flagship scheme to tackle fuel poverty. Nest provides advice on energy saving and fuel bills; residents may also be eligible to receive home improvements at no cost. Visit energysavingtrust.org.uk or call 0808 808 2244

Scotland

Householders in Scotland may be able to claim additional support through a several initiatives. Visit energysavingtrust.org.uk or call 0808 808 2282

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, the support available is completely different. Go to nidirect.gov.uk for information on Government schemes, or call your energy supplier.

All of these schemes are intended to help you make your home more efficient, which will help you reduce your energy bills in the future. If you're having difficulty paying your energy bills right now, you can get help advice from adviceguide.org.uk.

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