British Gas energy support fund: who is eligible, how to apply, when is it available, how much will I get?

It comes just weeks after British Gas owner Centrica recorded a major rise in its operating profits for the first half of 2022

British Gas owner Centrica has announced it will donate 10% of some of its profits to an energy bills support fund to help its customers manage the cost of living crisis.

It comes a matter of weeks after the energy corporation recorded a major increase in its operating profits for the first six months of the year.

The Russia-Ukraine war has driven up wholesale gas prices, with further increases set to come when Ofgem announces its new energy price cap for October 2022.

So what is British Gas’s grant scheme - and who can apply for it?

Here’s everything you need to know.

How does the British Gas support fund work? (image: PA)

What is the British Gas energy support fund?

The British Gas energy support fund is run by the British Gas Energy Trust - a charity that is run independently of the Centrica-owned energy giant.

It is targeted at vulnerable consumers in England, Wales and Scotland who are considered to be in fuel poverty, i.e. those households who have to spend 10% or more of their income on energy.

Typically, poorer households tend to spend a greater proportion of their income on energy bills than other economic groups because they typically live in less energy efficient homes with bigger families and are usually older people.

To get hold of one of the one-off grants from the British Gas energy fund, you have to visit the British Gas Energy Trust website

You can apply from 12 September, and the fund will remain open until the funds have been exhausted.

The charity offers other grants for those struggling with energy debt, as well as advice on how to manage bills.

Chris O’Shea, CEO of Centrica, said the new £12 million donation was a demonstration that British Gas was acting as a “responsible business” during the cost of living crisis.

“The current cost of living crisis requires all of us to think differently,” he said.

“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.”

How much does British Gas support fund pay out?

Centrica says the donation of 10% of its profits into the British Gas Energy Trust would treble the pot of support available to its poorest customers this winter.

The profits in question will be British Gas’s retail supply profits, which amounted to £98 million in the first six months of 2022.

Centrica said the initial donation would amount to £12 million.

This figure would be paid in addition to the £6 million British gas gives to its charity every year.

The Ofgem energy price cap is set to rise by around 80% on Friday (image: PA)

But the energy giant’s overall operating profits amounted to £1.3 billion over this period - up from £262 million in 2021 - mostly thanks to drilling for oil and gas.

So, the donation amounts to less than 1% of its profits.

It says households applying to the fund would get grants of between £250 and £1,500, and expects “thousands” of its customers would receive an average of £750.

Since creating the charity fund in 2021, grants have averaged at more than £550.

More than a third of the people who received this money received disability benefits, 30% were single parents and 25% had young children under the age of five-years-old.