Kidney Care UK understands the need for people with kidney disease to keep their houses warm (between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius).
With the increase in energy costs we appreciate how difficult and stressful it can be for people with kidney disease at this current time. This particularly includes those who dialyse at home, as home haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis machines use additional electricity and water which will increase the cost of your utility bills. We are working hard to raise awareness of this issue, and we have also put together this page of resources and advice to help you stay warm.
Free Warm Welcome Spaces
If you are struggling to keep your home heated and need a warm and welcoming space to go for a few hours, Warm Welcome Space is a network of over 3000 community organisations, churches, libraries, businesses and faith groups across the UK that have opened warm, welcoming spaces for the public over this winter across the UK. Find a Warm Welcome Space near you on their map.
- Help with water bills for kidney patients
- WaterSure Scheme
- Reimbursement of gas, electricity and water bills for kidney patients on home haemodialysis
Help with gas and electricity bills for kidney patients
If you struggle to keep your home warm, there may be help out there for you, and we encourage you to contact your energy supplier to see how they might help. Most people will be with one of the ‘big five’ suppliers in the UK:
Many have charitable trusts and their own schemes to help support people who are disabled or who have chronic illnesses, such as the British Gas Energy Trust and the E.ON Energy Fund. We advise that you call your energy supplier for the most up to date advice and information as support varies and can change quickly.
Charitable trusts and schemes from energy suppliers:
- British Gas Energy Trust: an independent charitable trust receiving donations from British Gas, offering financial assistance to families and individuals in need, hardship or other distress. In particular, those struggling to pay their energy bills.
- E.ON Energy Fund: this fund has been set up for the most vulnerable existing or previous customers of E.ON Energy and can help to pay current or final E.ON Energy bill arrears to customers living in England, Scotland or Wales. It can also help E.ON customers with replacement household items such as cookers, fridges, fridge-freezers and washing machines, as well as provide replacement gas boilers.
- Octo Assist Fund: this £2.5 million fund was set up in 2021 and offers Octopus customers a number of support options based on circumstances and need. This includes access to existing schemes, monetary support from the fund, or a loan of a thermal imagery camera to find heat leaks at home.
- Charis: Charis exists to facilitate charitable and corporate giving by designing, developing and managing a range of services in support of vulnerable members of society. They offer a complete grants management service for charitable or corporate giving through trust or assistance funds.
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund - this trust helps families and individuals living in fuel poverty or other distress who are struggling to pay their gas and/or electricity bill by awarding grants to clear those debts. The aim is to give vulnerable individuals a fresh start and enable them to keep free of fuel debts going forward.
- ScottishPower Hardship Fund - ScottishPower has a fund to help customers who are struggling to pay their ScottishPower debt due to low household income, for example, customers on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance or Disability Living Allowance.
Help with water bills for kidney patients
Many water suppliers have charitable trusts and their own schemes to help support people who are struggling to pay their water bills. We advise that you call your water supplier for the most up to date advice and information as support varies and can change quickly.
Charitable trusts and schemes from water suppliers:
- Anglian Water Water Care - Anglian Water offers a wide range of financial assistance which you may be eligible for. This includes discounted tariffs of up to 50% off your water bill, fixed charges if you use more water due to a medical condition, debt assistance schemes if you've fallen behind with your water bill and setting affordable payment plans. They also offer a Priority Services Register, which is free to join and offers additional practical support
- Severn Trent Trust Fund - this is an independent, grant-making, trust helping people out of poverty and debt - thanks to donations by the UK Midlands-based water company, Severn Trent Water Limited. People unable to meet the cost of water charges and who live in the Severn Trent area can apply directly to the Trust for help. They also offer free support and advice about debt and budgeting.
- Southern Water - Southern Water has several payment schemes in place to help those struggling to pay their water bills.
- South East Water's Priority Services - South East Water has a range of priority services, including their Helping Hand scheme, to help support anyone struggling to pay their bills. They encourage anyone having difficulty to get in touch either through their website, over the phone or via Facebook Messenger.
- South Staffordshire Water Charitable Trust - a registered charity, the South Staffordshire Water Charitable Trust runs independently and assists South Staffs Water customers who are facing genuine difficulties or distress with paying their water bills.
- South Staffs Water - as well as the independent South Staffordshire Water Charitable Trust, South Staffs Water also offers a range of schemes to help support customers struggling to pay.
- Thames Water Customer Assistance Fund - The Thames Water Customer Assistance Fund helps customers who are experiencing financial hardship and are in debt with them by matching any money paid towards your water debt, pound for pound.
- United Utilities - United Utilities has a wide range of support in place for anyone struggling to pay their water bills, including payment breaks, payment matching and a Trust Fund that will help you to pay off your debt.
- Yorkshire Water - Offering immediate short term and longer-term schemes you can apply for, Yorkshire Water encourages anyone struggling to get in touch. This includes their Charity Trust scheme.
WaterSure is a scheme for people in England which helps with water bills. To apply, you must have a water meter/be waiting to have one installed, be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because you have a certain number of school-age children in your household.
If you’re in Wales and get your water from Welsh Water, you’re covered by WaterSure Wales. This works in a similar way to the English scheme.
If you get help through the WaterSure scheme, your water bill will be capped and you will not have to pay any more than the average metred bill for the area your water company deals with. This means that, in some cases, your water bill could be less than your company’s WaterSure cap, so you will only be billed for the amount of water you use. You can ask your water company what their WaterSure cap is before you apply.
Reimbursement of gas, electricity and water bills for kidney patients on home haemodialysis
If you are on a home dialysis therapy, your renal unit may be supporting you with reimbursement of your bills. This includes, for example, information on getting a reduction in your council tax. We encourage you to ask your renal unit about this.