There is a lot going on in the world of water and energy in relation to supporting vulnerable customers. As benefit and debt advisers it is really important for us to keep up to date with any new schemes and tariffs that may be available and there have been quite a few announcements and developments over the last few months. The thing that really caught the headlines was the news that Npower are planning to team up with the Trussell Trust foodbank network to offer vulnerable customers free energy through energy vouchers. The scheme will be aimed at gas and electricity customers using prepayment meters. Scottish Power have announced a new £5.2 million Trust Fund scheme to help vulnerable customers in debtThe fund will award grants between £100 and £3,000 depending on the size of the debt owed, the individual circumstances of the case, and the budget availability within the fund at the time. Eon have also announced a brand new £6 million fund to help vulnerable energy customers. This energy fund is open to pensioners, families, people with disabilities and those on low incomes, regardless of their energy supplier. It is so important that debt and benefit advisers consider the energy bill needs of clients and the possible help that may be available to them. Customers should be looking at all options open to them, including tariffs, vulnerable customer support, help with arrears, trust fund applications, help with measures (boiler replacement/insulation/white goods) and general good practice on saving energy and keeping warm.  DON'T FORGET THE WARM HOME DISCOUNT! APPLICATIONS FOR 2015/2016 ARE RE-OPENING. This provides the customer with a £140 rebate on their energy bill. It is available to credit and pre-payment customers.  It is also vitally important for advisers to consider the water bill help that may be available as water companies are doing a lot to help customers afford their bills. Customers can't switch water suppliers but they can still take steps to reduce their water bill and deal with water debt. Many water companies have trust funds that can help with water bill arrears and some have debt matching schemes, where if you re-pay water bill debt, you can have part of the debt written off. Social tariffs for water bills are now being introduced by water companies but they have varying criteria and scheme names! A social tariff will help you to reduce your bill to a more affordable level. You can usually find information on your water company social tariff by visiting the 'help paying your bill' section on their website. The IncomeMAX energy and water page has more information and the links you need. Energy checklist for advisers.  BEST ENERGY TARIFF (COULD MEAN SWITCH/FREEZE) - CLAIM WARM HOME DISCOUNT - MEASURES REQUIRED? - HELP FOR VULNERABILITY - HELP FOR ARREARS/ENERGY DEBT - INCOME MAXIMISATION - DEBT ADVICE - ENERGY SAVING ADVICE - FUEL DIRECT - BUDGET ALLOWS FOR ENERGY BILLS TO BE PAID MOVING FORWARD Water checklist for advisers BEST TARIFF (WATER SURE/SOCIAL TARIFF) - DEBT MATCHING SCHEME AVAILABLE FOR ARREARS? - SAVE WATER - BETTER OFF ON A WATER METER? - HELP FOR VULNERABILITY  - HELP FOR ARREARS/WATER DEBT -  INCOME MAXIMISATION - DEBT ADVICE - WATER DIRECT - WATER SAVING ADVICE - BUDGET ALLOWS FOR WATER BILLS TO BE PAID MOVING FORWARD Lee Healey 27/04/2015 @income_max