Energy - for example gas or electricity - is an essential household bill. Energy enables us to heat and power our homes. But energy is expensive and for many on lower incomes, energy bills are becoming un-affordable. This is the very essence of 'fuel poverty'. There are various definitions of fuel poverty, but the main thing is to try and find solutions to the problems you are having keeping warm, being energy efficient or paying your bills. 1)  USE LESS ENERGY Using less energy is a no-brainer. It saves you money and is better for the environment. But how to use less energy? Check out Yahoo's 50 ways to use less energy 2) MAKE YOUR HOME MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT There is a lot you can do to make your home more energy efficient - and warmer too. Check out the Which? guide to creating an energy saving home 3) SMART METERS AND ENERGY MONITORS Smart Meters and Energy Monitors can help you monitor and save energy. Read the Which? guide 4) SWITCHING AND FREEZING YOUR ENERGY PRICES Switching your energy company, being on the right energy tariff and possibly freezing prices can help you to save money. Martin Lewis from explains more 5) HEATING GRANTS AND SCHEMES Grants and schemes are available for heating, boiler replacements and insulation. Check out this excellent guide from Citizens Advice 6) TALK TO YOUR ENERGY COMPANY They won't bite. Honest. Joking aside, energy companies are obligated to provide support to low-income and vulnerable customers. We know it isn't always easy to get through to speak to someone and even if you do, there is no guarantee that help will be available. But if you do speak to the right teams, they should be able to provide the help and services you need. Check out these links to see what we mean. EDF Energy British Gas Eon NPower Scottish Power SSE For other suppliers, visit their website to see what help they can provide. 7) CLAIM YOUR WARM HOME DISCOUNT The £140 Warm Home Discount energy bill rebate may be available to those on lower incomes. To find out more visit the .GOV.UK Warm Home Discount website page 8) CLAIM THE BENEFITS YOU ARE ENTITLED TO £billlions of benefits goes unclaimed every year. Claiming the right benefits and maximising your income is a great way of improving your financial situation and your ability to pay your energy bills. Some benefits can also passport you to other help, for example by making you eligible for the Warm Home Discount or help with a replacement boiler or heating system. EDF Energy customers can now obtain free benefit advice from IncomeMAX. Call 0800 177 7979 or email Customers of other energy companies should contact their local Citizens Advice. 9) DEAL WITH DEBT Dealing with debt is essential if you want to get straight with your finances. Over 4 million households are currently in energy bill arrears but energy is often just one of many debts that customers are worried about. Some energy companies have their own charitable trust funds to help with arrears. EDF Energy Trust British Gas Energy Trust Npower Energy Fund Scottish Power Energy People Trust United Utilities Trust Fund For expert debt advice, contact Step Change or call National Debt Line on 0808 808 4000 10) DON'T FORGET TO LOOK AT YOUR WATER BILLS Water is another expensive household bill. Saving water can also save you money and most water companies also provide comprehensive support to low-income and vulnerable customers. Special tariffs like Water Sure or social tariffs are available and many water companies also have charitable trust funds that can help with water arrears. Speak to your water company to find out what help they have available. Southern Water Thames Water Anglian Water United Utilities Affinity Water Don't forget to save water! Check out the BBC's A-Z of Water Saving Tips