Highland Council’s fuel support fund is to be extended until March, councillors have agreed.
Using Covid-19 funding from the Scottish Government the council can make a £60 grant per household to help those who have been awarded council tax reduction and are having difficulties paying their fuel bills.
More than 4,500 north households benefited in the first three weeks of the scheme, launched at the end of January.
The funding has a discretionary element, enabling the council to make grants in some other circumstances.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, vice chairman of the council’s corporate resources committee, said 5,400 applications had been received in total.
“There has been a tremendous response from across the Highlands for this important fuel support grant, put in place to help mitigate the costs of winter and the growing pressures on family incomes and finances, increasing unemployment and the uncertainty that lies ahead.
“The council will automatically make the March payments, increasing the total grant payment to £120.
“The scheme will also remain open for new applications to ensure that this support can still be accessed.”
More than 900 households have also taken up the option of a home energy health check from their local Citizens Advice.
Mr Reiss said: “The energy expertise within Citizens Advice means that help available for individual households is identified and accessed.
“This includes energy switching, reducing fuel bills and obtaining grants to improve the fuel efficiency of individual homes.”
Applications for the fuel support fund can be made online via the council’s website at or by calling the welfare support team on 0800 090 1004.