Eon has launched a £6 million fund to help people who are struggling to pay their energy bills, even if they are not Eon customers.

Eon said its energy fund is open to pensioners, families, people with disabilities and those on low incomes, regardless of their energy supplier.

Eon UK chief executive Tony Cocker said: “Successful applicants could receive help with settling debts on their energy bills and support in the form of a new energy efficient boiler, washing machine, fridge, or freezer. We urge anyone who’s eligible to get in touch so our independent partner, Charis Grants, can advise them on the support available.”

The fund has been set up following Eon’s commitment to Ofgem in September 2014 to give back closed credits to vulnerable people who meet its eligibility criteria.

In February last year, the major energy suppliers were told by Ofgem to “take action” to return more than £400 million held from customers’ closed accounts. The regulator also insisted any money unable to be returned should be used to benefit vulnerable consumers in a “clear and open manner”.

Earlier this week, Scottish Power announced a £5.2 million fund to help financially-challenged customers, offering financial support to eligible consumers by clearing or reducing energy debts on their Scottish Power accounts.

According to trade association Energy UK, a fuel poor household is one which needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on all fuel use and to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth.

The group believes that, although financial assistance may help provide a “quick fix”, the best way to address fuel poverty in the long term is through energy efficiency measures, such as those required by the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

The new obligation period, known as ECO2, launched on 1 April 2015 and will run to 31 March 2017, extending the original lifetime of the scheme which ended on 31 March 2015.