The Warm Home Discount is a £140 payment to help those struggling to pay their energy bills.
But while many will receive the discount automatically, others may need to ask their supplier to get the reduction.
Who gets the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount is a compulsory scheme for the large energy companies and is an annual credit they place in the account of those who are eligible. Some small energy suppliers also offer it. During winter 2017/2018, the payment is £140.
The Warm Home Discount applies to two distinct groups:
The core group: if you receive the Guarantee Credit Element of Pension Credit, you’re in this group. In most cases, your energy supplier will identify you automatically and you won’t need to apply for it.
The broader group: customers in vulnerable groups. If you’re on a low income or you get certain means-tested benefits you might qualify in this group. Each supplier has its own eligibility criteria, which are approved by the regulator Ofgem.
Is the Warm Home Discount only for pensioners?
No. Energy companies pay the Warm Home Discount to a broader group of people who struggle to pay energy bills. Gas and electricity suppliers have a degree of discretion over which of their customers make up the broader group and how many to help, based on their market share.
The participating suppliers have had their own eligibility criteria approved by Ofgem and have a limit on the number of customers who can benefit. Consumers who may be eligible could include those on low income with a disability, long-term illness, with young children or in receipt of certain means-tested benefits. The actual criteria used will vary as they depend on which electricity supplier you are with.
Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters
You can also qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
How to apply for the Warm Home Discount
Households in the core group should automatically receive the discount on their energy bill without having to take any action. You should get a letter confirming this, or telling you how to apply, if necessary. You should receive this letter by 30 November 2017. All payments are usually made during the winter months (by the end of March 2018, at the latest).
If you think you qualify in the core group but don’t get a letter, contact the government’s Warm Home Discount team on 0345 603 9439 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm).
Customers in the broader group will have to apply to their energy supplier – check with your energy supplier to find out its eligibility criteria (list below).
The Warm Home Discount will be applied to your electricity account. So if you receive gas and electricity from different suppliers, you should contact your electricity provider to register. But if you get your gas and electricity from the same supplier, you can ask it to credit your gas account instead.
The discount won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
The following suppliers are part of the scheme:
- Bristol Energy
- British Gas
- Co-operative energy
- Economy Energy
- EDF Energy
- Extra Energy
- First Utility
- Fischer Energy
- Flow Energy
- GB Energy – see Co-operative energy
- Manweb – see ScottishPower
- M&S Energy
- Our Power
- Sainsbury’s Energy – see British Gas
- Scottish Gas – see British Gas
- Scottish Hydro – see SSE
- Southern Electric – see SSE
- Spark Energy
- SWALEC – see SSE
- Utility Warehouse
Where can I find out more?
Updated information on the Warm Home Discount is available from the government’s website GOV.UK.