Warm Home discount
Vulnerable households at risk of fuel poverty are able to claim some help towards costs from the government.
The Warm Home Discount scheme could provide you with a discount of up to £140 on electricity bills over the winter months. This guide provides information on how to receive this payment.
What is the Warm Home Discount?
This is a government scheme to help low-income and vulnerable householders with their energy costs. Those qualifying for the scheme will receive a £140 discount on their electricity bills over the winter months.
It is not paid as a cash amount, but rather through a reduction in energy bills.
If you're on a pre-pay meter, you can still get the discount. Your provider will tell you how you can get it, perhaps through a voucher or other facility.
Who can claim the discount?
Pensioners can claim this extra help if they receive pension credit.
Also, if you are on a low-income or considered vulnerable you may also be eligible for the scheme.
Householders in receipt of income support, income-related employment and support allowance (ESA) or income-based job seeker's allowance will often be eligible.
However, you have to check if your supplier participates in the scheme and who it helps, so check with yours to see if you qualify.
You can find out more about eligibility and provider participation on the government website.
Which energy suppliers offer the scheme?
An increasing number of smaller suppliers also participate in the scheme, and firms are obliged to take part once they have 250,000 customers.
A number of smaller firms have yet to offer the discount. If you are entitled to the discount, check before you switch to a new provider to make sure it participates in the scheme.
How do I claim the Warm Home Discount?
You should automatically receive a letter from your energy supplier over the winter months if you're eligible. This will tell you if, when and how to apply (in some cases, it is provided automatically).
If you don't receive this, and think you may be eligible, give your supplier a call.
You can also call the Warm Home Discount scheme on 0845 603 9439 for more information.
When will I get the discount?
You will receive a reduction in your energy bills sometime between October and March.
If you have a prepayment meter you'll typically receive the discount in the form of a voucher to top-up your meter.
Will the scheme be available in future years?
The scheme was introduced in April 2011. It was set to run for four years, but has been extended until 2021.
How else can I reduce my energy bills?
There is other financial help available if you don't qualify for the Warm Home Discount. You may be entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment, a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 to help older people towards heating costs.
Also, the Cold Weather Payment is available to older people claiming certain benefits for periods of particularly low temperatures.