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?
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is an initiative from the government that helps low-income and vulnerable households with a discount on their electricity bills over the winter.
It’s a one-off discount of £140 administered by your energy supplier – providing your energy supplier participates in the scheme. It isn’t a cash payment, but comes as a reduction in your energy bill.
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 who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are considered the ‘Core Group’. If you belong to this group, then you should receive a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions letting you know of your eligibility for the scheme.
Pensioners do not normally need to apply for the discount, and instead will have the money automatically deducted from their bill.
But it isn’t only for pensioners, if you are on a low income, for example, then you may also be eligible for the discount 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 and are known as the ‘Broader Group’.
Energy suppliers can also use their discretion, so if you have a child under five living permanently in the house, or you receive the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) then you may also be eligible for the discount.
The discount is offered to the Broader Group on a first-come first-serve basis, so don’t delay if you think you qualify as you may miss out. Plus, you should bear in mind that your eligibility last year does not automatically mean that you're eligible this year.
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?
Also, 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. So 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?
As mentioned above, 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, as in the case of pensioners, 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.
There a lots of money saving tips to be found on our energy saving tips guide.