What is the Warm Home Discount? And am I eligible?
Over 2.3 million UK households live in fuel poverty.
A fuel poor household is one that needs to spend 10% of its income on energy.
The Warm Home Discount is the government’s solution to this problem.
Under the scheme, which is managed by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), large energy providers – those with over 250,000 customers – are obliged support people either living in fuel poverty or at risk of it.
Some smaller providers can voluntarily take part in the scheme.
How much do you get on the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount gives eligible consumers a £140, one-off discount on their electricity bill between October and April – when energy bills tend to be the most expensive.
It's not paid to you in cash and is instead taken off your bills by your supplier.
Am I eligible for the Warm Home Discount?
To qualify for the discount, you must meet the following criteria:
* Your electricity supplier was part of the scheme
* Your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill
* You were receiving the Guarantee Credit aspect of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
If you tick these boxes, you’re in the Core Group and can access the scheme immediately.
Some suppliers offer the discount to a Broader Group, which tends to be offered to low income households (especially those with small children) in danger of falling into fuel poverty.
Support under the Broader Group tends to be administered on a first come, first served basis.
Ofgem says: “Most suppliers open their applications over the summer and aim to pay out the rebates over the winter.”
What if I have a prepayment meter?
You can apply for the Warm Home Discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
The money may be paid in the form of a voucher you can use to top up the meter.
Your energy supplier will explain the payment method.
What if I don't qualify?
All is not lost.
Even if you don’t get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, if you’re on a low income or receive means-tested benefits, try applying directly to your electricity supplier for help.
If this is a dead end, it’s still worth telling your supplier your'e struggling to pay the bills.
Most providers will have support systems in place to help.
EDF, for example, offer a Personalised Support Service, which helps manage your energy usage and keep costs down. Most providers will also offer a debt helpline.
One easy way of cutting your energy bills down to size is by comparing prices on A Spokesman Said.
How do I claim my Warm Home Discount?
The beauty of the scheme is that you shouldn’t have to.
Eligible consumers should receive a letter this autumn or winter telling them the discount will be sent automatically, or inviting them to apply by February 28, 2017.
If you think you’re eligible, but don’t receive a letter, contact the scheme on 0345 603 9439.
Which suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount?
As of September 6 2016, the follow suppliers take part in the scheme:
* Bristol Energy
* British Gas
* Co-operative energy
* EDF Energy
* Equipower (Ebico)
* Equigas (Ebico)
* Extra Energy
* First Utility
* GB Energy
* Manweb - see ScottishPower
* M&S Energy
* Our Power
* Sainsbury’s Energy - see British Gas
* Scottish Gas - see British Gas
* Scottish Hydro - see SSE
* Scottish Power
* Southern Electric - see SSE
* SWALEC - see SSE
* Utility Warehouse
Is there any other help I can get with my energy bills?
The government does provide other support for households struggling to pay for gas & electricity.
The Cold Weather Payment is a sum paid by the government when temperatures are below zero for a prolonged period. It’s not common, but one to keep in mind if temperatures plummet.
One of the big fuel support nets is the Winter Fuel Allowance – a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 to help struggling energy consumers pay for heating over winter.
How much you are entitled to depends on the severity of your situation.
Receiving these extra supports will not affect your Warm Home Discount.
My supplier hasn’t paid my Warm Home Discount, what do I do?
If your supplier has failed to apply your Warm Home Discount, bring the case to A Spokesman Said.
We’ll fight your corner.
In March, we helped MS victim Andrew Oldham get the £140 discount he was owed by Scottish Power.