What is the warm home discount?
Increasing energy costs and falling wages means more and more UK households are struggling to pay their energy bills, particularly in winter when heating costs increase exponentially – around 4 million households are currently in debt with their energy supplier, and an estimated 2.4 million are currently considered to be living in fuel poverty.
There are a number of government schemes in place to help vulnerable energy customers, particularly the elderly, who not only feel the effects of cold more profoundly, but often have less money to spend on energy and other household bills. Customers in this position are most likely to fall into fuel poverty.
The warm home discount is one such scheme, here’s all you need to know about it, including who offers it, how its paid, and who its paid to.
Who is eligible for the warm home discount?
The warm home discount isn’t available to everyone, and has been designed to assist the following vulnerable energy customers:
- Pensioners – You’ll be eligible for the discount if you’re under 80 and receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, but not the Savings Credit element, or you’re over 80 and receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, even if Savings Credit is also received. Your electricity supplier must also have been on the scheme since July 12, 2015, and either your name or your partner’s name must be on the bill.
- Other vulnerable energy customers – If you’re not a pensioner, you may still qualify for the discount if you get certain means-tested benefits, such as income support or universal credit, or your household income is below about £16,000. Assistance may also be available if you’re on low income with a disability, suffering long term illness or have with young children.
It’s worth noting that different energy suppliers have different eligibility criteria, so you might need to check with the company that provides your electricity.
And companies with fewer than 250,000 customers do not have to offer the warm home discount to either the core or the broader group. However, most of the well-known firms are part of the scheme.
For a full list of suppliers, check out our warm home discount guide page.
Is the Warm Home Discount for gas or electricity?
The Warm Home Discount is a one-off discount on your electricity bills only, and doesn’t include your gas bill. The scheme could knock £140 off your electricity bill, and you’ll need to register with your current supplier before you can claim it.
How is the Warm Home Discount paid?
No money is paid to you, it's applied as a one-off discount on your electricity bill, usually between October and May. If you’re on a prepayment meter, contact your supplier to find out how you’ll receive the discount, most will offer it as a top-up voucher.
How do I apply for the Warm Home Discount?
If you’re an eligible pensioner, you shouldn’t need to apply and should receive a letter by December 24 each year, explaining the discount and any application procedure.
If you don’t get a letter and believe you qualify, you should contact the warm home discount team on 0345 603 9439. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
If you’re a non-pensioner, but think you’re eligible, you’ll need to contact your energy supplier to receive the discount.
Can I switch energy supplier if I’m on the Warm Home Discount?
If you’re thinking of switching supplier, consider that the new provider might not offer the Warm Home Discount, or may have different eligibility criteria if you’re not a pensioner.
That said, the saving you make from switching might actually be more than the value of the discount, so do your sums and then decide.
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