The Warm Home Discount is a government programme that provides a one-off rebate to the electricity bills of UK homes that are at risk of fuel poverty. The rebate is applied via the energy supplier between October and March.
As mentioned, the Warm Home Discount provides rebates on electricity bills. For the 2017–2018 winter season, this amount is set at £140, and takes the form of a one-off discount on your electricity bill if you are eligible for the scheme.
This means the funds are not given directly to you, but applied to your energy bill between October and March, meaning the discount is effectively handled by your energy supplier.
Changes to the Warm Home Discount (2018-2019) season The Government has announced that smaller suppliers will be required to offer Warm Home Discount.
Am I eligible for the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount, like the Social Tariff scheme it replaced, is designed to help those who are vulnerable or may need help covering their energy bills during the winter months, when energy bills tend to be the most expensive.
So who gets the Warm Home Discount? You are automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount if on the 9 July 2017 you were:
- In receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (no Savings Credit)
- In receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
This group is referred to as the ‘core group’ of those eligible.
Aside from being eligible, you also have to check that your supplier participates in the scheme (small suppliers especially may not offer it); we’ve listed these suppliers below. You must also check that your name (or your partner’s) appear on the electricity bill.
If you don’t fall into the core group, you may still be able to get the Warm Home Discount, because some suppliers also offer the discount to a ‘broader group’ of customers who are vulnerable to falling into fuel poverty, such as low income households and those especially low income homes that contain a small child.
In these cases, each supplier has its own eligibility criteria and a limit on how many discounts it will pay out. Contact your current energy supplier to find out more.
How can I claim my payment?
If you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount as part of the core group, you will receive a letter in the post. This letter will confirm that your Warm Home Discount will be automatically deducted from your electricity bill.
Your supplier uses information obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions to identify the core group and automatically provide the discount.
However, if you haven’t received your letter and think that you may be eligible, then contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme team firstname.lastname@example.org, available Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
If you think you might be eligible as part of the non-core group, you must make a claim for the Warm Home Discount.
Start by finding out if your supplier offers the discount (see below). You can make a claim for Warm Home Discount on your supplier’s website or by calling them.
Which energy suppliers participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme?
The following suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount in the 2017-2018 season:
- Bristol Energy
- British Gas
- Economy Energy
- EDF Energy
- First Utility
- Fischer Energy
- Green Star Energy
- OVO Energy
- Our Power
- Scottish Hydro
- Southern Electric
- Spark Energy
- The Co-operative Energy
- Utility Warehouse
Please note that some providers require re-application for the Warm Home Discount if you switch energy supplier.
Warm Home Discount and energy price caps
In late 2017, Ofgem announced it would expand the price caps it rolled out to prepayment energy customers to cover customers currently receiving the Warm Home Discount.
Ofgem estimated this would help around an additional 1 million vulnerable energy customers save on their gas and electricity costs.
“It’s absolutely right that Ofgem considers specific measures to help the most vulnerable households who need additional support,” said Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com.
“By focusing on the particular needs of a group of customers, rather than taking a one size fits all approach, we can identify those who need additional protection while helping others make active choices about their energy deal.
“However, there is more that can be done, and we urge the Government to consider broadening access to the Warm Home Discount for those currently eligible, and ensuring all energy suppliers are required to offer it. The Government and Ofgem should focus deeper support to those who need it most, rather than a broad and damaging general price cap.
“It’s competition which ultimately drives prices down, not price caps. So while it’s encouraging that suppliers will now be able to move customers onto another fixed deal when their current tariff expires, consumers must not be lulled into a false sense of security. Ofgem should compel suppliers to do more to put the power in consumers’ hands, by prompting customers to shop around for a better deal for themselves.”
Additional help for vulnerable energy customers
For those who do not currently qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme, there are other financial assistance programmes available.
The Cold Weather Payment is a government payment when temperatures drop below zero for a sustained amount of time. Although it isn’t paid out very often, it is worth keeping a note of. Learn more about the cold weather payment on our dedicated guide page.
You may also be entitled to the winter fuel payment or winter fuel allowance. The winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 to help certain groups of people pay for their heating over winter. Whether you qualify or not depends on your circumstance, which in turn will determine how much you are entitled to.
There may also be energy efficiency grants available to you. Qualifying for these grants means you can get your home insulated for free. Home insulation is a great way to both cut your energy bills as well as waste less gas and electricity
You can also make small changes around the home and make adjustments to your energy behaviour to see savings on your bills. Get free energy-saving tips now.
Changes to Warm Home Discount
In June 2018, it was announced that the threshold requiring suppliers to partcipate in the Warm Home Discount scheme would be lowered in a “stepped approach.”
Energy suppliers with 150,000 customer accounts or more will be required to offer the scheme (currently suppliers need to have 250,000 customers to trigger the requirement) by 2020.
This means that by 2021, an additional 30,000 pensioners and vulnerable households would become eligable to receive £140 discount per winter season to help pay their bills.
Of the news, Claire Osborne, uSwitch energy expert, said:
“Requiring more energy suppliers to offer the Warm Home Discount is one of the reforms Energywatchuk has long called for to help vulnerable customers.
“The Government’s decision is an important step forward and means that more people will be able to switch and access better priced tariffs without worrying about losing their discount.
“However, we hope further reforms will see the scheme being widened and made automatically available to more vulnerable households in the future.”