What is the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount scheme provides money towards the electricity bills of UK homes at risk of fuel poverty. Set up by the government, the scheme is available to low income households. We explain what it is and how to apply if you’re eligible for this help with your heating bills…
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What is the Warm Home Discount scheme?
The Warm Home scheme is a payment of £140 (2019-20 winter season). It is paid as a one-off discount to electricity bills to help households in fuel poverty. A household is in fuel poverty when the people living there can’t afford to keep the house warm enough.
Your energy provider will apply the winter Warm Home Discount to your electricity bill. However, if you have dual fuel you can ask your provider to apply the discount to your gas bill instead.
Am I eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme?
The government designed the scheme to help the most vulnerable in society. It’s for people who will probably need help with their energy bills when they are at their most expensive. There are two groups of people who may qualify for the warm home allowance:
The ‘core’ group
If you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit on 7 July 2019, then you automatically qualify for the Warm Home Discount.
The ‘broader’ group
This group includes many low-income households, particularly those with young children. Each supplier has its own criteria for this ‘broader’ group and has a limited number of payments it can give. As a minimum, you have to be on a low income, and receive certain means-tested benefits.
How do I claim the Warm Home Discount?
If you are eligible as part of the Warm Home Discount ‘core’ group, you will get a letter in the post between October and December. The letter will say that your Warm Home Discount will be deducted from your bill. It may ask you to confirm some details too. If you haven’t had a letter but think you should, then contact your supplier and ask them.
Whether you’re eligible will depend on your supplier’s specific rules. If your supplier offers the discount, you’ll be able to find out if you qualify either via their website or by calling them. Applications will normally open in October.
Can I get Warm Home Discount on a pre-payment meter?
Yes – you can get the Warm Home Discount on a pay-as-you-go or pre-payment meter. How it works for you depends on your supplier. They may put credit on the meter for you, but often they will give you a voucher to use to top up your meter.
When do I get the Warm Home Discount?
Your energy supplier will apply the discount to your bill sometime between the 1st January and 31st March 2020. They’ll be able to let you know the date.
Does my energy supplier offer the Warm Home Discount?
Only energy suppliers with more than 250,000 customers in 2019 offer the Warm Home Discount scheme.
In 2020, energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers will have to offer the scheme.
Some suppliers only offer the discount to core customers, but don’t offer it to the ‘broader’ group. To find out if your supplier offers the scheme and what the qualifying criteria are, visit your supplier’s website or give them a call.
If you’re eligible for the scheme, but your supplier doesn’t offer it, think about switching to an energy supplier that does offer the scheme.
Other help for vulnerable energy customers
If you need any more help with your bills, you’ll find other schemes available, including:
The Cold Weather Payment – a government grant paid to certain customers when the temperature drops below freezing for more than a week
The Winter Fuel Payment – paid to those over the age of 65 who qualify depending on their circumstances
Energy efficiency grants – they pay for insulation and other improvements to your home if you qualify for them.