Are you looking for ways to save money during the colder months? The Warm Home Discount scheme takes £140 off your electricity bill. It’s a one-off discount applied by your supplier between October and March, meant to offset winter energy costs of UK homes at risk of fuel poverty.
Here’s everything you need to know about this government programme, including who’s eligible and how to apply.
This government programme was designed to help fuel-poor households cope with energy costs during the winter months, when we all tend to use more fuel. The Warm Home Discount takes the form of a single £140 discount for those who are eligible. The funds aren’t transferred directly into your bank account; rather, they’re applied to your energy bill by your supplier. Although it’s meant primarily for electricity, it can also be applied to gas bills if your supplier handles both.
There are three different elements included within the scheme, including the Core Group, Broader Group and Industry Initiatives. All energy suppliers with over 250,000 domestic customers must provide the discount to the Core and Broader Groups, while those with over 200,000 domestic customers must participate in the Core Group element. Do you have a smaller energy supplier? It might also take part, but it would be on a voluntary basis. It’s worth asking if you’re not sure.
The Warm Home Discount programme is administered jointly by the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as well as industry regulator Ofgem.
This government programme is designed for individuals who are vulnerable or otherwise might need a bit of extra help over the winter months. It replaces the Social Tariff scheme. To qualify, your supplier needs to participate in the scheme, and your name must appear on the energy bills.
You would have been automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount in 2018-2019 if you were in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit on 8 July 2018. This is the Core Group mentioned above. The Broader Group refers to additional customers who may need assistance.
If you have a prepayment meter, you could still qualify for the rebate. However, because you pay for your energy in advance, you’ll most likely receive a voucher to top up the meter (rather than a rebate after the fact).
Core Group – The Core Group comprises fuel-poor pensioners, providing a direct £140 rebate into their energy account. It applies to anyone receiving the Pension Credit Guarantee, and the Department for Work and Pensions communicates with suppliers to identify energy customers who fall into this group. If in doubt, it’s always best to contact your supplier about eligibility.
Broader Group – The guidelines for eligibility within the Broader Group are slightly less defined. As with the Core Group, the rebate consists of £140 and is applied the same way. However, suppliers have some discretion with eligibility criteria, and each will have slightly different rules, so it’s best to contact them directly. Support is intended to go to those at risk of fuel poverty, funds allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. This group typically consists of low-income households, particularly those containing small children.
Warm Home Discount industry initiatives – The third component of the Warm Home Discount scheme is its industry initiative, which gives suppliers the chance to assist fuel-poor customers indirectly through third parties. This component might work on reducing customer debts, providing advice on saving energy during the winter, or other third-party incentives.
There are different procedures for receiving your funds depending on whether you fit into the Core or Broader Group. Here’s a closer look at how to apply for Warm Home Discount rebates, plus, we’ll explore the cases in which no application is needed.
If you’re part of the Core Group, you’ll receive a letter in the post as confirmation. Your letter will tell you if you need to call a helpline to confirm your details, and the electricity supplier will automatically apply the discount thereafter.
If you don’t receive a letter by the end of December, contact the Warm Home Discount Team using the details below:
Telephone: 0800 731 0214 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm. Charges may apply)
Warm Home Discount Team
Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1
Peel Park, Brunel Way
While the Warm Home Discount is applied automatically for the Core Group, those who are part of the Broader Group will need to make a claim. To get started, find out if your supplier offers the discount. Applications open from October, and because discounts are limited, you’ll need to get in touch with your supplier as early as possible. Each supplier will have their own eligibility criteria and application forms you have to meet.
Ofgem made an announcement at the end of 2017 that it would expand its price caps to those receiving the Warm Home Discount. These price caps were previously applied only to prepayment energy customers. With this action, it could help an estimated one million more consumers save money on their energy bills.
In addition to the price caps, there are financial assistance programmes to help fuel-poor consumers. Even if you aren’t eligible for the Warm Home grant, you might qualify for the following options:
Cold weather payment: If temperatures fall below zero for a prolonged period, you could benefit from this government payment if you’re on other low-income benefits. You’ll be due £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather (classified as falling below zero degrees Celsius) between 1 November and 31 March.
Winter fuel payment: The winter fuel payment is another tax-free fund, typically between £100 and £300, which is designed to help vulnerable groups stay warm during the colder months. It is available for those who were both:
Born on or before 5 April 1954
Living in the UK for at least one day during the week of 16 to 22 September 2019 or have a genuine link to the UK
Energy efficiency grants: Government grants are available to help make your home more efficient through better insulation. This not only helps you save money on your energy bills in the winter, but throughout the year.
The supplier requirements for the Warm Home Discount scheme are changing. In June 2018, the government announced that the threshold would be lowered in increments to help assist more and more consumers over time. Any energy suppliers with at least 150,000 customers will need to offer the scheme by 2020, which is an increase from the current threshold of 250,000 customers. By getting more small suppliers onboard, it’s estimated that an additional 30,000 pensioners and low-income customers will receive the £140 discount by 2021. This may be adjusted again if needed, to ensure that assistance is going to homes that need it.
For further information about eligibility and application requirements, you can visit the official government-operated website. It hosts all the current contact information for this year’s scheme, as well as all participating suppliers.
If you think you might qualify under the Broader Group of consumers, you can read more about how this is determined by looking at Ofgem’s guidance for suppliers.
As with any energy-related matters, your own supplier is a good source of information as well. If they don’t take part in the Warm Home Discount scheme and you think you might qualify, now may be a great time to switch suppliers.