The Warm Home Discount is a government scheme to help up to 2 million homes that are at risk of fuel poverty in England, Scotland and Wales.
You may have heard of the Warm Home Discount in the news, but what exactly is it, how much is it, and does it apply to you?
The Warm Home Discount provides rebates on electricity bills. For the winter of 2014-2015, this amount has been set at £140 and will take the form of a one-off discount on your electricity bill.
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.
Households in Northern Ireland can apply to a similar scheme entitled Warm Homes.
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 12 July 2014 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.
I think I’m eligible for the Warm Home Discount. How can I claim my payment?Core group
If you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount as part of the core group, you will receive a letter in the post by the 31 December 2014. 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 Helpline on 0845 603 9439, which is open on Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.Non-core group
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). Then, make a claim by calling the UK Gov's Warm Home Discount Team on 0345 603 9439, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Which energy suppliers participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme?
The following suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount in the 2014-2015 season:
- British Gas
- EDF Energy
- Equipower (Ebico)
- Equigas (Ebico)
- First Utility
- Manweb - see ScottishPower
- M&S Energy
- OVO Energy
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Scottish Gas - see British Gas
- Scottish Hydro
- Southern Electric
- Utility Warehouse
Please note that some providers require re-application for the Warm Home Discount if you switch energy supplier.
What other help can I get with my gas and electricity bills?
Even if you don't qualify for the Warm Home Discount doesn't mean there isn't financial assistance available to you. There are other government schemes to help certain households with their energy bills.
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, which is also known as the Winter Fuel Allowance and Heating Allowance, 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 too, but just read our guide to learn more.
The payments you receive as part of your warm home discount are not dependent on, and won't affect, other payments you receive such as cold weather payment of the winter fuel payment.
See what energy efficiency grants are available to see how you can get your home insulated - for free. Home insulation is the easiest way you can cut your energy bills permanently, with poorly insulated homes costing their owners a fortune in unnecessary heating bills. What's more, insulation is cheaper than ever, and a variety of government grants mean you have no reason not to be well insulated.
The most basic form of insulation is loft insulation, which is cheap and easy to install. Even if you already have loft insulation in place you should check whether you have the recommended levels, particularly if it was installed some time ago.
Wall, and particularly cavity-wall insulation, are more expensive and you will need an expert to install them for you. They are also only suitable for certain properties, but you can read our guide to see the full criteria. The Energy Saving Trust estimates the average three-bed semi-detached property could save up to £310 a year by installing both loft and cavity-wall insulation.
However, if you've already fully insulated your property the energy-savings shouldn't stop there. Small changes around the home and changing your energy behaviour can lead to huge savings over the course of the year. Get free energy-saving tips for your home, including easy ways to cut your energy use and your bills on our energy-saving pages.