With the cold weather of winter looming, you may be starting to think about the extra strain it can have on your energy bills.
Here’s a round up of the most popular and beneficial schemes for 2016/17:
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount is a government-led scheme that provides rebates on electricity bills to eligible consumers. For 2016–17, consumers receiving energy from specific suppliers can receive £140 back into their energy account — taking the form of a one-off discount on their energy bill.
This means the funds are not given directly to you, but applied to your account with your energy supplier between October and March.
This varies slightly for prepayment customers, who may get a voucher for top up from their supplier.
If you qualify as part of the “core group” you’re automatically eligible for the discount and don’t need to do anything to inform your supplier.
Am I eligible?
You are automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount if on the 10th July 2016 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.
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.
This broader group often includes those on certain benefits, or low income households — especially low income homes that contain a small child.
In these cases, each supplier has its own eligibility criteria with application date restrictions and a limit on how many discounts it will pay out. Contact your current energy supplier to find out more.
Who offers it?
Not all suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount, as they are only required to participate in the scheme if they have a customer base of 250,000 customers or more. However, a few suppliers opt in to the Warm Home Discount scheme voluntarily.
For a full list of suppliers that offer Warm Home Discount, read our dedicated guide.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is a government payment of between £100 and £300 to contribute towards your winter energy bills. The payment is tax-free and doesn’t affect any other benefits you may receive.
You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).
Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.
Am I eligible?
If you were born before 5th May 1953 you are eligible for 2016/17’s Winter Fuel Payment. If you’ve successfully claimed before, you won’t have to claim again for the 2016/17 period.
You’ll need to claim if either of the following apply to you:
- you don’t get benefits or a State Pension
- you only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit
The claims process has to be done by 31st March 2017.
Cold Weather Payment
Cold weather payments are offered to those on certain benefits in the event that the area they live in has extreme cold weather.
If you’re eligible you will receive £25 for each seven consecutive day period that the weather hits zero degrees celsius or below between 1st November and 31st March.
Cold Weather Payment is paid automatically.
Am i eligible?
You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
You can inform your pension centre or Job Centre Plus office if you think you should have received Cold Weather Payment but you haven’t.