As it currently stands, the government’s Warm Home Discount scheme requires suppliers with more than 250,000 customer accounts to offer £140 off vulnerable customers’ bills.
There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
- you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit – this is referred to as the ‘core group’ of warm home discount eligibility
- you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme known as the ‘broader group’ — this criteria may vary between suppliers
When switching energy suppliers, it’s crucial to take into consideration whether the supplier you’re switching to offers the warm home discount.
Stepped approach to lowering criteria
As part of a government focus on tackling fuel poverty, the threshold for suppliers to participate in the scheme will be lowered; by 2021, energy suppliers with 150,000 customer accounts or more will be obliged to offer the Warm Home Discount.
This change would mean that 97% of the consumer energy market will be covered, making choosing a new supplier when receiving the warm home discount easier, and less likely to result in missing out on the discount.
Low income and vulnerable households who get their energy from smaller suppliers will become eligible resulting in an extra 30,000 pensioners by 2021 receiving the payment.
However, the change will be a stepped approach, giving smaller suppliers time to adapt to the changes.
“Important step forward”
Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch welcomes the news:
“Requiring more energy suppliers to offer the Warm Home Discount is one of the reforms uSwitch 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.”
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