The Warm Home Discount (WHD) is a government scheme aimed at helping vulnerable people to pay their energy bills over the winter months.
However, not all energy companies are part of the scheme and you may still be able to save more by comparing suppliers.
What is the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount is a scheme that was set up by the government to help the most vulnerable and lowest income families and individuals. The scheme helps these people to pay their energy bills during the winter months when energy bills are the highest due to heating the home.
The aim of the Warm Home Discount is help tackle fuel poverty in Great Britain.
The value of the Warm Home Discount in 2017/18 was £140.
It is applied to the energy bill of those customers who are eligible and have applied to the scheme. The discount is applied to the energy bill between September and March.
The Warm Home Discount is applied to the electricity bill by the energy supplier. The reason why the Warm Home Discount is deducted off the electricity bill not the gas bill when it is contributing toward heating is because not all homes are connected to gas but are more likely to be connected to the electricity network.
However, you may be able to ask your energy supplier to apply the discount to your gas bill instead if you would prefer that. You would, however, need to get both your gas and electricity from the same energy supplier. This is at the discretion of the energy supplier and is not a rule of the scheme.
Who is Eligible for the Warm Home Discount?
Not everyone is eligible for the Warm Home Discount as you will need to be in receipt of certain benefits and possibly met certain additional criteria. You may qualify if:
- You are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit, this group of people is also known as the core group. You will need to check which type of Pension Credit you receive as there are two parts to it. If you receive only the Savings Credit you will not be eligible. If you receive the Guarantee Credit top-ups you are eligible.
- If you are on a low income and you receive certain means-tested benefits you may also be entitled but this eligibility can vary with each energy supplier as they set which benefits they accept as part of the broader group. These benefits can include Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance but you also must have parental responsibility for a child under five years old or a qualifying component to be eligible
In addition to the above, the following has to apply:
- Your energy supply has to be part of the scheme. The larger energy suppliers are obligated as being part of the scheme and the smaller energy suppliers can participate voluntarily. You must check with your supplier that they are participating or check the list on gov.uk. If your supplier is not participating in the scheme you may be able to switch to another supplier who does participate but check with them before switching if you are eligible
- Your name or your partner’s name must appear on the bill
If you receive the Warm Home Discount it does not affect you receiving the Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
Some energy companies may also offer customers in receipt of the Warm Home Discount additional support such as energy efficiency advice or help with reducing your energy debts.
How to Apply for the Warm Home Discount
Those who are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit will receive a letter towards the end of the year informing them of their eligibility and how to access the discount. There will be a deadline when you need to act on this letter to receive the discount. If you are in receipt of this benefit and do not receive a letter you must contact the Warm Home Discount team on 0800 731 0214.
If you think you might be eligible based on being on a low income and receiving means-tested benefits, you will need to contact your energy supplier to check that you are eligible. You should check with your energy supplier as soon as possible as the number of people they can offer the Warm Home Discount to is limited in this broader group.
If you are eligible your energy supplier will tell you what you need to do to apply for the Warm Home Discount as each energy supplier has a slightly different method.
Warm Home Discount Energy Suppliers
The following energy companies offer the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
- Atlantic: Apply via SSE. You need to fill-in an online form to register your interest.
- Bristol Energy: Only if you’re eligible for the ‘core group’, find out more here.
- British Gas: Need to apply for the scheme each year. Learn more here.
- Co-operative energy: Can register your interest online.
- Economy Energy: Can register your intersest on their website.
- EDF Energy: Closed for 2017/18 and information for 2018/19 will be posted on their website during the summer.
- E.ON: Can register your interest for next winter on their website.
- Extra Energy: Can apply on their website.
- First Utility: Closed for 2017/18 but can register interest for 2018/19 on their website.
- Fischer Energy: Only if you’re eligible for the winter 2017 to 2018 ‘core group’.
- Flow Energy: Need to be a customer to be eligible and can apply online.
- GB Energy: (see Co-operative energy above)
- Manweb: (see ScottishPower below)
- M&S Energy: Apply via SSE (see below).
- npower: Can apply online or by phone.
- Our Power: Only if you’re eligible for the ‘core group.’
- OVO: Can pre-register online via their website.
- Sainsbury’s Energy: See British Gas above
- Scottish Gas: See British Gas above
- Scottish Hydro: See SSE below
- ScottishPower: Currently closed for 2017/18 and no information on their website for 2018/19 at the time of publication.
- Southern Electric: See SSE below.
- Spark Energy No information for 2018/19 available, beyond saying that: “The Warm Home Discount is likely to run again next year in the autumn of 2018, pending government approval.” More on their website.
- SSE: Now registering interest for winter 2018/19 online via their website.
- SWALEC: See SSE above
- Utilita: Currently closed for 2017/18 and no information for 2018/19 on their website.
- Utility Warehouse: Applications for 2017/18 closed and no information about next winter on their website.
How is the Warm Home Discount Administrated?
The Warm Home Discount is administered by the energy supplier to qualifying people by applying the discount to their energy bills. Those who are eligible need to contact their energy supplier and follow their application process to get the discount applied to their energy bills. There is a limit to the number of people that energy companies can support if they are in the broader group.
The legislation and policy of the Warm Home Discount is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and they also coordinate the core group of eligible people. Ofgem is responsible for administering elements of the scheme relating to the broader group and the industry initiatives as well as overseeing the energy suppliers’ delivery of the scheme.
Does Switching Energy Suppliers Affect the Warm Home Discount?
If you are thinking about changing energy suppliers and you currently receive the Warm Home Discount, you should check that the energy supplier you want to switch to participates in the scheme.
If you are eligible under the broader group criteria you may want to wait until after you have received the Warm Home Discount before you switch energy suppliers. You also may want to check your eligibility with the new energy supplier before you switch. Those eligible in the core group will automatically be eligible with any participating energy supplier.
Prepayment or Pay-As-You-Go Meters
If you have a prepayment electricity meter or Pay-As-You-Go electricity meter then you can still qualify for the Warm Home Discount. How your discount will be applied will differ depending on which energy supplier you are with but one method is that the energy supplier will send you a voucher that can be used to top up your meter.
If you are eligible but you live permanently in a Park Home (mobile home) and pay for electricity through your park or as part of your pitch fees, you will need to apply for the Warm Home Discount differently as the scheme is managed by Charis Grants Limited.
There is also other schemes, grants, and advice available to those on low income and in receipt of certain benefits, which include:
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments are made when the weather in your area is recorded as or forecasted to be zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days between 1st November and 31st March. You can check whether a payment is due in your area on gov.uk. In the winter of 2017/18, the value of these payments was £25 per period of cold weather.
You may be eligible for these payments if you are in receipt of certain benefits such as Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit, but you should check the qualifying criteria on gov.uk
Winter fuel payment
Winter Fuel Payment is a payment made to people who were born on or before 5th August 1953 and are in receipt of the State Pension or another qualifying social security benefit. You can check if you are eligible on gov.uk. This payment is made directly to individuals who are eligible to help them pay for their heating during the winter months. The amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances but is between £100-300 per person.
If you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment you should receive this automatically but if you do not receive and think you are eligible you should make a claim.
Help Reducing Your Energy Bills
You may be able to reduce the cost of your energy bills by:
- Switching energy suppliers or asking your existing supplier to put you on the cheapest tariff
- Getting energy efficiency advice to reduce your energy consumption from the Energy Saving Trust
- Getting a smart meter installed to help you monitor your energy usage. You should contact your energy supplier to see if they are installing smart meters in your area
- You may also be eligible for free home insulation such as loft or wall insulation or a replacement boiler. The Energy Saving Trust can help you find suitable grants.
Warm Home Discount Contact Details
Call – 0345 603 9439, lines are open 8.30am-4.30pm
Warm Home Discount Address
Warm Home Discount Team