If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills for winter 2016 to 2017, you could get £140 off your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
This scheme was introduced in April 2011 as part of the Government’s Spending Review. It was originally intended to run for four years, but has now been extended for a year to 2015/2016.
The aim of the £1.1 billion scheme, which is funded by energy suppliers, is to help low-income and vulnerable households with their annual energy costs. Around two million households benefit from the Warm Home Discount each year.
The money isn’t paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill between October and April.
Don’t worry, the discount won’t affect you Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
Who can get the discount?
You qualify for the discount if on 10 July 2016 ALL of the following applied:
- Your electricity supplier was part of the scheme
- Your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill
- You were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well).
You can also qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible.
If you don’t qualify
You maybe able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you don’t get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:
- You’re on a low income
- You get certain means-tested benefits
Get a full list of electricity suppliers that are part of the scheme from the Gov.uk website.
How to claim
If you qualify for the discount, you’ll get a letter this autumn or winter telling you either:
- You don’t have to apply – you’ll get the discount automatically
- To apply by 28 February 2017 – the letter will tell you why and how.
You’ll get the letter by 16 December at the latest.
If you think you should get a letter, but don’t – contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You can call 0345 603 9439 – Monday to Friday (8:30am – 4:30pm)
If you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but you switch supplier before you get payment, you have to apply again with your new supplier. Your new supplier might have different rules about who gets the discount. This doesn’t affect you if you get the discount automatically, without having to apply.
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.
You may also be entitled to the winter fuel payment or winter fuel allowance. Its 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.
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.