Energy grants Warm Home Discount
What is Warm Home Discount?
It's a £135 payment to help those struggling to pay their energy bills. It's an annual credit that suppliers place in the account of an eligible consumer. It's a compulsory scheme for the large energy companies.
During the 2012/2013 winter the payment was worth £130. It will be £135 for the 2013/2014 winter.
The Warm Hone Discount applies to two distinct groups:
- The 'core group' are households that receive the guarantee element of Pension Credit; in most cases these households will be identified automatically by the supplier and won't need to apply for it.
- The 'broader group' are customers in vulnerable groups. Eligibility criteria are different for each supplier. See below.
Support under the core group is targeted at older, poorer pensioner households. Around 650,000 consumers should be helped through the core group.
Is it only for pensioners?
No. Energy companies are also helping a broader group of people who struggle to pay energy bills, in line with government guidelines. Gas and electricity suppliers have a degree of discretion over which of their customers make up the broader group, and how many to help, based on their market share.
The participating suppliers have had their own sets of eligibility criteria approved by Ofgem and have a limit on the number of customers who can benefit. Consumers who may be eligible could include those on low income with a disability, long-term illness or those with young children, but the actual criteria used will vary as it depends on which electricity supplier you are with. See the Consumer Focus document for eligibility criteria for different suppliers.
How to apply for the Warm Home Discount
Households in the core group should automatically receive the discount on their energy bill without having to take any action. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is also be contacting all core group recipients to confirm they will receive the rebate. All payments are usually made during the winter months.
Customers in the broader group will have to apply to their energy supplier.
Only the six largest energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) are legally obliged to offer the discount. The document produced by Consumer Focus summarises the qualifying criteria for the broader group scheme for each of the energy supplier for the 2011/2012 winter.
The Warm Home Discount will only be applied to an electricity account, so if you receive gas and electricity from different suppliers you should contact your electricity provider to register.
Check with you energy supplier about its eligibility criteria for the broader group.
Smaller suppliers with less than 250,000 customers don't have to offer the discount to either the core or broader groups. Customers of the smaller suppliers should check with their supplier to see if it offers the Warm Home Discount.
What about social tariffs?
The Warm Home discount replaces the social tariffs which used to be offered by energy suppliers to help their most vulnerable customers. If you qualified for your supplier's social tariff, you should be eligible for the Warm Home Discount.