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The Warm Home Discount can help towards winter energy bills

The Warm Home Discount is a £140 payment to help those struggling to pay their energy bills. Read on to find out whether you're eligible to receive the Warm Home Discount, and what you need to do to apply.

Who gets the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount is a compulsory scheme for the large energy companies and is an annual credit they place in the account of those who are eligible.

During winter 2015/2016, the payment was £140. While this is a welcome saving, also make sure you are on the cheapest energy tariff for you. 

If you're on a standard tariff with one of the Big Six energy companies, you could save hundreds of pounds by switching. Check with our independent comparison site, Which? Switch, to find the cheapest energy deal for you.

The Warm Home 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. Each supplier has its own eligibility criteria, which are approved by the regulator Ofgem.

Is the Warm Home Discount only for pensioners?

No. Energy companies pay the Warm Home Discount to a broader group of people who struggle to pay energy bills. 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, with young children or in receipt of certain means-tested benefits. 

The actual criteria used will vary as they depend on which electricity supplier you are with. See the government's guidance page for eligibility criteria for different suppliers.

Who offers the Warm Home Discount?

Only suppliers with more than 250,000 customers are legally obliged to offer the discount. These are: 

Atlantic, British Gas, Co-operative Energy, EDF Energy, Eon, Ebico, First Utility, M&S Energy, Npower, OVO Energy, Sainsbury's Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, Scottish Power, Southern Electric, SSE, Swalec, Utilita and Utility Warehouse.

Customers of smaller companies should check with their supplier to see if they offer the Warm Home Discount.

How to apply for the Warm Home Discount

Utility Company Bill

Check with your energy supplier if you can get the Warm Home Discount

Households in the core group should automatically receive the discount on their energy bill without having to take any action. You should get a letter confirming this, or telling you how to apply, if necessary. All payments are usually made during the winter months.

Customers in the broader group will have to apply to their energy supplier - check with your energy supplier to find out its eligibility criteria. People with pay-as-you-go meters can also qualify for the discount.

The Warm Home Discount (WHD) 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.

What if I switch supplier?

  • If you switch away from a larger supplier that offers the WHD to a smaller supplier that doesn't, you will lose your WHD. That said, some of the smaller suppliers could be cheaper for you, even when taking into account the value of the WHD. So it is worth checking whether you will be better off. An independent comparison site such as Which? Switch could show you how much you could save by switching away from your current supplier and tariff.
  • If you qualify for the WHD under the broader group with your current supplier and want to switch to another supplier, check first that you would still qualify under the criteria of your new supplier's broader group. Again, take into consideration whether you could be better off by switching even if you were to lose the WHD.

What about social tariffs?

The Warm Home Discount replaces the social tariffs that 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.

Where can I find out more?

Updated information on the Warm Home Discount is available from GOV.UK

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