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Updated: 11 May 2022

50,000 more Scottish households could soon be eligible for Warm Home Discount

A proposed overhaul could see the energy rebate increased and expanded to help thousands more people with their electricity bills
Family by fireplace

The government has proposed an update to the Warm Home Discount in Scotland that could see a further 50,000 households get money off their energy bills.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has started a consultation on whether the rebate in Scotland should be extended to more people and increased from £140 to £150.

This comes as energy bills are expected to climb significantly once more when the next price cap level comes into force in October. With annual payments already reaching £1,971 for a typical home, it’s never been more important to check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount and other initiatives like it. 

Read on to find out if you could be making savings on your energy bills this winter.

Ease the squeeze on your household bills with our latest cost of living advice and tips

What is the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount is a discount of £140 on your electricity bills to help ease the burden of high payments in the colder months. Certain low-income households and pensioners qualify for it.

The scheme is a government-run initiative, regulated by Ofgem, that gives customers a discount off their electricity bills if they struggle to afford them.

The government has started a consultation on whether the discount should be expanded to 50,000 more people in Scotland. Doing so would mean more than 280,000 Scottish households would be eligible for it.

Find out more about it and other available home grants in our guide to the government energy grants available for your home.

 Changes to the Warm Home Discount

The proposed shake-up of the Warm Home Discount in Scotland would mean around 280,000 Scottish households in total would be eligible to claim it. The rebate would also be extended until 2026 in Scotland, as the cost of living crisis continues.

This consultation follows Chancellor Rishi Sunak extending eligibility to the Warm Home Discount by almost a third more people in the UK – allowing three million households to benefit from it –and plans to increase it by £10.

BEIS has proposed that the initiative should be extended to include smaller energy suppliers in Scotland too, and that it should rise to £150, putting it on a par with how it will work in England and Wales from October 2022.

The government announced changes would be coming to the Warm Home Discount last month such as allowing 750,000 households, including people receiving housing benefit, to receive it. 

The consultation is open now and will close on 22 May 2022.

 Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount now?

Two groups of people are currently eligible:

  • The ‘Core' group: made up of customers who receive the Guarantee Credit element of pension credit.
  • The 'Broader' group: people on low income or who qualify for certain means-tested benefits may qualify for the Broader group. Each energy supplier has its own eligibility criteria for this, which are approved by the regulator Ofgem.

You could also be due to receive a reduction in your electricity bills if you’re on a low income, have a disability, have a long-term illness or are a parent with young children.

If you fall into the Core group, you should automatically receive the Warm Home Discount on your bill without having to take any action. Should you be part of the the Broader group, you will have to apply to for the initiative through your energy provider. 

If you don’t qualify for the Warm Home Discount, there are other schemes available that could help you make your energy payments and reduce fuel poverty. These include the Energy Company Obligation, Cold Weather Payment and Winter Fuel Payment.

The Cold Weather Payment is made to households in receipt of benefits to pay for the extra cost of energy during very cold weather. To qualify, the average temperature where you live must fall or be forecast to fall to 0°C or below for seven consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March each year.

The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free payment from the government which is available to help older people during the winter months. The amount you get depends on your circumstances, including how many people live in your household, whether you live in a later life care facility and if you receive any benefits. 

The Cold Weather and Winter Fuel payments are paid automatically to those who qualify to receive them.