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Home & garden.

7 October 2021

Warm Home Discount

If you're struggling to pay your energy bills, the Warm Home Discount might be able to help. Find out if you qualify.
SI
Sarah Ingrams
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The Warm Home Discount is an annual £140 discount on your electricity bills. It's designed for those who find it difficult to meet their winter energy costs.

Who gets the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount is available for two groups of people:

  • The core group If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you're in this group. In most cases, your energy supplier will identify you automatically and write to you telling you how to get the discount.
  • The broader group If you are on a low income or get certain means-tested benefits, you might qualify in this group. Each supplier has its own eligibility criteria, which are approved by the regulator Ofgem, so you should check with your supplier to see whether you qualify.

Is the Warm Home Discount only for pensioners?

No. Energy companies pay the Warm Home Discount to a broader group of people who have difficulty paying energy bills.

Gas and electricity suppliers have some discretion over which of their customers make up the broader group and how many to help, based on their market share.

The criteria vary between suppliers but you might be eligible if you:

  • are on a low income and have a disability
  • have a long-term illness
  • are a parent with young children
  • get certain means-tested benefits. 

See the government's Warm Home Discount guidance for eligibility criteria for different suppliers.

You can still get the Warm Home Discount if you have a pay-as-you-go meter. 

If you're considering switching energy supplier, check that your new supplier will pay your Warm Home Discount. Use the list below or ask the supplier. 

Use our free, independent comparison site, Which? Switch, to check whether you're on the cheapest energy deal for you.

How do I get the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount is paid as a credit into your electricity account. Essentially it's a one-off discount on your bill. The money is not paid to you directly.

If you have a prepayment meter, your energy company will confirm how you'll get the discount. It might be a voucher you can use to top-up your meter, for example.

Core group

If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you're in the core group. Your energy supplier should identify you automatically and write to you to tell you how to get the discount.

You should get the letter between October and December 2021. If you haven't had it by 31 December, contact the Warm Home Discount Helpline on 0800 731 0214 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm). 

Broader group

If you're in the broader group, you will need to apply to your electricity supplier. It will check if you are eligible. Even if you got the discount last year, it's still worth checking that you will get it again this year.

Energy companies can limit the number of customers who can benefit, so it's worth applying as soon as you can.

You might be able to get the discount paid off your gas bill instead if you buy both gas and electricity from the same provider. Ask your supplier if they can do this.

When will I get my Warm Home Discount?

You should get the discount off your electricity bill by 31 March 2022.

If you are in the broader group, you will need to stay with your electricity supplier until you have received the discount.

Which energy companies pay the Warm Home Discount?

Large energy companies (with more than 150,000 domestic customers) must pay the Warm Home Discount. Many smaller energy suppliers also offer it.

For 2020/21, these companies were part of the scheme. It's likely to be similar for 2021/22.

  • Affect Energy
  • Boost
  • Bristol Energy (core group only)
  • British Gas
  • British Gas Evolve
  • Bulb 
  • Co-op Energy
  • E
  • Ecotricity (core group only)
  • EDF Energy
  • Eon
  • GEUK (core group only)
  • iSupply Energy 
  • London Power
  • Lumo
  • M&S Energy
  • Octopus Energy
  • OVO
  • Pure Planet
  • Qwest Energy
  • Roar Power
  • Sainsbury’s Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy
  • So Energy
  • Spark
  • SSE
  • Utilita
  • Utility Warehouse.

Suppliers with more than 250,000 domestic customers must offer the discount to both the core and broader groups.

You can find out more about these energy suppliers, including what their customers really think of them, by reading our advice on the Which? energy survey results

If your supplier isn't listed, ask it whether it offers the Warm Home Discount before you switch.

If I switch energy supplier, what happens to my Warm Home Discount?

If you switch away from a supplier that offers the Warm Home Discount to a supplier that doesn't, you'll lose your Warm Home Discount (even if you're in the core group). 

But sometimes a smaller supplier could be cheaper for you overall, even taking into account that you'd lose your Warm Home Discount. So it's worth checking whether you will be better off on a cheaper tariff.

If you qualify for the Warm Home Discount in the broader group with your current supplier and want to switch, check first that you would still qualify in your new supplier's broader group.

If my energy supplier closes, what happens to my Warm Home Discount?

Father on the phone to energy supplier with a child on his knee

If your energy supplier closes, your account will automatically be transferred to a new supplier chosen by Ofgem.

If you're in the core group, you should continue to get the discount from the new supplier. 

It's unlikely that Ofgem will choose a replacement supplier that is too small to have to pay the Warm Home Discount. It says it takes into account the supplier's ability to make Warm Home Discount payments when it's choosing a replacement company.

You should get the discount automatically. The Department for Work and Pensions works with energy suppliers to identify customers who get Pension Credit and therefore qualify.

If you're in the broader group you will need to reapply to the new electricity supplier.

Energy companies have different criteria for their broader groups and some smaller firms don't make payments to those in the broader group at all. 

Ask your new supplier if you will qualify. Do this as soon as possible when you find out which company you're being moved to, because the number of discounts paid by each supplier to their broader group customers may be limited.

More information on the Warm Home Discount is available from the government's website at Gov.uk