Wednesday, 21 October 2015



Two million people can get £140 off one electricity bill this winter. It's called the Warm Home Discount. Some will be paid automatically. Others have to claim or they will not get it. And the sooner they claim the better. Some who should be eligible are excluded. And some who switch to a smaller supplier will lose the right to claim it.

Low income pensioners
The biggest group – called the ‘core group’ – are more than one and a half million older people who get pension credit. They must get the guarantee part of pension credit - which means their income is no more than £151.20 a week (single) or £230.85 for a couple. Pension credit guarantee credit will make their income up to that amount. They must have received it on 12 July 2015. which means they must have been born on 5 December 1952 or earlier. They qualify even if they also get the savings credit part of pension credit. But not if the ONLY get the savings credit. 

Most people in the core group should not have to claim. Suppliers will use information from the Department for Work and Pensions to pay them automatically. However, some who qualify may not be identified. If you have heard nothing by Christmas and you get pension credit guarantee credit contact your energy supplier. Some of the smaller suppliers do not pay the discount and if your energy is supplied by one of them you will not get it. Supplier details below.

In past years some pensioners who did not qualify automatically could qualify under the broader group described below. That is less likely to happen in 2015/16.

Younger people
The broader group who qualify are low income households where there is a young child or someone with a disability. People in this group have to make a claim.

The energy suppliers now all have the same rules for what is a low income, what age of child counts, and what counts as a disability. In the past they set their own rules. This year some who qualified last time may not qualify this year. 

The rules are complex. But if your income is low and there are young or disabled children or disabled adults in the household you may be entitled to the discount.

If you think you may qualify contact your supplier using the phone number on your bill and say you are asking about the Warm Home Discount. Or look online on your supplier's website and search for Warm Home Discount. This list of suppliers has links to their websites. Almost all take you direct to the Warm Home Discount page. With one or two you may have to do a search.

Claims should be made as soon as possible. Suppliers have a fixed amount of money for this group and when that runs out the supplier will close its scheme for the broader group. Some may close by the end of December.

People in the broader group should not switch supplier until the discount is made. They could lose it if they do. 

The discount is normally taken off your winter electricity bill which could mean waiting until March 2016. People in the core group who have moved supplier since 12 July 2015 will be sent a cheque by their old supplier. Broader group customers who move supplier before the discount is made will probably lose it. People on prepayment meters will have the credit added to their key. Some will be sent a voucher to take to the Post Office to credit the key. Other suppliers will update the key automatically. All discounts should be made by the end of March 2016. 

The bigger electricity suppliers are legally obliged to offer the Warm Home Discount and some others do so. Twenty brands offer it.

Atlantic Energy (SSE)
British Gas
Co-operative Energy
EDF Energy
Ebico (Equipower and Equigas operated by SSE)
First Utility
Manweb (Scottish Power)
M&S Energy (operated by SSE)
OVO Energy
Sainsbury's Energy (British Gas)
Scottish Gas (British Gas)
Scottish Hydro (SSE)
Scottish Power (SSE)
Southern Electric (SSE)
Swalec (SSE)
Utility Warehouse

Twenty smaller suppliers do not give the Warm Home Discount. Some of these are in the top ten for cheap tariffs. But switching to them will mean you will not get the warm home discount in future years and will not be able to claim it this year. 

Better Energy
Extra Energy
Fairerpower Energy
Flow Energy
GB Energy
GoEffortless Energy
Good Energy
Green Energy UK
Green Star Energy
iSupply Energy
LoCO2 Energy
Peterborough Energy
Robin Hood Energy
Southend Energy
Spark Energy
Woodland Trust Energy
Zog Energy

The Warm Home Discount applies in England, Wales, and Scotland. It does not apply in Northern Ireland.

The Warm Home Discount scheme does not apply to people in park homes (static mobile homes) though for the first time this year suppliers do have the discretion to extend it to them or to offer other help.

More information
The official Government guide to the Warm Home Discount.

The Home Heat Helpline 0800 33 66 99 can give advice about the Warm Home Discount and other schemes to help with heating bills. You could also contact the Energy Saving Trust or the Centre forSustainable Energy  They can give advice about local help with insulation as well as national schemes.

30 October 2015 
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