If you need help paying for electricity bills this winter, it’s worth seeing if you qualify for the Warm Home Discount of £150.
The government’s Warm Home Discount scheme opened for winter 2023 on 16 October, and it’s best to apply sooner rather than later if you live in Scotland. Here we’ll look at what exactly it is, who qualifies and whether you’ll get it automatically, or need to apply for it.
If you’re thinking of switching energy, you can compare tariffs to find the best gas and electricity deal for you. Most firm’s deals are for existing customers right now, so it shouldn’t affect the payment of your Warm Home Discount.
Looking for other ways to save? Check out our energy saving tips.
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What is the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount is a government scheme that helps people with the payment of their electricity bills. It’s an annual one-off discount of £150 provided between October and March. The payment is made directly to your electricity supplier, rather than you personally.
Energy suppliers with more than 1,000 domestic customers are required to participate in the scheme – so in other words, almost every supplier currently on the market should offer it.
The scheme works slightly differently for those in England and Wales than it does for those in Scotland.
If you live in Northern Ireland, the equivalent scheme is the Affordable Warmth Scheme.
In England or Wales? If you’re eligible, you should get the payment automatically
In the past, many in England and Wales had to apply for the Warm Home Discount. But the scheme changed in 2022 and now if you’re eligible, you should get it automatically (for Scotland, see below).
Do I qualify for the scheme?
You qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme if:
- You get the ‘guarantee credit’ element of Pension Credit. Your name (or your partner’s name) must be on your bill, and you must have been receiving this on the qualifying date of 13 August. Having this element of the pension credit puts you in what’s known as ‘core group 1’.
- You’re on certain means-tested benefits in England or Wales AND you have ‘high energy costs’. We explain what is meant by ‘high energy costs’ below.
Which means-tested benefits do I need to be on?
To qualify for the Warm Home Discount, you should be in receipt of at least one of the following:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- The Savings Credit part of Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
Plus you might qualify if your household income falls below a certain amount (it depends on your circumstances – there’s no set limit), and you claim either:
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
What are ‘high energy costs’?
Your energy supplier and Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will decide whether your property qualifies as having high energy costs, based on:
- Its size
- Its age
- The type of property it is
- How energy efficient it is
The VOA may also refer to your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to see if your bills are likely to be impacted by the property being energy inefficient.
How and when will I get the Warm Home Discount?
If you qualify, you’ll be sent a letter – by early January 2024 – confirming you’ll receive the £150.
Once your application has been processed, your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by the end of March.
If you have a traditional prepay meter, you’ll likely be sent a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
If you don’t get a letter, but you think you should be eligible, be sure to contact the Warm Home Discount team by February 29. Likewise, if you’ve switched energy supplier, it may be worth getting in touch to make sure you still receive the discount.
Mail: 110552 Warm Home Discount Scheme
PO Box 26965
Warm Home Discount helpline: 0800 107 8002
In Scotland? Some will need to apply for the discount
Eligibility for the scheme differs in Scotland, and it won’t be applied automatically for everyone.
Do I qualify for the scheme?
You will qualify for the Warm Home Discount in Scotland if:
- You get the ‘guarantee credit’ element of Pension Credit. This puts you in the ‘core group’ and you won’t have to apply – you should receive the payment automatically.
Your name (or your partner’s name) must be on your energy bill, and you must have been receiving this on the qualifying date of 13 August 2023.
- If you’re on a low income and receive certain benefits, you may qualify. This is known as the ‘broader group’ and you must apply for the Warm Home Discount – it won’t be applied automatically.
Eligibility criteria varies firm by firm, so it’s a good idea to contact your electricity supplier to find out if you qualify. They’ll tell you which benefits mean you’re eligible. It’s important to do this sooner rather than later, because pots tend to be limited, so applying early will increase your chances.
How do I apply?
Contact your electricity firm to check if you’re eligible and to apply. They’ll decide who gets the discount in Scotland.
At the time of writing, most firms are open for applications. Make sure you apply quickly though, as only limited applicants will be accepted.
If you qualify, your electricity supplier will discount your bill by 31 March 2024
What other help is available for energy bills?
If you’re struggling with your energy bills, it’s vitally important not to suffer in silence. Find out what help you can get with your energy bills. There may be hardship funds available for those in energy debt, for instance.
If you’re of stage pension age, you may well qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment, so it’s worth checking if you’re eligible. Also, it’s a good idea to look into Cold Weather Payments to find out if you’ll receive a payment for seven consecutive days where the average temperature is freezing or below.
More ways to save energy and money
For plenty of pointers on how to save energy around the home, check out our energy saving tips.
Plus here are some more handy energy guides:
- Our appliance cost calculator shows how household items compare.
- Dishwasher vs hand washing – which is cheaper?
- Heated airer or dehumidifier – what’s the best way to dry clothes indoors?
- Heated airer vs tumble dryer: which is more cost-effective?
- How much does it cost to boil a kettle?
- How much does it cost to use a fan?
- Is it better to heat a room with underfloor heating or a radiator?
- Is it cheaper to switch the heating on low all day or use timed bursts?
- Oven vs microwave – which works out cheaper?