The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a four-year programme run by the government and the energy companies to provide rebates on electricity bills for vulnerable customers, particularly the elderly and certain other households with low incomes. It replaces the social tariffs and other arrangements previously offered. Eligible customers receive a rebate of £140. It does not affect your right to a cold weather payment or winter fuel payment.
'Act now to claim your discount for winter 2017-18'
Warmer Homes Stafford is urging householders in Stafford Borough to act quickly to see if they might be eligible for a £140 reduction to their electricity bill for winter 2017-18. Some energy suppliers are closing applications soon, as early as mid-September in some cases, and householders should seek advice and apply now if they think they may be eligible. Funding is allocated on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis for some households, so those who meet the criteria must act quickly to confirm their receipt of the £140 discount.
NOTE: Warmer Homes Stafford can only deal with households in Stafford Borough. If you live outside that area but are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, phone the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 (national rate calls). If you live in Scotland phone Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282.
Who is eligible?
The discount is available to those on a low income, and in receipt of certain means-tested benefits. As long as your energy supplier on 9 July 2017 was part of the scheme, you may be eligible if you or a member of your household receives employment related benefits, is over 65, or has a disability; if you live with a child under 18; or if you spend a significant portion of your income on energy bills.
The criteria vary between energy suppliers, so if you think you may be entitled to the discount, contact Warmer Homes Stafford to check your eligibility.
The discount is also available to those receiving the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit, in which case an application is unnecessary as this ‘core group’ will be contacted in Autumn 2017 by the government.
In recent months, the UK’s ‘Big 6’ energy providers have announced electricity price increases that could cost their customers an additional £100 in household energy bills each year. To those who are eligible, the £140 Warm Home Discount can help offset this increase.
Oliver Rothwell, Project manager for Warmer Homes Stafford said: “Those households who have the least to spend on energy bills are likely to feel these price increases the hardest, including households on the lowest incomes or where particular health conditions call for extra heat at home. We are delighted that the Warm Home Discount is returning and is able to benefit Stafford’s most vulnerable households”.
“It is vital that applications are made as soon as possible to ensure that Stafford residents don’t miss out” said Oliver.
If you think you may be eligible, and live in Stafford Borough, please contact Warmer Homes Stafford for free on 0800 677 1785.
If an eligible applicant is successful, £140 will automatically be deducted by the provider from their winter 2017-18 energy bill by the end of March 2018. The Warm Home Discount is separate from, and will not affect, any Cold Weather Payments or Winter Fuel Payments.
More about the scheme
The scheme divides households into two groups:
- a so-called 'core group', all of whom will automatically receive the rebate; and
- a 'broader group', for whom the discount is applied according to criteria set by the customer's electricity supplier.
This comprises older, poorer pensioners who are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well).
The recipient or their partner must be the name on the electricity bill from a participating energy supplier. The Department of Work and Pensions tells the energy companies which of their customers may be eligible, and these should automatically receive the discount off their winter electricity bill, usually between October and March. You will receive a letter from your supplier in autumn 2017, and by 30 November at the latest. You should not need to do anything!
The energy companies have the discretion to offer the discount to certain other of their customers, and each company has its own set of conditons defining their qualifying customers. For example, British Gas also offers the discount to customers who are on income support or receiving Jobseeker's Allowance, or where household income is below £16,190 and certain other conditions apply (see the British Gas website for full details).
If you feel you may qualify, apply to your electricity supplier. The number of successful applicants in the broader group is capped and may be limited. A list of the participating energy companies and their contact details is available on the GOV.UK website.