In England 11.1% of all households – a total of 2.55 million – live in official fuel poverty. This means they struggle to financially afford to heat their homes to adequate standards. And cold rooms aren’t just uncomfortable; they can be deadly. The fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) found 17,000 extra deaths attributable to cold homes during the harsh winter of 2018.
The warm home discount is a government scheme to tackle fuel poverty. It gives eligible households, including pensioners and other vulnerable people, an annual rebate on their energy bills, to help them afford to safely and comfortably heat their homes.
The warm home discount scheme, launched in 2011, is a government programme to help vulnerable households with their energy bills over the winter. It gives two million eligible households, including those with pensioners or living in poverty, a one-off, annual rebate on their energy bills each winter.
The rebate is delivered as a discount applied to customers’ electricity bills sometime between September and March.
The discount, designed to offset heating costs, is taken off electricity bills although 85% of Britons heat their homes with gas, because not every home will have a gas supply. Nearly all British homes are, however, connected to the electricity grid. And in fact, homes that rely on electricity for heat and aren’t connected to the gas grid, are disproportionately likely to be in fuel poverty.
The discount was benchmarked at £140 for the winter of 2018-2019.
There are two groups eligible for the discount:
The WHD scheme runs in England, Scotland, and Wales and applies to customers on both credit and pre-payment tariffs. However, your electricity supplier must be a participant in the scheme (see below).
The application and delivery process for the Warm Home Discount scheme depends on whether you qualify as part of the core group or the broader group.
Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1
Not all energy suppliers will offer the Warm Home Discount. Currently only electricity suppliers which serve 250,000 domestic customers are legally required to give the discounts. Some small suppliers will also voluntarily participate.
By 2020, all suppliers with more than 150,000 domestic accounts will need to offer the discounts. This will make 30,000 more households eligible.
Your electricity supplier needs to participate in the scheme for you to receive the rebate. If it doesn’t and you would otherwise be eligible for the scheme, it may make sense for you to compare energy and switch to a supplier which does. You’ll likely also find discounts through simply shopping around.
In the winter of 2018-19, these suppliers participated in the WHD scheme: