The price of electricity and gas, as you will have heard on the news, is rising rapidly. Domestic consumers in Great Britain are protected to some extent by a price cap – but that rose by 12 per cent on 1 October, and the Government was recently warned by the energy industry that it may rise by another 34 per cent in April. Many individuals who are coming off fixed-price deals are facing massive rises in their bills, as charges increase to the maximum the cap allows.
But over two million customers in England, Scotland, and Wales could get help with their electricity costs through what is called the Warm Home Discount Scheme. It’s worth £140 off one winter electricity bill by your energy supplier.
About a million low-income pensioners should get the discount automatically. They are people who were getting the “guarantee” part of pension credit on the qualifying date of 4 July 2021. (To get this benefit, their income will normally be no more than £177.10, but people with disabilities and carers can get it with higher incomes.)
The Department for Work and Pensions should know who qualifies, and your electricity company should apply the discount automatically, even if you’ve switched to them because your previous supplier (which was giving you the discount) went bust. Over a million others could also get the discount but they must apply for it.
The money for this group is limited, so apply soon in case it runs out. The rules about who qualifies are complex and vary between suppliers. They include pensioners on pension credit who aren’t paid automatically, and people who get a means-tested benefit where the household includes young children or people with disabilities.
Ask your supplier if it’s part of the scheme (some of the smaller ones aren’t, so you can’t get the discount from them) and whether you qualify. It’s easiest to do this and claim online. Or call the firm on the number on your latest bill. The discount will be taken off one electricity bill before 31 March 2022.
For more information, and how to apply, search gov.uk for “warm home discount”.
Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4. To ask Paul a question please email email@example.com Paul cannot answer your questions personally but with endeavour to response through his column.