Please note: Many suppliers have closed their Warm Home Discount schemes for 2015-2016. However, see the section on the Warm Home Discount 2016-2017 for information on next year's scheme.
Your electricity supplier may have signed up to the Warm Homes Discount Scheme which offers a one-off discount of £140 (for the Winter period 2015-2016) from your electricity bill.
Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount?
In 2015-2016, you can qualify for a warm home discount if on 12 July 2015:
your supplier was part of the scheme, and
you or your partner's name was on the bill, and
you fit into either the:
Core group: If you are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you also get the Savings Credit) you should be automatically considered for the Warm Home Discount. The Government should write to you in Autumn 2015.
Broader group: The criteria for inclusion depends on the supplier but you may be eligible if you are in receipt of certain benefits; your annual income is below a certain amount and you are spending more than 10% of it on fuel; or you have a disability or illness. You will have to claim if you fit into the broader group, so contact your supplier for more information.
How is the Warm Home Discount paid?
If you qualify, the Warm Home Discount will appear as a credit on your electricity bill sometime between October 2015 and March 2016. If you use a pre-pay or 'pay as you go' electricity meter, it may be paid to you through a top-up voucher but check with your supplier.
Core group: If you are in the core group, you can change suppliers whenever you wish to after the qualifying date without risk to your discount. This is because it is the responsibility of the electricity supplier on the qualifying date to ensure that these persons are credited with the relevant funds, regardless of whether or not they remain a customer of that company at the time of providing the discount.
Broader group: If you have applied for a Warm Home Discount and then changed your supplier before this has been credited to your account, you will not be eligible to receive this rebate from the original supplier. You will have to make a new application to your new supplier.
Although OFGEM are keen to standardise the eligibility criteria across the various suppliers that are participating in the Warm Home Discount scheme, it is likely that there will still be small variations between suppliers this year. If you switch supplier, you will need to check with the new company that they are a participant in the scheme and what the eligibility criteria is. There is no guarantee that because you have been accepted for your old supplier's scheme that you will be accepted for you new scheme.
Changing tariff or payment method
This will not affect a Warm Home Discount application.
The Warm Home Discount and effect on other benefits that help with energy costs
Getting the Warm Home Discount does not affect your eligibility for Cold Weather Payments or Winter Fuel Payments.
Our understanding is that the Warm Home Discount scheme will be running again for 2016-2017 even though most suppliers have not yet published the details of their scheme because of delays caused by a Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) review.
Rebate payments will remain at £140 for eligible applicants across all participating suppliers and will be on a first come, first served basis for broader group applicants. Smaller companies may be oversubscribed very quickly after their schemes open if their budget is small and they have a high number of customers who qualify.
More information on the Warm Home Discount
See the Gov.UK website information on the Warm Home Discount. This includes a list of suppliers that have signed up to the initiative with links to their websites.