Getting £140 discount off your electricity bill is not widely advertised, so you may not have heard of it. I find that many householders who are eligible for this discount have no idea it exists. Here at Changeworks we try to spread the word about it as much as we can.
The Warm Home Discount is a UK Government scheme regulated by Ofgem, where some energy providers offer a £140 rebate on your electricity bill. It targets householders on a low income, including those on the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. If you qualify, this will usually be paid into your electricity account by 31 March each year that you apply.
From my experience, what many people forget, is that even if you do qualify and you had the discount last year, you still need to reapply every year.
“So how do I know if I qualify?”, I hear you ask.
Well, it’s a little bit complicated. So we’ve done our best to simplify the details for you in our Warm Home Discount information sheet*. This will help you find out if your supplier currently offers the discount, and if it is still open for applications. You can check your situation against the qualifying criteria to see if you could be eligible. While you are at it, check the qualifying criteria of the other suppliers shown as well – if you don’t qualify with one, you may qualify with another.
Some things to be aware of
The Discount schemes are only open for applications for a short period of time each year. Most of the schemes are open as I write, so best to act quickly. The fastest way to find out if you qualify is to contact your supplier directly and ask them. They may be able to help you apply or direct you to an online form to fill in.
Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Advisors have a lot of experience helping people access the discount. We offer friendly, impartial energy advice to help householders stay affordably warm and dry in their home. Often, if our clients miss the deadline with their current supplier, they will switch to another supplier whose scheme is still open.
Here are some key questions to ask any new supplier before you switch, first checking for details in our information sheet:
- Does the new supplier offer the scheme?
- Is the window still open for new applications with the new supplier?
- Do you qualify with the new supplier?
- Does the new supplier require that you have been their customer for a set period of time, or from a certain date, before you can access the discount scheme?
Note: While some supplier tariffs may be much cheaper than others, they may not offer the discount. Likewise, some who offer the discount have higher tariffs. Check that you will not be worse off on higher tariffs, even though you may get the discount from the new supplier.
I recommend that you write down the name of the person you are speaking to when you call a supplier and take a note of what they offer and say to you. This is always a good idea when dealing with energy suppliers.
If you need a hand or want to find out more about how to save on your energy bills, you can also get in touch with Home Energy Scotland on freephone 0808 808 2282.
*Some schemes may have already closed. Please check supplier websites for latest information.
Kirsten Cook is Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Team Manager