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What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

The Warm Home Discount (WHD) is scheme introduced by the government that gives pensioners and other vulnerable people a one-off annual rebate to help with their domestic energy costs. If you're eligible, you won't receive the money directly. Rather you'll see it as a discount on your electricity bill, delivered between September and March.

If you receive gas and electricity from the same supplier, you can arrange to have your supplier apply the discount for your gas bill instead.

The Scheme Explained

The scheme was introduced in April 2011 and has been extended to run through 2021. It's regulated by Ofgem and financially helps more than 2 million vulnerable people every year during the cold winter months, when heating costs inflate their energy bills.

For the winter of 2018- 2019, the amount of the rebate is £140. It will be credited to eligible customers' bill before 28 February 2019.

Who is Eligible?
There are two groups eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme

• the 'core group': people who receive the Guaranteed Credit part of Pension Credit, even if they get Savings Credit as well. You receive the Guaranteed Credit if you or your partner have reached the Pension credit qualifying age, which is currently 65 but is going up to 66 and your monthly income is below £163 (for single people) and £248.80 (for couples). Your energy supplier needs to be part of the scheme and you or your partner's name needs to be on the energy bill. You have to have met these criteria on 8 July 2018 to qualify for the winter of 2018-2019

• the 'broader group': people who are on low income and receive certain means-tested benefits. Suppliers decide who is eligible and have a limited number of discounts to issue. To receive the discount, you'll have to stay with your supplier until it is issued.

How to Apply
The application process varies depending on whether you're eligible as part of the core group or the broader group.

core group: Your supplier will use information from the Department for Work and Pensions to identify their customers who are in the core group and will contact them by post by 7 December 2018 notifying them that they qualify. The discount will generally be applied automatically but you may also be instructed to call a helpline to confirm you details. If so, you will need to do this before 28 February 2018. If you do not receive a letter and believe you are eligible for the core group you should contact the Warm Homes Discount Team:

• phone: 0800 731 0214, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
• post: Warm Home Discount Team

Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1
Peel Park
Brunel Way
Blackpool
FY4 5ES

broader group: Your supplier decides who is eligible and how they apply. Check with your supplier about the application process as soon as possible as the number of discounts they can issue is limited.

Suppliers
Not every energy supplier offers the Warm Home Discount. Currently only suppliers which service 250,000 customers are required to participate in the scheme. However, the government announced in June 2018 that the threshold would be lowered in a "stepped approach" in the coming years. By 2020, any supplier with more than 150,000 customers will have to offer the discount, a move which will make 30,000 more pensioners and people on low incomes eligible.

For 2018-2019, the following suppliers offer the discount
• Angelic
• Atlantic
• Boost (OVO)
• Bristol Energy - core group only
• British Gas
• Bulb
• Citizen Energy (Robin Hood)
• Co-operative Energy
• Ebico
• Economy Energy
• EDF Energy
• E.ON
• First Utility
• Flow
• GB Energy (Co-operative Energy)
• Green Star Energy
• Great North Energy (Robin Hood)
• Liverpool Energy Community Company (Robin Hood)
• Lumo (OVO)
• Manweb (ScottishPower)
• npower
• Our Power (core group only)
• OVO Energy
• Powershop (npower)
• RAM Energy (Robin Hood)
• Robin Hood Energy - core group only
• Sainsbury's Energy (British Gas)
• Scottish Hydro (SSE)
• ScottishPower
• Southern Electric (SSE)
• Spark Energy
• SSE
• SWALEC (SSE)
• Utilita
• Utility Warehouse
• White Rose Energy (Robin Hood)
• Your Energy Sussex (Robin Hood)

Warm Home Discount and Energy Caps
In February 2018, Ofgem extended the safeguard tariff, which caps the amount customers pay for energy, to cover people who receive the Warm Homes Discount. Currently the safeguard tariff stands at £1,136 a year for dual fuel customers. Ofgem estimated that the extension of the safeguard tariff, which previously covered just customers on pre-payment tariffs, to those receiving WHD helps an additional 1 million customers manage their gas and electricity bills.

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