Millions of people to get £150 to help with energy bills from today – but you might need to apply

Person looks at energy bill while on the phone

The Warm Home Discount Scheme offers a £150 one-off discount for qualifying people on a low income

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Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon


Published: 16/10/2023

- 12:19

Updated: 16/10/2023

- 12:22

The Warm Home Discount Scheme rules have changed meaning eligible people in England and Wales are automatically paid - but some in Scotland still need to apply

More than three million households will be told from today if they qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

This provides a one-off £150 discount on energy bills to those eligible in England, Scotland and Wales each winter.


It’s now normally paid automatically to those eligible, but people who qualify due to being on a low income (rather than via the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit) in Scotland need to contact their energy supplier to apply.

People who may be eligible will get a letter by early January next year.

Person uses thermostat to keep warm

The £150 Warm Home Discount is intended to help eligible people with the extra costs of keeping warm in the winter

PA

Those who don’t get one but think they qualify should contact the government about the Warm Home Discount Scheme before February 29, 2024.

To get the Warm Home Discount, customers must have an account with one of the 17 participating electricity suppliers and either claim the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit or, if they have high energy costs, get a different qualifying benefit such as the Savings Credit portion of Pension Credit, Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.

The full list of eligibility criteria for people on a low income can be found on the Gov.uk website, as can the full list of energy suppliers taking part in the scheme.

The discount is applied to qualifying people’s electricity bill between early October 2023 and March 31, 2024, but it may be a person can get the discount on their gas bill instead, if they are eligible and the supplier provides both their gas and electricity.

Do you have a money question you'd like a financial expert to answer or an energy bills story you'd like to share? Get in touch by emailing money@gbnews.uk.

The government has launched a new online tool which is intended to show if a person is eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The service also explains what to do if a person did not get a letter about the Warm Home Discount but thinks they may be eligible.

Household energy debt has hit a five-year high of £216 ahead of the winter, with the number of homes already owing money to their provider up 11 per cent compared to last year, new research has found.

More than half of households (53 per cent) are worried about how they will pay their energy bills this winter, according to a poll for comparison site Uswitch.

The survey suggests more than nine million households don't have any energy credit going into winter when they should ideally have built up a balance to cover the higher costs of heating during the colder season.

Gas hob in pictures

More than nine million households don't have a buffer for energy bills this winter, uSwitch has warned

PA

Richard Neudegg, director of regulation at Uswitch, said building up around two months of energy credit ahead of winter was "important". He warned: “It's worrying that more than nine million households have no buffer against the coldest months.

“Average household energy debt for autumn is at the highest level we’ve seen in more than five years. And with the price cap changing every three months, households are facing even more uncertainty this year as prices are expected to rise again in January.

“If your energy account is going into debt or you are behind on your bill payments, speak to your provider as soon as possible.

"They should be able to help you find a solution, such as working out a more affordable payment plan. You may also find you are eligible for additional support such as hardship funds and other energy help schemes.”

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