'Freezing' pensioner 'devastated' to lose £150 Warm Home Discount after switching energy supplier

'Freezing' pensioner 'devastated' to lose £150 Warm Home Discount after switching energy supplier

Mel Stride highlights support for pensioners

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 24/12/2023

- 08:00

Updated: 24/12/2023

- 14:48

The GB News reader gets the low-income top-up payment Pension Credit and PIP due to having a disability

A pensioner who switched energy suppliers to save money earlier this year was devastated to realise she would miss out on a £150 discount on her energy bills.

Lynda McKelvie, 69, left her old energy provider for Fuse Energy in July 2023, to reduce her energy outgoings.

However, by switching to the new UK energy supplier, she became ineligible for the £150 Warm Home Discount this winter.

Ms McKelvie, who lives on her own in Glasgow, Scotland, qualifies for the Warm Home Discount because she gets Pension Credit, a top-up payment for low income pensioners.

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Lynda McKelvie in pictures

Lynda McKelvie was left devastated when she realised she wouldn't get the £150 Warm Home Discount this winter


However, one of the conditions to get the discount is that the person’s energy supplier must be part of the scheme on August 13, 2023.

Ms McKelvie told GB News: “Fuse Energy’s prices are really competitive. It never even crossed my mind to see if they did the Warm Home Discount.”

As a new supplier, Fuse Energy’s customer base was not great enough last year for the provider to be obligated by Ofgem to offer the Warm Home Discount, however, the company has confirmed that in 2024, it will be.

Having received the discount last year, Ms McKelvie only realised she wouldn’t get it this year when it didn’t arrive this winter.

She said: “I was depending on it. I pay it towards my heating bill right away and it gives me a bit of peace of mind that at least that’s something off the bill.

“I was devastated to find out I wouldn’t get it.”

Ms McKelvie added: “I know it’s not a lot of money to some people, but it’s so valuable to me, to give me a little bit of help with the energy costs.”

Ms McKelvie says she wears “loads and loads” of clothes to try to keep warm, and if she does put the heating on, she must make sacrifices elsewhere to pay for it.

She said: “If I have the heating on, something else has to give.

“I’m cold – I’m absolutely freezing. I don’t put the heating on to save money.”

She added: “I’m disabled as well so I’m not able to move about as quickly, to actually gain some heat in my body either.”

Fuse Energy has confirmed to GB News that while they were not obligated to offer the Warm Home Discount this year, they will offer the Warm Home Discount for winter 2024/25.

GB News is delighted to say that, as a gesture of goodwill, Fuse Energy has since credited Ms McKelvie’s Fuse Energy account with £150.

Gas hob in pictures

Fuse Energy told GB News they "deeply empathise" with Ms McKelvie's situation and have credited her account with £150


A Fuse Energy spokesperson said: “While we acknowledge that, based on the above criterion, we were not obligated to provide the discount this year, we recognise the importance of such support for our customers.

“We deeply empathise with Ms McKelvie's situation, and as a gesture of goodwill, we have credited £150 to her Fuse Energy account.

“At Fuse, our vision is to make electricity more affordable for everyone, and we want to uphold this commitment. Providing adequate care and support for our customers is our foremost priority, especially during the colder months.

“This is the reason we offer the cheapest standard variable tariff on the market, and why we have chosen not to increase our rates on January 1, despite the price cap increasing.”

Warm Home Discount eligibility rules differ depending on how a person qualifies – either by the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or “core group two”.

The latter refers to low income households who don’t qualify via Pension Credit, and people in Scotland have to apply for the discount while it’s now automatic for people in England and Wales.

However, eligibility rules for each group state the energy supplier must be part of the scheme.

Conscious others may be in a similar position to her, Ms McKelvie suggested the Government should introduce a new way for people to get the discount if their supplier wasn’t part of the scheme.

She said: “It’s from the Government to me – why would I not get that? There must be another way for people in my position to get their entitlement.”

Making a plea to the Government, she added: “If there are companies out there that don’t do it for people that are guaranteed their benefits, please make another way – the Post Office or something – where you could get the money.

“I don’t know, but some way for people in my position that don’t have a company who give the Warm Home Discount.

“I feel that’s been given from the Government to me, and they’re stopping me getting it.”

It's understood the only way a customer could receive the Warm Home Discount is through the supplier as it is the energy supplier who collects money for the scheme through their customers' bills, before then applying the discount directly to the customers who meet the eligibility criteria.

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: "This winter we are targeting support for the most vulnerable, with over three million households expected to benefit from the £150 Warm Home Discount, up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments for those on means-tested benefits and protecting pensioners with a boost to pension credit worth around £3,900 a year for those on the lowest incomes.

“The vast majority of households are covered through energy suppliers required to participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme and we significantly reduced the threshold for suppliers to take part from 250,000 in 2018 to just 1,000 customer accounts in 2023.

“Those suppliers with fewer than 1,000 customers can still participate by applying through Ofgem. We encourage households to speak to their energy supplier to ensure they are getting the support they need."

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