MILLIONS of cash-strapped households are getting extra help this winter to pay their energy bills.
Struggling families are eligible for the Warm House rebate to help with the cost of living.
The scheme allows eligible households to benefit from a £150 reduction on their electricity bill each winter – but you will have to wait until the colder months to withdraw the money.
Households in England and Wales do not need to apply to get the money and they will automatically qualify if they receive certain benefits.
In Scotland, some customers will need to ask for cash.
Energy suppliers will automatically deliver the payment, worth £150 this year, as long as you receive certain benefits by Sunday August 21.
The list of benefits includes:
If you do not claim any of the above benefits on August 21, you will not be eligible for payment.
But thousands of retirees could backdate successful pension credit claims and still qualify for the Warm Home discount now.
The pension credit rules all allow first-time claimants to backdate their entitlement to benefits by three months.
So you’ll need to start your claim by Friday, November 18, and then get it backdated to cover the Warm Home discount qualification date of August 21.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which oversees the scheme, is expected to send you a letter from this month confirming whether you will receive payment later in the year.
Payments for the £150 Warm Home Discount scheme will likely start in December.
It is up to the individual energy companies to decide when they will give the rebate to their customers.
But note that while most won’t have to do anything to get the money, energy regulator Ofgem says some people may be asked to contact a government helpline to confirm their eligibility.
The money will not be paid directly to you – it will be credited to your electricity account. This usually happens between October and April.
According to the gov.uk website, here are the energy suppliers registered with the scheme:
- Assign Energy – see Octopus Energy
- Atlantic – see SSE
- British gas
- British Gas Evolve (formerly British Gas X) – see British Gas
- bulb energy
- Co-op Energy – see Octopus Energy
- E (Gas and Electricity)
- GEUK (Green Energy UK)
- good energy
- power of london
- M&S Energy
- Nabuh Energy
- octopus energy
- Outsmart the market
- rebel energy
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Scottish Gas – see British Gas
- Scottish Hydro – see SSE
- Shell Energy Retail
- So the energy
- Southern Electric – see SSE
- Swalec – see SSE
- Utility warehouse
Please see the government website for more information.
How do I get the discount in Scotland?
The Scottish Government has refused to renew its Warm Home Discount scheme under England and Wales’ new no-demand scheme.
Households in Scotland will have to follow the rules set out in the legacy scheme.
This means that they will likely always be a “core group” who will receive an automatic payment and a “larger group” who will have to request the program from their energy supplier.
You will need to check directly with your energy provider to see eligibility requirements and details on how to apply.
More invoice help
Try not to panic if you don’t qualify for the Warm Home discount – there’s a lot of funding going on right now for this very reason
First, however, talk to your energy supplier – if you’re behind on your payment, they can do a lot to help you.
They can offer support such as payment plan review, repayment plans, or payment pauses.
Consider an emergency fund – your supplier may have access to trusts and charitable funds.
Contact them and ask to see what’s available, although the application process is very thorough.
You could win up to £1,500 from the British Gas fund, for example.
There is also the cold weather payment, which starts from November 1 and continues through the winter months.
Temperatures drop significantly from November to February, which should help people heat their homes more comfortably.
You get £25 for every seven days the weather averages below zero Celsius during that period.
You can check if your area had a cold weather payment by entering your postcode into the government tool now.
You can first check if you are eligible here.
Winter Fuel Payment – This is available to those who:
- were born on or before September 25, 1956
- lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 19-25, 2022 in what is known as “qualifying week”
Most payments are made automatically in November or December. You should be paid by January 13, 2023, so keep an eye on your bank account.
Universal Credit Bonus – Millions of claimants could get a free £10 bonus to help them through the festive period.
Although this is not the highest amount, please help us after the announcement of the energy price cap increase.
It will be paid automatically.
Energy bill rebate – Millions of households have started receiving a £400 energy bill rebate from 1 October.
The payment will be distributed by your energy supplier and will be spread over six remittances between October and March next year.
Households will get a £66 rebate on their energy bill in October and November and a rebate worth £67 in December, January, February and March.