Millions of people on benefits will get £150 off their electricity bill this winter through the UK’s Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme.
The Warm Home Discount scheme has been running since 2011, giving £140 off your electric bill. But this year a lot has changed:
- the amount has gone up to £150;
- the criteria have changed – the government expects 750,000 more people will qualify,
- most people no longer have to apply – you will get it automatically;
- there are now different processes in England & Wales and Scotland.
Last year you could have applied for the WHD in September – so people are asking what is happening this year. But many suppliers haven’t put any details on their websites yet.
Here is an overview. I will keep this page updated as more details are known.
Does your supplier take part in the new WHD scheme?
All suppliers with more than 50,000 domestic customers have to take part. It is optional for smaller suppliers.
This is the list for the WHD scheme in winter 2022-23:
- British Gas
- Bulb Energy
- E (Gas and Electricity)
- EDF Energy
- ESB Energy
- Green Energy (UK)*
- Outfox the Market
- Good Energy
- Octopus Energy
- OVO Energy
- Rebel Energy*
- Scottish Power
- Shell Energy
- Utility Warehouse
* these are smaller suppliers who have volunteered to give the WHD discount to everyone eligible in England and Wales but only people on Pension Credit in Scotland.
To get the WHD you have to have been with a supplier on this list on August 21st 2022. If you have now moved to a different supplier, the supplier you were with in August has to give you the WHD.
The new Warm Home Discount scheme in England & Wales
Two groups of people will be eligible;
- all pensioners who get Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
- people on most means-tested benefits (including Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit (Savings Credit), and some people on Tax Credits) who also meet a High Energy Costs test.
This High Energy Costs test is new. The government will work out from the floor area of your house, its age and the property type whether you are likely to have high heating bills. This will be done using data from the Valuations Office Agency (VOA), which is used to set council tax bands.
Because the government is working out who is eligible, you no longer have to apply for the WHD if you live in England or Wales. The government should tell the energy suppliers who should be getting the WHD automatically.
It’s thought that the VOA holds the relevant data for 98% of housing in England and Wales. Where it doesn’t people will be contacted. Ofgem says:
If you are eligible, you should receive a letter from Government in November and December. In most cases, you will not need to do anything. Some people may be asked to contact a government helpline to confirm their eligibility.
The new Warm Home Discount scheme in Scotland
VOA data is not available in Scotland, so the government can’t decide automatically who will get the WHD. The good news though is that the criteria will now be the same across all suppliers and more people will get this than last year.
The application process for the WHD in Scotland will work in a similar way to the previous Scheme:
- pensioners getting Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) will get the WHD automatically and will not have to apply;
- if you are of working age and on means-tested benefits, you will have to apply, probably in November. Details of how to do this have not yet been announced.
This should be a big improvement for most people
The government expects an extra 750,000 households will benefit from the WHD this year who did not get it last year.
Many of the changes are very good news, ending the “supplier lottery”:
- people in England & Wales no longer have to apply for the Warm Home Discount;
- the criteria are now the same across all suppliers;
- you can switch suppliers and still get the discount.
Call the new WHD helpline on 0800 107 8002 if you do not get the letter by mid-January 2023 and you think you should be eligible.
We won’t know how well the “High Energy Costs Criteria” will work in practice:
- it’s not clear how many people will have to contact the new helpline to establish they are eligible;
- we don’t know how accurate the data on people’s homes is that the Valuation Agency holds;
- the idea of giving the money to people who need it most sounds good, but will some people in cold, poorly insulated homes not get picked up by the automatic calculations? There are concerns that the new criteria will be less likely to apply for smaller homes and this may disadvantage single people and families who are in fuel poverty.
One group are definitely losing out with the new scheme. People on disability benefits who do not receive any other means-tested benefits will no longer get the WHD.
Other help with energy costs & other bills
In 2022 a range of help is being provided to help people with rising bills, including energy:
- every household will get £400 off their electric bill, paid in 6 monthly installments from October 2022 to March 2023. How it’s paid depends on how you pay for your electricity
- if you are on Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Tax Credits or some other means-tested benefits you will receive a payment of £650 this year, split into two parts. Most people will already have received the first payment.
- if you get a disability benefit, you will get an extra £150.
The revised Warm Home Discount scheme is in addition to two other long-running schemes:
- most people born before 26 September 1956 can claim a Winter Fuel Payment. This was £100 – £300 last year but now has an extra ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’ of between £150 and £300 for 2022-23 only, so in total it will be £250-£600. If you had this last year, you don’t need to reapply.
- if the weather gets very cold, some people on Universal Credit, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, and Pension Credit will be able to get Cold Weather Payments.