A number of energy suppliers have opened applications for the Warm Home Discount Scheme (WHDS) ahead of the official opening date of 18 October 2021.
So far, many of the nation’s best energy suppliers, including British Gas, EDF, E.ON and Shell have announced they’ve reopened their respective schemes. Despite the official date being relatively soon, consumers are being encouraged to check with their suppliers on the status of their involvement with the scheme, as it’s expected that more will also start opening applications earlier.
Ahead of the winter months, the WHDS can be a useful means of reducing your energy bills – which with the current volatile state of the energy markets, will almost certainly be a welcome opportunity for many UK households.
What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?
The WHDS can see consumers get £140 off their electricity bills during the winter months. You don’t receive the payment yourself, instead it is discounted from your electricity bill at some point between October 2021 and March 2022.
If your supplier provides both your gas and electricity, there are also special circumstances where the discount can instead be applied to your gas bill. However, this is down to the discretion of your supplier.
Those on prepayment or pay-as-you-go meters can also get the WHDS, but again eligibility and how much discount you get is down to your supplier. Your discount will also come in the form of a voucher that you use to top up your meter.
Am I eligible for the scheme?
The official government guidance (opens in new tab) for eligibility for the WHDS falls into two groups:
- The 'core group' – if you receive the ‘Guarantee Credit’ element of Pension Credit (opens in new tab).
- The ‘broader group’ – if you’re on a low income (opens in new tab) and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
If you’re in the ‘core group’, you’ll get the discount automatically, providing your supplier is part of the scheme and your or your partner’s name was on your energy bill on 4 July 2021. The discount will be from the supplier you were with on that date, even if you’ve switched since then.
In addition, you should get a letter between now and December confirming you will get the £140 discount on your energy bill. However, the letter may also ask you to get in touch with the official WHDS helpline to confirm your details before a payment can be issued.
Again, if your supplier is involved in the scheme, you will qualify for the ‘broader group’ if your annual household income is £16,190 or lower and you get child tax credit. You can also qualify if you get certain ‘means-tested benefits’ including:
- If you receive income support, or income-based jobseeker’s allowance.
- You have a disability, pensioner or disabled child premium.
- You are responsible for a chid aged under five.
- Your child tax credits also have a ‘disability’ or ‘severe disability’ aspect.
How to apply for it
As mentioned above, those in the ‘core group’ won’t need to apply, they may only need to check or confirm some details. However, if you believe you’re in the ‘broader group’, you need to act now to apply directly with your energy supplier while you can.
This is because applications are on a first-come-first-served basis, as there are limited funds available. As also mentioned earlier, while some suppliers have announced their early opening of the scheme, there’s no harm in checking now with your provider to see what the situation is if they have yet to make a statement.
You can find a full list of the energy suppliers currently involved in the WHDS here (opens in new tab).
What happens if my supplier goes bust?
With a number of energy suppliers recently going bust, you may have concerns about what happens with the WHDS if your provider stops trading.
Those in the ‘core group’ should still get their discount automatically, no matter what has happened or happens to their supplier. People in the ‘broader group’ though should be aware that if you apply with one supplier that then goes bust, you will need to reapply with your new provider once the energy regulator Ofgem has moved you over to them.
While this isn’t ideal, it will still be a worthwhile pursuit for those looking to save on their bills. This is particularly relevant given the fact that energy comparison services are showing that some of the best energy deals right now are standard variable tariffs limited by the most recent price cap.