An extra 200,000 pensioners will get money off their energy bills this winter, as the Warm Home Discount scheme expands for the fourth year.
In total, more than 2 million people will receive the subsidy – an increase of 200,000 on last year and around twice as many as when the scheme was first launched in 2011.
The initiative, which exists to help vulnerable and low income households with their energy costs, has now been expanded to everyone in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, including those also in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit with Savings Credit.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of the poorest working age people will also qualify for the subsidy to help them keep their homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the cold weather season.
DWP Minister Steve Webb said:
It is this coalition government’s mission to build a fairer society, and ensuring our poorest households get the support they need with their energy costs is a key part of that.
As we approach winter, no-one should have to go without heating because they can’t afford the bills. That’s why we have significantly extended the Warm Home Discount scheme – and increased its value – to give people peace of mind that they can keep their homes comfortable throughout the coldest months.
In addition to expanding the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount scheme every year since its introduction, the government has also increased the level of the discount year-on-year. For 2014/15, it will be set at £140, compared with £120 in 2011/12.
The discount is funded by participating energy companies and is available to customers of these suppliers. They include the ‘big 6’ energy firms which, collectively, account for over 90% of the domestic market.
The vast majority of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit recipients will receive the discount automatically and will not have to take any action. Pension Credit claimants who are unable to receive the discount automatically will be sent a letter from the government explaining how to apply.
Anyone not in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit but who feels they may be eligible under alternative criteria should contact their energy supplier to check.
Customers who use pre-payment meters or pay as you go electricity meters may also qualify for the discount.
Receipt of the £140 discount does not affect any Winter Fuel Allowance, Cold Weather Payments or other benefits that an individual or household may receive.
More about the Warm Home Discount scheme
More information about the scheme can be found at: www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
The Warm Home Discount Scheme was introduced in 2011 as a joint initiative between the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and energy suppliers. Read the original announcement.
Initially, up to 900,000 lower income pensioner households were eligible and 700,000 received it. The eligibility criteria has been widened each year since and, this winter, up to 1.7 million pensioner households will be able to receive the discount. On previous trends, it is estimated that around 1.4 million will take it up.
In addition, vulnerable and low income people who do not meet the Pension Credit-related eligibility criteria may qualify for a discount by enquiring with their energy supplier. Each of the participating suppliers have their own criteria for this broader group of eligible customers.
Consultation about proposed changes to the scheme
We published a consultation about proposed changes to the scheme for 2015/16 on 2 October 2014. It runs until 13 November 2014.
The following energy suppliers participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme:
- British Gas
- Co-operative Energy
- EDF Energy
- Equipower (Ebico)
- Equigas (Ebico)
- First Utility
- M&S Energy
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Scottish Gas
- Scottish Hydro
- Scottish Power
- Southern Electric
- Utility Warehouse
Regional and country data
The attached table provides an indication of the number of people who may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount through their claiming of Pension Credit. Due to the differing criteria of the energy suppliers, it is not possible to provide regional estimates of the additional (non-Pension Credit claiming) customers who will also be eligible.
Contact Press Office
Media enquiries for this press release – 020 3267 5106
London Press Office (national media and London area enquiries only – not questions about personal claims) 020 3267 5144
Out-of-hours (journalists only) 076 59 108 883
England and Wales (local media enquiries) 029 20 586 then 097 or 098 or 099
Scotland (local media enquiries) 0131 310 1122
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