When the weather starts to turn, and the snow flies, it’s time to bundle up. But, indoors? Sure, you can turn up the heat, but then you might not be able to afford your energy bill. What you might not know is that you may qualify for help under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. So, turn up the heat, you can afford it. Here’s how.
Pre-Pay For Heat
One way many UK residents choose to pay for heat is through prepayment. This can help stop energy debt in its tracks by making you pay in advance for heat you will use later. Under a prepayment scheme, it’s difficult but not impossible) to go into deep debt over heating bills.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount is designed to be a subsidy that helps those who are vulnerable or might need help paying for their home energy usage. This scheme applies only during the winter months, and is a one-time discount to help out with the bills.
Because winter heating bills tend to be the most expensive, the discount is applied to those most in need, so you have to qualify for it.
For those who do qualify, it’s best to fully understand the “ins and outs” of not just the program but of the entire gas energy scheme (or electric, depending on how your home is heated). This includes what to do in case of emergency, how to lower your heating costs naturally through lifestyle changes, and other assistance programs available to low income households.
Do You Qualify? Make Sure You Qualify
All residents who qualify for the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit will qualify for this discount. This is often referred to as a “core group” of eligible persons. You must also check with your supplier to make sure they participate in the discount scheme.
Which Suppliers Offer The Discounts?
Of all the energy suppliers in the UK, just 19 firms are part of the discount program. They include British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, E.on, EDF Energy, nPower, and other smaller suppliers.
You can contact the helpline if you’re unsure whether your supplier is participating. The number is 0845 603 9439.
When Does The Discount Apply?
The discount applies during the winter months, and you should receive a discount early in the 2016 calendar year. You should have already received a letter telling you when and how you need to apply for 2015/2016.
If you haven’t received this letter yet, you can contact Warm Home Discount team at:
Warm Home Discount Team
Pink Zone, 1st Floor
You may not qualify if you haven’t received your letter. But, there may also have been a mix up in the post and you just never got it, even though you were supposed to.
How Much Do You Get?
For the 2015/2016 season, the discount is set at £140. This means that, after you are approved, you will receive a one-time discount on your electricity bill. The funds are not given to you directly. Rather, they are applied to your bill between October and March. The whole thing is handled entirely by the energy supplier.
Abby Thornton is a personal finance consultant who likes to think she knows most of the ins and outs on where and how to save money. She shares her research and knowledge on personal finance blogs mostly.