The winter season may be full of festive cheer, but the cold temperatures can be costly when it comes to electricity bills.
While most of us will crank up the heating in a bid to keep the house warm and toasty, some struggle to afford the additional costs - but you could be eligible to receive a payment towards the bills.
Warm home discount
Pensioners and those on a low income could receive a helping hand with electricity payments this winter, thanks to the warm home discount.
The discount is a government scheme that grants those who are eligible £140 towards their heating costs. The payment is usually paid directly to your energy supplier, who will then apply the discount to your bills.
Those who have a pre-payment meter will be sent a £140 voucher that can be used to top up your account.
The discount applies between September and March, and may also be put towards a gas bill if it is the same supplier as you use for electricity.
Who is eligible?
There are two ‘groups’ that qualify for the discount, known as the ‘core’ and ‘broader’ groups.
If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit you qualify for the discount if on 7 July 2019 all of the following applied:
your energy supplier was part of the schemeyour name (or your partner’s) was on the billyou were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
If you fall into the ‘core group’, you should have received a letter between October and December with more information on how to get the discount. This letter will have let you know if you need to call the helpline by 28 February 2020 to confirm your details.
If you haven’t received a letter by the end of December, contact the warm home discount team on 0800 731 0214.
Alternatively, you can write to: Warm Home Discount, Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1, Peel Park, Brunel Way, Blackpool, FY4 5ES.
Your electricity supplier will then apply the discount to your bill by the end of March 2020.
The discount applies between September and March and is usually paid directly to your energy supplier (Photo: Shutterstock)
If you are on a low income and receive certain means-tested benefits, you could still be eligible for the discount if you energy supplier is part of the scheme.
For those who fall into this group, it is the providers who decide who will get the discount. You will need to check with your supplier to see if you are eligible and how to apply.
Which energy companies take part?
All of the Big Six energy suppliers have opened their applications for the 2019/20 winter season and if you are successful, the discount will be applied by 31 March 2020.
The following suppliers are part of the scheme:
Angelic EnergyAtlanticAvro EnergyBeam EnergyBoostBristol Energy - only if you’re eligible for the ‘core group’British GasBulb EnergyCitizen EnergyCo-operative EnergyE (Gas and Electricity)EbicoEDF EnergyE.ONFirst Utility - now Shell EnergyFlow EnergyFosse EnergyGB EnergyGreat North EnergyGreen Network EnergyGreen Star/HudsonLiverpool Energy Community CompanyLumonpowerOctopus EnergyOVOPowershop - see npowerRam EnergyRobin Hood Energy - only if you’re eligible for the ‘core group’Sainsbury’s EnergyScottish Gas - see British GasScottish Hydro - see SSEScottishPowerShell Energy (previously First Utility)Southern Electric - see SSESparkSSESWALEC - see SSEUtilitaUtility WarehouseWhite Rose Energy
To apply for the discount, visit the government website and follow the link to your energy supplier to fill out an online form.