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As the temperature starts to drop, households in Britain may find themselves reluctantly using their central heating to combat the cold. This is due to the high electricity and gas bills experienced last year.
Although Ofgem’s Energy Price Cap has decreased significantly since then, inflation continues to be high at 6.7% and numerous individuals are still facing difficulties due to the expensive prices of goods and services.
Members of Parliament on the Energy Security and Net Zero Committee have previously urged the government led by Rishi Sunak to provide aid once more to struggling households during the upcoming winter season.
The chair of the committee, Angus Brendan MacNeil, cautioned in September: “As the nights get longer, we must keep in mind that our most vulnerable individuals will be plagued by distressing recollections of the excessive sacrifices they had to make last year in order to cope with the steep expenses of energy.”
“Surprisingly, 25% of individuals have unpaid energy bills from the previous winter. As the upcoming winter poses an even greater threat, it is past due for the government to provide assistance.”
A significant form of assistance currently accessible is the Warm Home Discount program, initiated in 2011, which provides a £150 reduction in household energy expenses for eligible recipients.
Between October 2023 and March 2024, a single discount will be automatically applied to your bill if you meet the eligibility requirements. This discount is available to individuals in England and Wales who receive the pension credit guarantee or have a low income and high energy costs.
If you meet the following criteria as of 13 August 2023, then you will qualify in the given situation.
Your electricity provider is included in the program listed here.
The name of either you or your partner appears on your electricity bill.
You or your partner are eligible for the guarantee credit component of pension credit (even if you also receive savings credit).
If you have a low income, you are eligible if you receive any of the means-tested benefits listed below:
- Housing benefit
One possible rewording could be “benefits for employment and financial assistance based on income.”
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- allows you to receive extra money each week
The savings credit component of pension credit enables you to receive additional funds on a weekly basis.
- Universal Credit
You may also be eligible if your total household income is lower than a specific limit and you receive any of the following:
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credit
To qualify for the program, your property must also possess a high energy cost rating, calculated according to its type, age, and size.
In terms of Scotland, the requirements for eligibility are similar – either receiving the guarantee credit part of pension credit or having a low income. However, if you fall under the latter category, you may need to apply through your energy provider.
In most cases, there is no need for you to apply as the discount will be automatically applied to your account.
If you qualify, you will receive a letter confirming your eligibility sometime between October 2023 and January 2024.
If you have not received a letter but think you qualify, please contact the Warm Home Discount helpline at 0800 030 9322 before February 29, 2024. The helpline is available from 8am to 6pm on weekdays.
You may also send correspondence to: 110552 Warm Home Discount Scheme, PO Box 26965, Glasgow G1 9BW.
To access further details about the program, please refer to the designated page on the official UK government website.