A scheme to give thousands £150 off their electricity bill is open after energy bosses warned bills are likely to stay higher this winter.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme for winter 2023/24 started on Monday October 16 as homeowners were warned they face rising energy bills this winter and will need to redouble their efforts to keep heating costs down over the cold months ahead.
The cost of living crisis combined with rocketing gas, oil and electricity costs forced millions to turn the thermostat down or off altogether last winter, which was a relatively mild one.
The scheme counts as cost of living support that the Government will chip in for and, upon announcing the benefit, the Government said it “recognises the value of this help to households, especially as energy prices rise due to the global price of gas.
“That is why we have committed to extending the Warm Home Discount until March 2026 and increased the overall spending across Great Britain from £350 million to £475 million (in 2020 prices).”
But energy providers have warned there could be a colder than average winter ahead, which would leave many vulnerable families unable to heat their homes as much as they need to.
The co-founder of one firm, smart thermostat maker tado, said four out of five customers turned their heating down last winter. Energy prices have come down from their historical peaks this year following the extraordinary spike that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but they are expected to stay at elevated levels until the end of 2024.
Heating experts have since spoken out about when the right time to put your heating on for the winter is – and said when blankets are not keeping you warm and the temperatures are “consistently dropping”, then the boiler should be on.
But if you’re looking to save pennies and think the grant could work, here is everything we know about the scheme and who it could help:
What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?
The scheme offers a one-off discount on your gas and electricity bill worth £150.
The money will be provided in the form of a saving between October 2023 and March 2024.
“You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity and you’re eligible,” the government said.
Who is eligible?
There are different ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depending on where you live.
For England and Wales you can qualify if you either get the guarantee credit element of pension credit or are on a low income and have high energy costs.
If you live in Scotland, you qualify if you either get the guarantee credit element of pension credit or are on a low income in Scotland and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
The Warm Home Discount scheme is not available in Northern Ireland.
If you do not get a letter
If you are considered eligible, you should receive a letter confirming as much between early October 2023 and early January 2024.
If you do not receive a letter but believe you are eligible, you should call the Warm Home Discount helpline on 0800 030 9322 before 29 February 2024. The line is open from 8am to 6pm every weekday.
How to apply
The scheme opened for applications on Monday October 16. Those eligible might be contacted by post. For more information, visit the government's website.