Fair By Design and National Energy Action (NEA) have teamed up to call for an extension and expansion of the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme to ensure all eligible low income working age households receive the rebate automatically without needing to apply each year to their supplier.
“Keeping Britain Warm and Well”, a joint report released in February 2020, warns that the scheme could end in March 2021, despite it providing a lifeline to millions of pensioners across Great Britain. The report also highlights that up to two million working age households could already be missing out on the energy rebate each winter, leading to difficulties keeping homes at a safe temperature.
The Warm Home Discount scheme currently provides a payment of £140 towards energy bills, and also contains provisions to carry out projects to help low-income and vulnerable households to better afford their energy bill. The scheme was introduced by the Government in April 2011 and is an obligation on energy suppliers funded through bills.
But every year many poorer customers miss out on the Warm Home Discount scheme because:
- Not all suppliers have to offer it.
- It is poorly advertised which means many are unaware of its existence.
- The UK Government has not yet made the most of data-sharing powers which would help low income working households benefit from the scheme without needing to apply to their supplier each year.
- Their applications could be unsuccessful because there is only a finite amount of money available for the limited annual budget.
The continuation of the scheme is also in doubt. Formally, the Warm Home Discount scheme will end after March 2021.
Fair By Design & National Energy Action are calling for an extension and expansion of the scheme after that date to ensure all eligible low income working age households receive the rebate automatically without needing to apply each year to their supplier.
We are calling specifically for the following:
- The UK Government to extend and expand the Warm Home Discount scheme for at least three years.
- The UK Government to ensure current low income pensioners continue to receive WHD rebates and ensure the extended and expanded scheme uses data matching powers to guarantee all eligible low income working age households receive the rebate automatically.
- The UK Government to ensure smaller suppliers are also required to provide all elements of the WHD.
- Ofgem to ensure the WHD is better designed i.e. ensure that more customers know about it and there are more channels to apply for it via Industry Initiatives.