As winter creeps closer the cost of electricity can start to add up – but there is a little-known way for some to save up to £140 on their bill.
A UK government initiative called the Warm Home Discount Scheme – which gives a rebate to vulnerable people in England, Scotland and Wales – has been running since 2011.
The one-off payment (inclusive of VAT) on electricity bills has been designed to help those who live in or are at risk of fuel poverty.
Which energy suppliers are part of the scheme?
The scheme pays out to medium and large energy suppliers such as British Gas (includes Scottish Gas), EDF Energy, Npower, SSE and many others.
The full list of eligible energy suppliers can be found on the Government’s website.
Last year around 2.2 million people claimed the discount, but they had to meet certain requirements to be entitled to the saving.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible you need to be part of either the ‘core’ or ‘broader’ groups.
The core group is predominantly for pensioners who are or could be vulnerable to poverty.
This group is already known to The Department of Work and Pensions and the energy suppliers, so the discount tends to come off automatically. Generally, if you fall into this group, you do not need to do anything to receive money off your electricity bill.
However, the broader group is for those on a low income or who receive certain means tested benefits.
Those in the broader group have to apply directly to their energy company and the scheme tends to run on a first come first serve basis.
When can I apply?
Those who might be eligible should check with their energy suppliers as soon as possible but applications do not officially open until 15 October.
As current rules go, only energy suppliers with more than 250,000 customers have to offer the discount. However, earlier this year it was announced that energy suppliers with 150,000 or more customers would also have to start applying the discount by 2021.