About The WHD

The Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme came into effect in April 2011 and requires obligated domestic energy suppliers to deliver support to persons on low-income and who are vulnerable to cold-related illness or living wholly or mainly in fuel poverty.

Under the scheme, small, medium, and larger energy suppliers support people who are living in fuel poverty or a fuel poverty risk group. Some smaller suppliers that are not obligated under WHD also voluntarily participate in part of the scheme.  

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for WHD policy and legislation. Ofgem’s role is to administer certain elements of the scheme.

Scheme overview

BEIS have set out that from scheme year 2022 onwards there are two separate Warm Home Discount (WHD) schemes, one for England and Wales and a separate one for Scotland.

The Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme in England and Wales has three different elements: the Core Group 1, Core Group 2 and Industry Initiatives. BEIS coordinates the Core Groups, while we administer the Industry Initiatives.

In Scotland the WHD scheme consists of three elements which are the Core Group, Broader Group and Industry Initiatives. BEIS coordinates the Core Group, while we administer the Broader Group and Industry Initiatives.

From the 2022/23 scheme year energy suppliers with over 50,000 domestic customers are required to participate in all three elements of the scheme. These suppliers are called compulsory suppliers. From the 2023/24 scheme year energy suppliers with over 1,000 domestic customers are required to participate in all elements of the scheme. This reduction will see more eligible customers benefit from the WHD scheme. Voluntary suppliers only take part in the Core Group 1 and 2 in England and Wales and Core Group only in Scotland.

England and Wales WHD: Core Group 1: a £150 rebate for fuel-poor pensioners

The Core Group 1 assists less well-off pensioners, through a direct rebate of £150 to their electricity or gas account. You are eligible for the rebate if you receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) works with participating suppliers to identify those who receive Pension Credit among their customers.  Most eligible Core Group 1 customers are identified in this way and automatically receive their rebate.

If you buy your energy from a participating supplier and believe you were eligible for a rebate which you have not received, contact your supplier.

England and Wales WHD: Core Group 2: a £150 rebate to fuel-poor customers

Obligated suppliers provide rebates automatically to low-income households that the Government identifies as most likely to have high heating costs. The fuel poverty targeting approach for the Core Group 2 prioritises rebates to low-income households that are more likely to have high energy costs and therefore most in need of support with energy bills. Households in receipt of certain means-tested benefits and income-capped Tax Credits would be deemed as low income and are eligible under the Core Group 2. These include:

  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit (PCSC)

Property data held by the VOA is matched with the means-tested benefits and Tax Credit data held by DWP and HMRC to identify those on low incomes most likely living in homes which are expensive to heat. Where property characteristics are missing, BEIS will run an imputation methodology for alternative evidence. For further information on this process can be found in the government consultation on the WHD from 2022 and the WHD Guidance for England and Wales.

Scotland WHD: Scottish Core Group: a £150 rebate to fuel-poor customers

The Core Group 1 assists less well-off pensioners, through a direct rebate of £150 to their electricity or gas account. You are eligible for the rebate if you receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) works with participating suppliers to identify those who receive Pension Credit among their customers.  Most eligible Core Group 1 customers are identified in this way and automatically receive their rebate.

If you buy your energy from a participating supplier and believe you were eligible for a rebate which you have not received, contact your supplier.

Scotland WHD: Broader Group: a £150 rebate to fuel-poor customers

Mandatory eligibility criteria for the Broader Group are set out in our draft WHD Scotland guidance. The standard criteria are based on a variation of the Cold Weather Payments group and low-income working families in receipt of in-work benefits and with a child under 5 or a disabled child. Alongside this, energy suppliers set out their own criteria for eligibility under the Scottish Broader Group. Please contact your supplier to check whether you are eligible to receive a rebate under the Scottish Broader Group. 

England and Wales WHD & Scotland WHD: Industry Initiatives: indirect help to fuel-poor customers

Each obligated supplier has a spending obligation on Industry Initiatives. The Industry Initiative element of the scheme allows suppliers to help fuel-poor customers through projects that help customers who are fuel poor or at risk of fuel poverty through a variety of activities and third parties. Depending on the obligated supplier’s programme and third-party provider, it can include benefit entitlement checks, debt assistance, energy advice, smart meter advice and energy efficiency measures provided to low income and vulnerable households.

Further information

If you think that you might be eligible for support under the scheme, you can find information on the Warm Home Discount (WHD) at the gov.uk website, or by contacting your energy supplier. This website also lists all participating suppliers. 

There are answers to some common questions on our FAQ pages.

You can read more about our administration of the E&W WHD scheme in our guidance: Warm Home Discount Guidance V1 - England and Wales and on our Scotland WHD in our draft guidance: Draft Warm Home Discount Supplier Guidance (version 0.1) - Scotland. Direct any questions on how the Industry Initiative elements operate to Ofgem’s Operational Team at whd@ofgem.gov.uk.

Information for suppliers on the price caps that apply to Warm Home Discount customers on standard variable and default tariffs, can be found on our Energy price caps industry page.

Any questions on the scheme as a whole, and on the Core Groups, should be directed to BEIS at enquiries@beis.gov.uk.

Publications and updates