Warm Home Discount: how are consumers benefitting?

Publication date
5th November 2014
Information types
Policy areas

Today we’ve published new research we commissioned to understand how energy advice delivered through the Warm Home Discount (WHD) is helping vulnerable consumers.

It shows energy advice delivered through the scheme can produce a range of benefits for vulnerable consumers, including:

  • warmer homes
  • financial benefits
  • greater peace of mind
  • being able to negotiate their energy choices

It also finds that giving consumers advice does not always guarantee changes to energy efficiency or engagement with the market. This appears to depend on a range of other factors, including:

  • how the advice is provided,
  • the content of the advice and the consumer’s understanding of it, and
  • the individual consumer’s own circumstances.

Ofgem commissioned the research to find out more about the benefits of advice provided to consumers as part of the industry initiatives element of the WHD scheme. While the benefit of a direct financial rebate to a customer is clear, we were keen to understand how these advice services were received by a wide range of vulnerable consumers, including:

  • consumers’ perceived benefits of the energy advice initiatives
  • what underpins these benefits
  • how behaviour change happens for different types of consumers
  • what might prevent consumers acting on the advice they receive.

Consumer views

The research was carried out for Ofgem by the independent research agency OPM with consumers that had received advice from eight different energy advice services. The services ranged from a national telephone advice service to small local in-home initiatives. You can see a sample of the comments received in the videos below:

About the WHD

The WHD is a government scheme requiring participating suppliers to provide £1.13 billion of support to those in or at risk of fuel poverty over four years. The majority of support is through rebates to eligible customers, but can also be through third parties who provide things like advice on saving energy, or help with managing energy debt.

We administer the scheme by monitoring and facilitating supplier compliance with their WHD obligations.

View the research report in full