FAQs for the Warm Home Discount scheme

Publication date
15th February 2018
Information types
Policy areas

Below you’ll find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme. Please note this is not intended to be legal or technical advice on the scheme. These questions have been split into different categories aimed at different readers. 

If you require more information please contact us at WHD@ofgem.gov.uk. You may also be able to find more information on the government’s website or from the websites of energy suppliers who take part in the scheme.

Former Spark Energy customers who applied for the WHD rebate can find more information here.

For consumers

What is the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount scheme was established by the Warm Home Discount Regulations 2011 as amended (the Regulations). The latest amendments to the Regulations came into force in August 2018.

The scheme requires participating domestic energy suppliers, including those who volunteer for the scheme, to provide support to those who are in or at risk of fuel poverty in Great Britain.

This support may be direct, through energy bill rebates of £140 to eligible customers. Indirect support is available through third parties acting on behalf of suppliers who help customers by offering them services to reduce fuel poverty and the associated impacts -these are known as Industry Initiatives.

In order for you to benefit from the £140 WHD rebate, you must buy your energy from an obligated energy supplier, and meet certain eligibility requirements. Even if you don’t buy your energy from an obligated supplier you may be able to benefit under the Industry Initiative element of the scheme since these tend to target wider groups of fuel poor consumers. 

Which energy suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount?

The following energy suppliers are compulsory participants in scheme year 8 of the scheme (15 August 2018 – 31 March 2019):

  • British Gas
  • Bulb
  • Co-operative energy (including Flow Energy customers)
  • EDF Energy
  • Economy Energy
  • E.ON
  • First Utility
  • Green Star
  • Npower
  • Scottish Power
  • OVO
  • SSE
  • Utilita
  • Utility Warehouse

The following are voluntary members of the scheme and only offer support under the ‘Core Group’ element:

  • Our Power
  • Bristol Energy
  • Robin Hood Energy

Some obligated energy suppliers work with ‘white label’ energy providers who themselves don’t hold a licence to supply electricity and gas to domestic properties. Instead they partner with the licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using its own brand.

This means that those white label providers also offer the WHD to their customers. You can view a full list of these on the government’s website

Am I eligible for the Warm Home Discount rebate?

To be eligible for the £140 WHD rebate you must first buy your energy from a participating energy supplier and meet the eligibility criteria for the Core Group or Broader Group elements of the scheme. Not all energy suppliers are part of the WHD scheme.

You may be able to benefit under the Industry Initiative element of the scheme even if you don’t buy your energy from a participating supplier, since these tend to target wider groups of fuel poor consumers. You can speak to any obligated energy supplier about the Industry Initiatives they offer, you do not have to buy your energy from them.

We have outlined the eligibility requirements for each aspect of the scheme below. However, please note that list is non-exhaustive, and you should consult our WHD guidance or your energy supplier for further detail on eligibility requirements. 

What is the Core Group?

The Core Group is an element of the WHD scheme intended to support some pensioners, through a direct annual rebate of £140 to their electricity or gas accounts.

You are eligible for the rebate in scheme year 8 (15 August 2018 – 31 March 2019) if on the 8 July 2018 all of the following applied:

  • Your energy supplier is a participating compulsory or voluntary supplier,
  • You or your partner’s name is on the energy bill, and
  • You receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.

Most customers identified as eligible for the Core Group rebate receive this automatically as a result of a data matching exercise between energy suppliers and the Department for Work and Pensions.

If you qualify for the WHD under the Core Group you will get a letter in the autumn or winter telling you either:

  • That you don’t have to apply - you’ll get the discount automatically, or
  • That you need to apply by 28 February 2019 - the letter will tell you why and how.

You should have received your letter by 7th December 2018 at the latest.

What if I don’t get a letter but believe I am eligible under the Core Group?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) administers the Core Group element of the WHD, along with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You can contact the Warm Home Discount Team if you don’t get a letter but believe you qualify. You can also contact them if you want further information about the scheme, using the details below:

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Telephone: 0800 731 0214 

Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

Find out about call charges

Warm Home Discount Team

Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1

Peel Park

Brunel Way

Blackpool

FY4 5ES 

What is the Broader Group?

Compulsory suppliers also have their own schemes to provide £140 rebates to customers who are in or at risk of fuel poverty. This is provided under the Broader Group element of the Warm Home Discount scheme.

Customers must apply directly to obligated energy suppliers to get the rebate, with suppliers often publishing on their website details of how to apply over the summer months.

The eligibility criteria for benefitting under the Broader Group are set out in the Regulations and in our scheme guidance. Examples of applicable criteria include being:

  • in receipt of income support and one of the following applies:
    • responsible for a child under the age of 5 who ordinarily resides with you; or
    • in receipt of a qualifying component (e.g. disabled child premium).
  • in receipt of child tax credit (based on an annual income not exceeding £16,190) and one of the following applies:
    • in receipt of a qualifying component (disability/severe disability element or disabled child premium); or
    • responsible for a child under the age of 5 who ordinarily resides with you.

The eligibility criteria listed here is non-exhaustive. Please find the full criteria in our scheme guidance.

Whilst there are compulsory eligibility criteria that a participating supplier must adhere to they also have some discretion to apply their own additional eligibility criteria to address their specific customer base. We would advise contacting your energy supplier directly to find out if you are eligible to receive the rebate.

Energy suppliers who voluntarily participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme do not provide Broader Group rebates.

Receiving the Broader Group rebate one year does not guarantee you’ll receive it in the future. Many suppliers operate a first-come first-served approach to paying their Broader Group rebates, and an energy supplier’s eligible customers under the Broader Group may exceed the number of rebates they are required to deliver.

Industry Initiatives

Industry Initiatives can indirectly help fuel-poor customers through third parties. Depending on the obligated supplier’s programmes and third party providers, it can include advice on energy saving, and help with reducing energy debts. Not all obligated suppliers will have Industry Initiatives as they can meet their obligations under the WHD through providing Core and Broader Group rebates alone.

You may be able to benefit under the Industry Initiative element of the scheme even if you don’t buy your energy from a participating supplier, since these tend to target wider groups of fuel poor consumers.

I live in a park home - am I eligible?

Yes, those living in park homes can apply for the Park Home WHD rebate. This has been established as an Industry Initiative project.

The Park Homes WHD scheme opened on 1 December 2016 to permanent park home residents in England, Scotland or Wales. To be eligible, you must meet either the Core or Broader Group eligibility requirements which are set out in response to the question ‘Am I eligible for a Warm Home Discount rebate?’.

You can apply for the Park Homes WHD rebate if you are resident on a park home site and pay for your electricity through your park, or as part of your pitch fees. This scheme is being funded by five UK energy suppliers (British Gas, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power and SSE) and is independently administered by Charis Grants Limited. If successful, customers will receive a one-off payment of £140 towards their energy bills.

Funding for the Park Home WHD scheme is limited and all applications will be reviewed in order of date received up until the scheme closes. Once the allocated number of applications is reached, the scheme will close.

For more information and to apply please visit the Park Homes Warm Home Discount website.  

Will I still receive my rebate if I switch suppliers?

If you receive the WHD rebate and are thinking about changing suppliers, you should check with the supplier you are considering moving to to see if they also take part in the WHD scheme.

If you are successful in applying for a Broader Group rebate with one energy supplier, then we would suggest you wait until you have received the rebate before switching to a new supplier. If you received a Broader Group rebate from your old supplier you should not assume that you will be entitled to receive a Broader Group rebate from your new supplier.

Ofgem’s Confidence Code is a code of practice that governs independent energy price comparison sites. This means that sites covered by the Code must inform you whether the supplier you are considering moving to will offer the WHD or not. 

When will I get my rebate?

In most cases suppliers must provide Core Group rebates by 31 March 2019. We encourage suppliers to provide Core and Broader Group rebates over the winter months as far as possible to help consumers when they need it most.

What should I do if I think I should be getting the Warm Home Discount, and I’m told I can’t?

If you believe you are eligible under the Core Group element of the scheme but have not received a rebate, you should contact the following government helpline before the 28th February 2019 for clarification.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Telephone: 0800 731 0214

Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

Find out about call charges

Warm Home Discount Team

Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1

Peel Park 

Brunel Way

Blackpool

FY4 5ES

If you are successful in applying under the Broader Group element scheme in one year, you will not necessarily also receive it the following year. This is because an energy supplier’s eligible customers under the Broader Group may exceed the number of rebates they are obligated to deliver. Energy suppliers also have some flexibility over eligibility requirements for the Warm Home Discount under the Broader Group, so this might change slightly from one year to the next.

If you’re unhappy with how they have dealt with your application, you can make a complaint directly to the energy supplier. If this does not lead to a resolution, you could consider contacting the Energy Ombudsman. More detail is available on their website.

You can also contact the Energy Saving Trust for advice on saving energy and on eligibility for support, and Citizens Advice for information on saving money on energy bills.

Finally, there is more information on the support for consumers on our website, including how to switch supplier. 

How can I contact Ofgem about the Warm Home Discount?

If you have any further questions, please contact us on our Warm Home Discount mailbox, WHD@ofgem.gov.uk.

For energy suppliers

When does the Scheme Year start and when does it finish?

The current Scheme Year 8 runs from 15 August 2018 to 31 March 2019.

We think we may be obligated for the WHD scheme in future – what should we do?

If you think you will be obligated for the WHD scheme in the future, please read our guidance document and contact us at WHD@ofgem.gov.uk.

Please note that each domestic supplier is required to notify us of the number of domestic consumers it has on the 31 December preceding the start of a scheme year. We contacted suppliers requesting this information in January - February 2018 for scheme year 8 of the scheme (15 August 2018 – March 2019). We will contact suppliers in January – February 2019 with a view to establishing if you have obligations for scheme year 9.

We use that information to determine who is obligated and the size of their ‘non-core’ obligations.

We are happy to meet with all newly obligated suppliers to help them understand the scheme requirements and processes. 

How do we become a voluntary supplier for Warm Home Discount?

If you are interested in becoming a voluntary supplier for Warm Home Discount, please first refer to our guidance document which outlines how we administer the Warm Home Discount scheme and how we expect participating suppliers to comply with scheme requirements. Please note that voluntary suppliers only have an obligation under the Core Group, and must comply with all aspects of the Core Group for the relevant scheme year. For any questions and to express an interest in becoming a voluntary supplier for Warm Home Discount, please email WHD@ofgem.gov.uk.

How do we set up an Industry Initiative?

If you are an obligated supplier under Warm Home Discount, you can meet part of the ‘non-core’ spending obligation through Industry Initiatives.

These are activities which help fuel poor customers in ways other than providing energy bill rebates. They can often be delivered in partnership with other organisations, using funding from energy supplier(s). They can last over the course of a scheme year, or extend across multiple years.

See our guidance document for further information on Industry Initiatives.

An Industry Initiative must be an activity permitted under Schedule 4 to the Regulations. Examples include:

  • Providing energy advice.
  • Paying organisations to refer customers who are in fuel poverty or a fuel poverty risk group and are, or may be, eligible to receive assistance through the WHD or for any other assistance from the supplier.
  • Providing benefit entitlement checks and/or assistance in claiming benefits.
  • Providing energy efficiency measures, thermal efficiency measures, energy efficient appliances or micro generation.
  • Funding training for people to provide energy advice.
  • Providing assistance with energy debts, as part of a package of measures aimed at giving customers long-term relief from fuel poverty.
  • Provision of rebates to eligible occupants of mobile homes.
  • Providing energy advice or energy efficiency measures to customers in off-gas grid homes, living in households with a person who has a significant health problem or disability, or living in communities where residents are wholly or mainly in fuel poverty.

For fuel poverty organisations

We want to deliver an Industry Initiative – how do we get some funding?

Third parties wishing to deliver an Industry Initiative in conjunction with a compulsory participating supplier should first familiarise themselves with the eligibility requirements and process, as set out in our guidance document.

Different energy suppliers have varying approaches to Industry Initiatives, and so organisations are encouraged to contact suppliers directly with proposals for projects. In order to help facilitate these discussions, Ofgem runs events with obligated parties and other stakeholders to make connections and discuss proposals. If you are interested in attending one of these events, contact WHD@ofgem.gov.uk.

Where can we find the notification template?

Please contact WHD@ofgem.gov.uk for a copy of the notification template used by energy suppliers to gain approval for specific Industry Initiatives.