The UK Government has today confirmed the long-term future of the Warm Home Discount (WHD) energy rebate scheme which has been extended until 2026. Following a long campaign to extend and expand the programme, fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), has welcomed the news and says it will work with the UK Government to make good on their pledge to put affordability at the heart of energy transformation.
The Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme ensures the most vulnerable pensioners receive energy rebates automatically and are better able to afford to keep their homes adequately warm over winter. In February this year, NEA and Fair By Design (FBD) established a joint campaign calling for the UK Government to extend and expand the WHD scheme for at least three years.
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA comments:
“The Warm Home Discount scheme needs to support many more of the poorest working age households who are unaware of the support or miss out because there is insufficient budget committed. Eligible households should get the rebate automatically without needing to apply each year to their supplier.”
The UK Government has also pledged to put affordability at the heart of the UK’s energy transformation and will provide at least £6.7 billion in support to the fuel poor and most vulnerable over the next 6 years.
“It’s very welcome the UK Government recognise that fuel poor households must be supported throughout the transition to net zero. Today is an important step in that direction. However, putting affordability at the heart of the UK’s energy transformation means more than just a rebate on bills and we will continue to argue for the interests of the most vulnerable households to be at the heart of energy transformation.”
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- Contact: Sarah Wright, Head of Communications, NEA: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to editors
- National Energy Action (NEA) works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that everyone in the UK can afford to live in a warm and safe home. We aim to improve access to energy and debt advice, provide training, support energy efficiency policies and co-ordinate other related services which can help change lives.
- The Warm Home Discount scheme provides a payment of £140 (inclusive of VAT) 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. Currently, there are two ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme rebate:
- Being a low-income pensioner in receipt of the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit (known as the ‘Core Group’). This group receives the payment automatically and won’t need to apply to their supplier
- Meeting an energy supplier’s criteria, based on means-tested benefits, of being in a low-income working age household (known as the ‘Broader Group’). This group applies for the scheme on the supplier’s own application process
- A third element of the scheme allows suppliers to help fuel poor customers through third parties: this is known as the ‘Industry Initiative’. It can offer advice on energy saving and help with reducing energy debts. Whilst the UK government co-ordinates data matching to find households who are eligible for a rebate through the Core Group, the energy regulator, Ofgem, administers the Broader Group and Industry Initiatives.
- In February this year, NEA and Fair By Design (FBD) established a joint campaign calling for the following:
- The UK Government to extend and expand the Warm Home Discount (WHD) 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
- For all energy suppliers to implement the new WHD policy before the start of the new phase of the scheme in April 2021, and regularly liaise with customers to see whether the WHD is meeting their needs
- For those suppliers to continue making sure consumers have access to hardship grants, and energy/fuel debt advice.
Our full briefing, including costings and how our recommendations can be achieved, are found in an accompanying document found here: https://fairbydesign.com/news/whd-campaign/.