Warm Home Discount: The various government schemes which could help Britons reduce bills | Personal Finance | Finance
Energy bills are regular payments which break down the charges Britons incur for using utilities such as gas and electricity. As the weather cools, and people spend more time at home due to COVID-19 guidance, it is more likely energy bills will soar due to increased usage. But, for those who are worried about their level of spending, investigating the options at hand could help them knock hundreds or even thousands off their bill.
The Warm Home Discount enables Britons to get £140 off their electricity bill during winter 2020/21.
The money, while not paid directly to a person, serves as a one-off discount on electricity bills between September and March.
To be eligible to receive the discount, Britons must either be in the core or broader group.
The core group are people who are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, and these people should expect to receive a letter in the coming weeks, which will tell them how to get the discount if they qualify.
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If a person does not receive the letter and still believes they are eligible, they are encouraged to reach out to the Warm Home Discount helpline – which opens on October 12, 2020.
Broader group members are those who are on a low income and receiving certain means-tested benefits.
To apply, people will need to check with their supplier as early as possible, as the number of discounts available are limited.
Another support measure for energy bills is the Winter Fuel Payment, available to people born on or before October 5, 1954 who lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 21st – 27th.
These individuals could receive anywhere between £100 and £300 – dependent on their age, benefits, and living circumstances – to help with their energy bills.
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Those eligible should receive a letter telling them how much they will receive and when.
Most payments are made automatically between November and December, but if a person has not received the sum to which they are entitled by January 13, 2021, they should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.
However, even if a person does not qualify for Winter Fuel Payment, they could be entitled to a Cold Weather Payment.
This payment is available to individuals who are in receipt of particular benefits such as Pension Credit or Universal Credit, or those receiving help through the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme.
Cold Weather Payments are issued if the average temperature in a person’s area is either recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below or over seven consecutive days.
The government website explains: “You’ll get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.
“After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days.
“It’s paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments. Cold Weather Payments do not affect your other benefits.”
Once again, Cold Weather Payments are made automatically to those who are eligible.
Britons can check if the area in which they live is due to receive a payment in November 2020.
Those who believe they should receive a Cold Weather Payment and do not, have been told to reach out to their pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office.
Finally, for those claiming Universal Credit, help with utility bills is on hand through a variety of means.
The WaterSure programme caps bills for those with a water meter, and advice on reducing energy bills is available from Simple Energy Advice, Energy Savings Trust Scotland, and Bryson Energy.
Finally, the Affordable Warmth Obligation means those claiming Universal Credit and other particular benefits may be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to the home.