What is the Warm Home Discount scheme and how do I qualify for it?
What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?
The Warm Home Discount is a government scheme that gives extra help to people struggling with their energy bills. The scheme means that, if you're getting Pension Credit or are a low-income household, you could qualify for a one-off discount of £140 on your electricity bill, usually made between October and March. This doesn't affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
RAM Energy are part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme for the Core Group. This scheme is only mandatory for energy suppliers to offer once they reach a customer base of 250,000.
As is it our mission to eradicate fuel poverty, we have opted into the scheme voluntarily before reaching the 250,000 threshold.
You qualify for the Warm Home Discount with RAM Energy if on 8th July 2018 all of the following applied:
- Your electricity supplier was part of the scheme
- Your name (or your partner's) was on the bill
- You were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well).
If you meet the criteria for the Warm Home Discount rebate under the Core Group, you will receive a leter from the Department of Work and Pensions letting you know that you qualify.
All eligible customers should receive a letter by 7th December 2018. If you think you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount but have not received your letter by this date you can contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme helpline on 0800 731 0214, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Find out more about the scheme and check if you're eligible on the Government website - Warm Home Discount Scheme.
What are Winter Fuel Payments and do I qualify?
If you were born on or before 5 July 1952, then you could receive between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills. Winter Fuel Payments are made automatically between November and December if you have a state pension or receive another social security benefit (not including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).
What are Cold Weather Payments and do I qualify?
Cold Weather Payments are made in specific circumstances, when the temperature outside is recorded as, or is forecast to be, an average of 0°C or below over seven consecutive days. If you qualify, you’ll get a payment of £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
In order to qualify, you must have a state pension or receive another social security benefit (but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit). To find out more and check your eligibility, you can visit the government’s Cold Weather Payment information pages.
What are third-party deductions and do I qualify?
If you’re on certain benefits and are having difficulties clearing fuel debts, you can arrange to pay them straight from your benefits. Payments like this are known as ‘third-party deductions’ – you may have previously heard of them as ‘Fuel Direct’.
You can qualify for third-party deductions if you are on one or more of the following benefits:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
The deductions work as follows: every time your benefits are paid, £3.65 from each one will be taken off to pay off the debt you owe. An extra amount will also be taken to cover your bills in the future. The Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre decide on the amount. If it’s less than 25% of your benefits, the money can be deducted without you agreeing to it. You’ll be told what the amount is going to be, and if it’s going to change. If the amount is going to be more than 25% of your benefits, then you’ll be asked to agree to the deduction first.
Paying for your debt in this way can often be cheaper and more convenient than paying through a pay-as-you-go meter
I’m having problems paying for my gas and electricity, what should I do?
Don’t panic – we can help. Speak to one our customer services team for free on 0800 121 6699 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday or between 9am to 5pm on Saturday. They’ll listen to your concerns, find out about your situation and then give you advice about the payment options that could help you out.
There are also a number of independent organisation that can support you if you’re having difficulties paying for your energy bills.
- National Debtline - a free service offering debt advice. Call Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, or Saturday from 9.30am to 1pm on 0808 808 4000.
- Citizens Advice - a free advice service for consumers. In England call 03444 111 444, in Wales call 03444 772020 and in Scotland call on 0808 800 9060.
- Money Advice Trust - a charity that helps people to tackle debts and manage their money wisely.
- StepChange - a charity offering free advice to help people overcome their debt problems. Call 0800 138 1111.
Where can I get independent advice on utilities and energy efficiency?
There are a number of organisations you can contact for advice:
- Advice UK - an umbrella organisation that lists community organisations that can offer free and impartial advice.
- Energy Saving Trust - free advice and information given to people looking to save energy, conserve water and reduce waste. They can also help you find grants for energy-saving measures, such as cavity wall and loft insulation, and renewable energy sources. Call 0800 512 012.
- National Energy Action (NEA) – an organisation that develops and promotes energy efficiency services to help low-income households.
- Ofgem - the regulator for UK gas and electricity suppliers, which works to promote choice and value for all customers.
- Ofwat – the regulator for water and sewerage providers in England and Wales, working to promote choice, good-quality service and value.
- Warm Front - works to make homes warmer, healthier and more energy-efficient. The Warm Front Scheme is a government-funded initiative that provides grants for insulation and heating improvements. If you own your home or rent it from a private landlord, you may be eligible – call 0800 316 2805 to find out more.