Money Wellness
a woman shivers under a blanket in her home, with a big heater
category iconcost of living
calendar icon22 Mar 2024

£74 million underspend in Warm Home Discount means people went without

Ofgem’s latest report on their Warm Home Discount scheme shows a £74 million underspend from 2022-23 on discounts to households across the UK.

Fuel poverty charities Fuel Bank Foundation and National Energy Action are outraged, stating that these funds could have paid for almost half a million Warm Home Discounts. Instead, many households went without.

What is the Warm Home Discount?

The discount is a one-off £150 discount off your electricity bill, paid from your supplier. It is available to households in England, Wales and Scotland.

Matthew Cole, head of Fuel Bank Foundation, said, “Charities such as Fuel Bank had to plug gaps when households simply didn’t have the cash they needed to get warm and stay warm, in particular over winter, and the update from Ofgem amplifies some of the concerns that we heard from our clients over the same period, that some households believed they had missed out on some of the support that was available, and it was complex to remedy this and to access the help that they believed they were entitled to.”

 National Energy Action’s head of policy Matthew Copeland said: “We completely accept that suppliers weren’t at fault on this, but we really need to have a look at what did go wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen in future scheme years. It’s unacceptable that half a million people who are entitled to a discount aren’t getting it.

Both charities have called for the discounts to be paid to eligible households.

During the twelve years of the scheme, obligated energy suppliers spent almost £444 million supporting eligible low-income households by providing the warm home discount.

This is an increase of 23% from last year.

Why did households miss out?

The are a few reasons households weren’t paid the discount, Ofgem says.

Fewer households than expected called the discount’s helpline when they didn’t automatically get the discount, and the report states it could be because some households might not have understood they were eligible as they’d already had other forms of support available over the winter.

Another reason for this is that if they weren’t named on the energy bill, they might not have rang the helpline as they thought they wouldn’t get any help.

 Am I eligible for the warm home discount?

You don’t need to apply as your supplier should apply this automatically to your account, but you can check if you’re eligible.

But hurry! If you’re entitled but haven’t had it yet, you can contact the helpline until 31 March 2024.

The scheme will reopen in October 2024.

 

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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