Neil Coyle MP Our ref: MCB2023/01405
House of Commons Your ref: NC30644
27th February 2023
Thank you for your email dated 12 January to the Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of your constituent, Mervelee Myers of 16 Alma Grove, London SE1 5PY, regarding the Warm Home Discount. Your email has been passed to this Department and I am responding on behalf of the Department.
The Government has extended and expanded the Warm Home Discount, which means that a further 800,000 households will receive a rebate each winter across Great Britain. Over 3 million households this winter will receive a rebate. The Government has also reformed the Warm Home Discount scheme in England and Wales to provide more rebates to fuel poor households and provide the majority of rebates automatically, without households having to apply.
Under the previous scheme, households could apply to their energy supplier for a rebate under the Broader Group. While there were minimum eligibility criteria for the Broader Group based on receipt of means-tested benefits, energy suppliers could set their own additional criteria, including receipt of other benefits, household income, or having a disability. Eligibility varied between suppliers and households often had to apply for a rebate, which were often awarded on a first-come, firstserved basis. Households were not guaranteed to receive a rebate, even if they met their supplier’s eligibility criteria.
From this winter, there are two ways that customers in England and Wales can qualify for the Warm Home Discount. In either case, the recipient of the benefit, their partner, or a DWP Appointee must have been named on the electricity bill or account of a participating energy supplier on 21 August 2022.
The first way is ‘Core Group 1’, previously known as the ‘Core Group’, which has been a feature of the scheme since it began in 2011. Households eligible under this cohort are those in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.
The second way is ‘Core Group 2’, for households on low incomes living in properties which are high cost to heat. This replaces the previous Broader Group. Households eligible for a rebate under Core Group 2 are those in receipt of a meanstested benefit and whose property has a high energy cost score based on certain property characteristics: the type of property, age of property, and floor area of the property. The Government primarily uses property data from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The Government uses an algorithm based on the property characteristics to assign properties an energy cost score, and those with an energy cost score above a threshold meet the criteria. This eligibility criteria allows us to focus the support to households on the lowest incomes living in properties with the highest heating costs and therefore at greater risk of fuel poverty.
If a householder believes that the information we hold on their property is inaccurate, they may wish to call the Warm Home Discount helpline to provide alternative information in the form of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Households can check whether they may be eligible online at: https://www.gov.uk/check–if–youreeligible–for–warm–home–discount. Details on how to contact the helpline can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/the–warm–home–discount–scheme.
My officials have checked Ms Myers’ case with the Warm Home Discount helpline. If she is not in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, she is not eligible for a rebate under Core Group 1. Based on the property characteristic information from the VOA and her EPC, her property has a low energy cost score. Therefore, Ms Myers would not be eligible for a rebate this year under Core Group 2 either.
I want to assure you and Ms Myers that the Government recognises that households may need immediate support this winter. The Government has confirmed further support to help households with the cost of living, including through the Energy Price Guarantee. This comes on top of the support announced earlier this year, including the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme, £150 Council Tax rebate, and Cost of Living Payments. The Chancellor has also announced further Cost of Living Payments for 2023-24, alongside other support. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/autumn–statement–2022–cost–of–livingsupport–factsheet/cost–of–living–support–factsheet.
Information on help with energy bills can be found at: https://helpforhouseholds. campaign.gov.uk/help–with–your–bills/. Advice on the support available for improving energy efficiency and reducing energy bills can be found on the gov.uk site ‘Find ways to save energy in your home’ at: https://www.gov.uk/improve–energy–efficiency or by calling 0800 444202. There may also be local support provided by Ms Myers’ local authority.
Ms Myers may also wish to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service, who provide free, confidential, and impartial advice on consumer issues, via their website at www.adviceguide.org.uk or by calling 0808 223 1133.
Thank you for writing to highlight Ms Myers’concerns. I trust this information will be useful.
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