Winter is on its way and with it comes the inevitable rise in energy use, which can only mean one thing - bigger energy bills. However, help is at hand for vulnerable or low-income pensioners and working-age people thanks to an expansion of the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which will now include 200,000 extra recipients.
The Warm Home Discount was launched in 2011 to help pensioners meet their energy costs and is funded by participating energy suppliers. Since the scheme began, the number of people eligible to receive a discount has risen year-on-year: this year marks the fourth increase, and over two million people will now receive the subsidy.
To receive the discount, you must be a customer of one of the participating energy firms. The big six are all involved (accounting for 90% of the UK's domestic market) along with some of the smaller, independent suppliers. You can simply contact your energy company and find out if they are a participant, or you can check out the Government's website.
Most recipients of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit should have the discount automatically deducted from their bills, so you may not need to take any action at all. However, for those who do not automatically get the subsidy, the Government will send you a letter detailing how to apply for the scheme.
Anyone else who thinks that they may be eligible for the discount should contact their energy supplier to find out if they fit the criteria.
Whether you are eligible for the scheme or not, taking steps to keep your energy bills a manageable size is always worth it. Try these tips to shave off the excess on your winter bills while still staying cosy throughout the colder months:
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