Bulb is in partnership with the UK government to provide rebates via the Warm Home Discount Scheme. As a responsible energy company with more than 250,000 customers, they have the capacity to provide such a benefit as not all energy suppliers are able to. The scheme was developed for those who would be affected in the winter months, particularly those who are vulnerable or have financial difficulties.
Carry on reading to find out more about Bulb’s Warm Home Discount offering. Also discover whether you may qualify for the benefit and queries commonly asked by customers. As always, we’ve got you covered!
What is the Warm Home Discount?
The scheme was created in 2011 in response to a growing concern for those in need of help during the colder months where heating and electricity is more in use. Multiple energy suppliers have partnered up with the UK government to cover their qualifying customers.
Not all providers are able or obligated to provide the discount. Moreover, of the smaller suppliers that do provide, they may only offer the rebate to the more vulnerable subsection of customers.
In a nutshell, upon qualification for the Warm Home Discount, customers receive a credit payment of £140 (inclusive of VAT) towards their electricity bill. As such, there are two methods of delivery. If you are a credit customer (i.e. Direct Debit or payment on receipt of bill) it will apply directly to your electricity account through your provider rather than your bank. On the other hand, for prepay customers, the discount is received as a voucher. The customer will then have to redeem at an appropriate outlet by topping up their electricity key with it.
Am I eligible for the Bulb Warm Home Discount?
There are two groups that prove eligible for the Warm Home Discount: Core and Broader. The former receives the benefit automatically, provided you are a qualifying customer of Bulb or another Warm Home Discount provider.
This method of delivery is in place to show the difference in vulnerability between the Core and Broader group. In contrast, the broader group will have to qualify but also have to actively apply to receive the Warm Home Discount.
Get £140 from the Warm Home Discount
Let us guide you through the Warm Home Discount and find you the right tariff that can also give you an additional £140 from the Warm Home Discount.
Core Group Eligibility
The Core Group contains Pension Credit customers, specifically those who receive the Guarantee Credit element. The Department of Work & Pensions will write to all qualifying Core Group customers in Autumn. This will notify those that they’ll be eligible as well as news of when they should expect to receive the rebate automatically when the time comes.
While the Bulb Warm Home Discount covers both groups, some smaller suppliers offer it to the core group only.
If you’ve found that you have not been contacted by December but feel you do qualify, please call the Government’s Warm Home Discount phone line on 0800 731 0214, Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm.
Broader Group Eligibility
There are multiple qualifying factors in order to receive the Warm Home Discount via the broader group. As part of this group, these are given out on a first-come first-served basis. You could be eligible for the broader group if you receive one of the following:
- Child Tax Credit that’s been awarded based on an annual income of £16,190 or less
- Council Tax Reduction with a total annual household income of £16,190 or less
- Housing Benefit with a total annual household income of £16,190 or less
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which includes a support or work-related activity component
- The Savings element of Pension Credit
- Universal Credit with an earned income of £1,349 or less in at least one assessment period since 1 October 2020
- Working Tax Credit that’s been awarded based on an annual income of £16,190 or less
At least one of the following must also be true:
- You’re responsible for a child aged 18 or younger – if they’re aged between 16 and 18, they must be in full-time education
- You’re aged 65 or older
- You get any UK armed forces benefit or pension
- You get a disabled child premium
- You get a disability premium, enhanced disability premium or severe disability premium (this includes Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance)
- You get a pensioner premium, higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium
- You get the ‘limited capability for work’ or ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’ element of Universal Credit
- You get the disabled child element of Universal Credit
- You get the disability or severe disability element of Child Tax Credit
- You get the Carer’s Premium or Carer’s Allowance for someone in your home
- You get the disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
Which group are you in?
Once you are aware of what group you are a part of, read on to find out your route towards help with you utilities this winter.
Claim Bulb Warm Home Discount in the Core Group
As stated above, if you are part of the core group, you should receive your notification and the benefit itself automatically. You aren’t required to apply.
Customers for the Bulb Warm Home Discount in the Core group will also receive their payment without having to do anything. However, in the rare case that you haven’t received yours yet and/or it’s overdue, you can check the following information to get a better idea of if there has been an error.
Firstly, you will need your letter from the Department of Work & Pensions. On this, locate your personal reference number. Check the following:
If your reference number starts with an ‘M’:
You shouldn’t need to do anything from here. Your discount will be automatically transferred onto your account or your voucher will be sent out to you.
If your reference number starts with a ‘U’:
The reason why you haven’t received your payment yet is because the Department of Work and Pensions don’t have information about who your electricity supplier is.
In order to correct this, contact the DWP over the phone or by post to give them your information. This will kick off the process. You must inform them of your Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN), which can be found on your bill, and your electricity account number, also on your bill.
This letter/call needs to have been completed by December at the latest. The application period will close in February of each year.
Claim Bulb Warm Home Discount in the Broader Group
If the above criteria points you towards the Broader group you will have to apply for the Warm Home Discount through Bulb directly. You can do this either by filling in their online application form or by contacting them directly.
The application window for the scheme generally opens from October of each year; however, each electricity provider has their own scheme opening times. To this course, make sure you check with Bulb directly to find when their application window opens. Furthermore, as it operates on a first come first served basis, you’ll need to act sooner rather than later to have the best chance of receiving the payment.
Note that if you have a mobile or park home you’ll need to apply through a slightly different method.
Alternatively, you can complete your application over the phone by calling 0300 30 30 635. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
With every application a declaration is also necessary. You may also need to provide proof of benefit to support your claim before the rebate is granted.
In all broader group cases it is better to go through the application process sooner rather than later. The scheme may close once they have reached their limit of applicants they are able to help each year.
What happens if I switch providers in the application window?
If you are currently in the process of switching energy providers but have applied for the Warm Home Discount your claim could be in jeopardy, whether it has been accepted or not. Worst case, you may lose out on it depending on the circumstances.
Core group customers will still be entitled to the rebate, even if the new provider isn’t participating in the scheme. If this is the case for you, merely contact DWP to make them aware of the change in supplier and retain your discount.
As a broader group customer, ensuring your discount is more of a dice roll, so to speak. Unfortunately, you will have to reapply with your new supplier, provided they also offer the Warm Home Discount, otherwise you’ll lose your claim this year. As mentioned, the rebate is awarded on a first come, first served basis. The sooner in the application window the switch happens the more likely it is you will be able to pick the claim back up.
Is the Warm Home Discount worth it?
A £140 discount on anything is, safe to say, welcome in most cases, especially when applied to utility bills. Even so, when considering it may not be your only option for saving money, there is no harm in questioning whether the Warm Home Discount is worth it.
What if switching your tariff or your overall energy provider can actually save you more?
An inevitable and justified question amongst this is “How are all of these providers able to give out so many £140 discounts every year?”. The answer is in the tariffs. In the UK, there are around 11million homes under the ‘Standard Variable Tariff’ (SVT). It is a premium, default offering assigned once a fixed tariff expires or you move into a new home. The SVT rates are usually the most expensive offered by the supplier.
In the Big Six’s case, the majority of their large customer bases are SVT users. These companies have the customer base big enough that they can afford the £140 for both Core and Broader groups from the premiums gathered from the SVT tariff. In Bulb’s case, their only tariff is a variable one. While not the standard variable like their industry counterparts; their business model allows for that provision to be provided nonetheless.
Illustrated below you can find a graph that shows how you could be making savings even without the WHD. By only making the switch to a provider without the Warm Home Discount.
*All quotes made on 05/09/2021 using 3,100 kWh of electricity and 12,500 kWh of gas per year in a London postcode with direct debit payment type.
For help switching energy providers, give Utility Switchboard a call on 020 3992 7717.
I am not eligible for the Bulb Warm Home Discount but still need help. What is available to me?
If you are not eligible for the Bulb Warm Home Discount still need support, they offer alternatives to help. To this end, Bulb is a participant of Ofgem’s (the UK’s energy regulator) Energy Company Obligation (ECO). What this entails is that Bulb will help fund energy saving improvements in low income households and those of vulnerable customers. In particular, upgrading boilers and/or installing insulation.
You can find the criteria for this scheme by clicking the following link:
Switching to Smart Meter, if you haven’t done so already can also provide some much needed savings and they are also installed at no additional cost. As long as you meet the simple requirements to receive one, it comes very recommended.
Contact the dedicated Warm Home Discount team
If you would like to talk to the dedicated central support team for the Warm Home Discount, you can get in touch with them via telephone or post. You’ll find both options below. Also you can call Utility Switchboard on 0203 992 7717.
Telephone: 0800 731 0214
Freephone available Monday to Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm (Closed bank holidays)