Hard-up Brits urged to apply for £140 off energy bills as schemes start to close

HARD-UP families need to act fast to get £140 knocked off their energy bills as the support schemes are closing soon.

Energy firms offer the warm home discount to help low income families cover heating costs, but you don't have long left to apply.

The schemes are run on a first-come-first-serve basis until the allocated money dries up.

Suppliers including Scottish Power and EDF have already closed their schemes and are not accepting new applications.

British Gas customers have until January 11 to apply.

Other firms including Ovo Energy, which also covers SSE customers, are expecting to close within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Octopus is assessing each claim as it comes, as it has already gone 5% over its allocation limit.

If you miss the deadline, you'll lose out on the chance to get £140 wiped off your energy bills.

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It's particularly important to apply this year as heating and electricity costs have soared and are expected to jump by another £600 within months.

More than 20 energy suppliers have gone bust in recent months, but those customers should still apply for a grant if they're eligible.

Here's everything you need to know about the warm home discount scheme, including how to apply.

What is the warm home discount scheme?

The warm home discount scheme is a one-off payment of £140 that goes towards your heating costs.

It is usually paid directly to your energy supplier which will then apply the discount to your bills.

If you have a pre-payment meter, you'll be sent a £140 voucher that you can use to top up your account.

The discount will be applied before March 31 2022.

Am I eligible to receive the warm home discount?

There are two ways of receiving the warm home discount, depending on your financial circumstances.

If you get the guarantee credit element of pension credit, you're part of something known as the "core group".

This means you should automatically get the money off your bill and you don't have to apply.

There is also a "broader group", consisting of people on a low income.

You'll also have to meet other criteria, such as claiming Universal Credit.

Check with your supplier to find out who can apply as part of the broader group.

How can I apply for the warm homes discount?

If you're on a low income you can apply directly to your energy supplier if:

  • they are part of the scheme
  • you’re on a low income
  • you get certain means-tested benefits

To get the discount you’ll need to stay with your supplier until it’s paid.

The number of discounts each firm can give is limited and they're handed out on a first come first serve basis, so if you think you could benefit get your application in as soon as possible.

Which schemes are still open?

As the schemes are run on a first come first serve basis, some firms have already handed out their quota of discounts.

Customers of Scottish Power, Utilita, Utility Warehouse and EDF are out of luck as those schemes have already closed.

But other suppliers are still accepting applications.

You should apply as soon as possible as the firms confirmed that there is a limit to how many people will be approved.

Most firms have simply said to apply as soon as you can, but British Gas has confirmed that January 11 is the deadline for applications.

These suppliers are still accepting applications:

  • British Gas – apply here until January 11
  • Bulb – apply here
  • E.On – apply here
  • Octopus – apply here
  • Ovo – apply here
  • Shell – apply here
  • So Energy – apply here
  • SSE- apply here
  • Together Energy – apply here

If your supplier has stopped accepting applications – or you're not eligible – and you're struggling to pay your energy bills, it's still worth contacting them.

They might have other schemes available to help low income households, or they could agree to a more affordable payment plan.

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