Warm Home Discount
Under the Warm Home Discount scheme, Britain's main energy suppliers will be providing £1.1bn of support to their most low income and vulnerable customers. Around two million households are expected to benefit in each year of the scheme, which runs from April 2011 to March 2015.
Most customers who receive assistance under the Warm Home Discount will get a rebate on their bill, but suppliers will provide other forms of support too.
How the Warm Home Discount scheme works
Under the Warm Home Discount, vulnerable people and those on low incomes will be helped in a number of different ways.
Over half of the funding across the scheme, (around £580m) will go directly to the oldest, poorest pensioners through a rebate. The rebate is worth £130 this coming Winter and will rise in following years. Whether or not someone is eligible is determined by government, and depends on whether customers qualify for certain elements of pension credit.
Each supplier also offers the discounts to a broader group of vulnerable customers who apply for assistance. This is expected to help at least a further 364,000 vulnerable households this winter.
Suppliers also continue to fund other activities to help people through benefit entitlement checks, debt relief and energy efficiency measures.
Helping to reduce fuel poverty
Providing financial assistance to those in need may help tackle fuel poverty, more long-term solutions involve improving the energy efficiency of people's homes. This is why the Energy Company Obligation has been brought in.