MILLIONS of British Gas customer have two days left to apply for a £140 discount off their heating bills.
The energy firm offers struggling households the chance to benefit from the warm home discount scheme, but the deadline is fast approaching.
British Gas, which has 9million customers, confirmed that consumers need to get their applications in before 8am on Tuesday, January 11.
Requests made after that cut off point won’t be considered, and you could miss out on a £140 discount on your energy bills.
The warm home discount runs each year to help hard-up families with the cost of heating their houses.
If you’re not a British Gas customer, you could still get a discount through your supplier – but most other schemes are also closing soon so you should act fast.
We explain everything you need to know about British Gas’ warm home discount, including who is eligible and how to apply.
What is the warm home discount scheme?
The Government’s warm home discount scheme is a one-off payment of £140 that goes towards your heating costs.
You won’t be sent the cash as it is usually paid directly to your energy supplier which will then apply the discount to your bills.
But 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, although it could be paid early.
Who is eligible for the warm home discount scheme?
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.
People who fall under that group should already have been contacted by their supplier.
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.
British Gas’ deadline for households in the broader group is January 11.
In order to receive the money you must:
- Be in receipt of the savings or guarantee & savings element of the State Pension Credit – unless already qualifying as part of Core Group
- receive one of the following means tested eligible benefits:
- Income support
- Income based Jobseekers’ Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance (which includes a work-related activity or support component)
- Universal Credit (low income elements), and either the child element for children aged 5 or under, disabled child element or a disability or pensioner premium
- Have a gross annual household income of less than £16,190 and at least one of the following applies:
- The account holder is living with mental or physical disability or illness
- The account holder is of pensionable age
- There is a child living in the house aged 5 or under
- You spend 10% or more of household income on energy bills to heat your property
How can I apply for a discount from British Gas?
If you’re eligible for the discount, you should apply directly on the British Gas website.
You may need to submit evidence to prove you meet the criteria, so make sure you have the relevant documents to hand.
Customers who are approved for the scheme need to remain British Gas customers until the payment is made.
That means you shouldn’t switch energy suppliers until the discount is applied, which will be before March 31, 2022.
Remember, the British Gas scheme will close on January 11 at 8am so you need to act fast to secure the money off.
You need to apply again this year even if you’ve previously benefited from the scheme.
What other help is available?
If you’re not eligible for the discount or can’t apply in time, there is other help available.
British Gas customers who are struggling with their payments should let the supplier know as soon as possible.
The company has a £2million fund to help people who are at least £250 behind on their payments.
If you’re part of this group British Gas will get in touch with you directly and then you just have to apply online by March 31.
Other measures could include:
- Seeing if you can pay your bill by instalments
- Finding a better payment method or tariff for you – although this could be tricky currently as there are no cheap fixed tariffs on the market.
- Advising you on how to reduce the energy you use
- Installing a free pay as you go meter at your property
- Checking if the Fuel Direct scheme can help you pay a manageable weekly amount straight from your benefits
You may still be able to get a cold weather payment as well as the warm home discount – and this applies to non-British Gas customers too.
The cold weather payment is a £25 payout to benefits claimants when temperatures in their area fall below zero for seven consecutive days between November and March.
We have a full list of all the postcodes that have been so far confirmed as being eligible for the payment this year.
You don’t need to apply for the cold weather payment as it’s paid automatically.
But you can check to see if you can get a payment in your area.