The Warm Home Discount is intended to give eligible Britons £140 off their electricity bill to help with the costs associated with colder weather. The money is not paid directly to individuals and instead is applied as a discount to an electricity bill between September and March. Those eligible are individuals on a low income, or those receiving the Guarantee Element of Pension Credit.
However, research from comparison and switching service USwitch, has revealed more than two million households are thought to have lost out from benefiting under the scheme.
While older people on low incomes will automatically receive the discount, the broader group will have to apply.
But due to funds being allocated to these people on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, those who were slow to apply may have missed out entirely.
Under the Warm Home Discount scheme, the government has a set amount of money put aside to help those who may struggle with their energy bills.
It pledged to expand the sum of money available under the scheme to £475million from 2022/23.
This, it is thought, could help an additional 750,000 people, increasing the discount available to £150.
But USwitch has expressed concern over the two-year delay of implementation, which it says could continue to impact those who need support most.
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at USwitch.com, commented on the matter.
He said: “The government is making the right noises on possible reforms to the Warm Home Discount, but these can’t come fast enough.
“Ten years on from its launch, both the first come first served nature of the scheme, and its fixed pot of money, look increasingly outdated.
“The pandemic has thrown this issue into even starker focus, with so many more people finding themselves on the energy breadline and struggling to pay their bills.
“Many vulnerable people will have missed out on the Warm Home Discount this year, just because they applied later than the 1.2 million people who were quicker to join the queue back in summer.
“We now estimate that about 2.3 million households have fallen through the net this year, and this number is only likely to grow as the economic consequences of the pandemic leave an increasing number of people in fuel poverty.”
USwitch has now urged the government to take action when it comes to the Warm Home Discount.
Mr Neudegg concluded: “We are now calling on the government to standardise who should be eligible under the broader group and then simplify the process by providing the discount automatically, as already happens with the core group.”
A number of familiar energy providers have signed up to be a part of the scheme, including British Gas, E.ON and SSE.
However, Britons on a low income are warned they should check with their energy supplier to see if they can gain support and how it will be applied.