CSE response to Warm Home Discount Scheme consultation
24 August 2021
CSE has responded to the Government’s consultation on the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme, looking at proposals for extension, expansion and reform from 2022 to 2026. The WHD scheme is an obligation on energy suppliers to provide rebates to customers on the energy bills of low-income and vulnerable customers and tackle fuel poverty.
As a leading provider of advice and support to people suffering from cold homes and high energy bills, CSE has significant experience supporting the very groups this consultation will impact.
Key points from our response to the consultation include recommendations for appropriate support for disabled people. Ian Preston, head of household energy at CSE said; “The current WHD proposals exclude disability benefits from the broader group which now becomes core group 2. At the same time, other scheme proposals like ECO 4 also exclude non-means tested benefits, potentially resulting in no WHD and no energy efficiency support for disabled households.
“The government’s ECO 4 consultation says that ECO flex could pick these households up, but we need clear assurances to ensure no one falls through the gaps. Many people on disability benefits have high energy bills because they need to keep their homes warmer, have additional costs for laundry or running medical equipment.
“In the absence of much needed funding to improve the energy efficiency of homes, we suggest WHD Industry Initiatives (WHD II) provide specific support to those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, or Attendance Allowance.
“Alongside the provision of energy advice and debt clearance, we recommend the WHD II provides support for heating repairs - for which no funding is available currently - and minor energy efficiency measures like draught-proofing, door replacements, secondary glazing and replacement appliances.”
Support for households
There is no doubt that many householders are in desperate need of this kind of support. In the last financial year, we saw a 43% increase in enquires to our Home Energy Advice line saving people in fuel poverty almost £3m (£2,761,712) on their energy bills, an average of around £190 per household. The vast majority of these clients were either in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty and a significant proportion had a listed health condition.
Most of our advice work is with households who are eligible for either the existing core or broader group of the Warm Home Discount. Over £300,000 of the savings we achieved for households in 2020-21 were through the WHD scheme.