To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners who do not receive the Warm Home Discount as a result of being customers of a supplier with fewer than 250,000 customers; and whether his Department plans to extend the obligation to provide that discount to smaller energy suppliers.
On 15 June, Government announced that it will lower the threshold for suppliers’ participation in the scheme from 250,000 down to 150,000 customer accounts between 2019 and 2021. From 2021, if the scheme were to continue, Government will review the threshold, with a view to continuing to reduce it, if the evidence supports this approach. A gradual approach will ensure that smaller suppliers have enough time to put the right processes in place to take part in the scheme and reflects the increasing maturity of challengers in the energy retail market.
Of the roughly 1.4m Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit recipients, over 1.2m receive the Warm Home Discount automatically on their energy bills as a result of being with a participating supplier and being named on the energy bill. We estimate that roughly 60,000 pension credit guarantee credit recipients who would be eligible under the scheme do not receive the rebate as a result of being with a non-participating supplier. As a result of the changes introduced, 20,000 more pensioners in 2019/20, and an additional 10,000 pensioners in 2020/21 could benefit from the scheme, if the eligibility criteria were to continue in their current form.