To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what is the average time taken between application and issuing of the Warm Home Discount scheme vouchers to people on prepayment meters.
For all payment methods, energy suppliers generally start issuing Warm Home Discount rebates in October in a scheme year and have until 31 March to apply the rebate to eligible customers’ energy bills. They may, however, provide rebates at any time before this deadline, with most rebates being provided to customers by January in a scheme year. These timings allow for the data matching process and eligibility checks to be undertaken and the delivery of over 2.2 million £140 rebates to vulnerable households when they need it most, around wintertime.
The Broader Group is the only application-based portion of the scheme, and it is administered by energy suppliers. Energy suppliers are responsible for arranging their own Broader Group processes and applying rebates to their eligible customers’ accounts, including deciding how customers can apply for a rebate, when to open for applications, how they verify applications, and when they pay rebates during the scheme year. They are not required to report on the number of rebates issued to customers broken down by the payment methods their customers use for their energy bills. We therefore do not hold data on the number of prepayment customers who receive the Warm Home Discount rebate.
We consulted last summer on reforms to the scheme that would enable the vast majority of customers to receive their rebate automatically, without the need to apply. This would reduce the time needed to verify customers’ eligibility. We will publish the Government’s Response in the spring, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.