Successful year for Warm Home Discount scheme
04 Jan 2013
SSE will give £50 million of help to around 400,000 vulnerable customers in this financial year under the Warm Homes Discount scheme.
This includes help for 80,000 ‘broader group’ customers against a target of 65,000.
SSE has achieved this through ongoing promotion by our front line Advisors, working with external partners to help us identify vulnerable customers and through a number of campaigns where we have proactively contacted customers to promote the scheme and encourage them to apply.
Under this scheme, two groups of customers – a ‘core’ group of pensioners and a ‘broader group’ of other vulnerable customers – are given £130 to help with the cost of energy over the winter. Over 219,000 of our customers have received Core Group rebates to help with their winter bills.
Under the rules of the scheme we are required to verify eligibility of a percentage of customers in advance of payment and all payments must be allocated to accounts prior to 31 March 2013. In order to progress these activities, SSE has today closed the 2012/13 Broader Group to new applicants.
Customers who contact SSE after today can still apply for the 2013/14 scheme when SSE’s commitment to helping vulnerable customers will increase further to £52m.
Frances Muller, Head of Priority Services at SSE commented: “SSE is committed to supporting vulnerable customers.
“Delivering this support includes the challenging task of identifying vulnerable customers in need of our help.. We are therefore extremely proud to have delivered on these targets and exceeded our obligation in terms of identifying customers for our Broader Group. This has been done through the hard work of our highly trained advisors and partnerships with local authorities and charities.
“The message for any customer in need of support is simple: get in touch with us and we will find a way of assisting you. We also provide other forms of year-round assistance including the provision of energy efficiency measures, Annual Energy Reviews and tailored payments plans.”
Notes to editors
About the Warm Homes Discount
The WHD scheme, designed by the Government and delivered by all major energy suppliers, has four distinct parts, each with bespoke targets:
- A core group” of customers, designated by Government, who are provided with rebates of £130 through data sharing with the Department of Work and Pensions
- A “broader group”, which SSE and other suppliers have some discretion with which to define eligibility criteria, are also provided with a £130 rebate
- A group of customers previously helped through voluntary assistance programmes (defined as the “Legacy Group”)
- Support through “industry initiatives” such as benefit entitlement checks, hardship funds, energy efficiency measures and partnerships with external organisations which assist those in or at risk of fuel poverty.
Continuous, year-round support for vulnerable customers
While significant, the Warm Homes Discount rebates are not the only way in which SSE helps vulnerable customers. Customers having difficulty paying their bills should contact us to see if they could benefit from the other forms of assistance we offer, including:
- Insulation – SSE assisted over 300,000 homes with insulation in 2012 through Government energy efficiency programmes. From January 2013, SSE will be delivering such measures through the new Green Deal and ECO schemes
- Annual Energy Reviews – every SSE customer is being offered an Annual Energy Review to make sure they are on the best tariff for their needs, paying for their energy in the most effective way, and accessing any benefits or support they might be entitled to. Vulnerable customers are being prioritised during this process
- Tailor-made payment plans – SSE currently helps almost 600,000 customers through payment plans designed to suit their needs
- SSE's appliance scheme – offering £2.5 million worth of free A-rated appliances to enable vulnerable customers to reduce their energy consumption
- SSE's hardship scheme – providing £2 million additional support to vulnerable customers on low income; SSE is working to build even better working relationships with agencies in the community in order to identify and help more vulnerable customers in this way
- Collaboration with other agencies – SSE continues to build on partnerships with external organisations such as CAB, NEA and others to fund initiatives such as Energy Best Deal and Big Energy Savings Week. These help provide valuable advice and assistance to energy consumers
- No Winter Disconnections – for the winter period (December to February), SSE will not disconnect the gas or electricity supply of any customer, unless there are issues of safety or criminality involved
About SSE plc
SSE plc is one of the UK’s leading energy companies, involved in the generation, distribution and supply of electricity and in the extraction, storage, distribution and supply of gas. Its core purpose is to provide the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way. It supplies energy to around 9.60 million energy and home services customers throughout Great Britain and Ireland, is frequently ranked number one for customer satisfaction* and is one of the UK’s leading generators of electricity from renewable sources.
*uSwitch.com, Institute of Customer Service, Consumer Focus