THOUSANDS of energy customers have started to receive £150 free cash to help with their energy bills this winter.
The free cash is available to help those on the lowest incomes struggling with the rising costs of energy.
Households in England and Wales don't need to apply to get the cash and they'll automatically qualify if they were receiving certain benefits on or before Sunday, August 21.
Through the Warm Home Discount, households get £150 off their electricity bill each winter.
It's up to individual energy companies to decide when they will give their customers the discount.
And now six energy companies have told The Sun that they have started paying eligible customers.
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British Gas, Bulb, Shell Energy, EDF, Octopus Energy and Scottish Power have started crediting the £150 bill discount to customer accounts.
But don't assume you'll get the money straight away.
Most of the energy firms are testing their systems which allow them to process the payments and some have only paid a handful of their eligible customer base.
For example, Octopus Energy said that it has just completed the payment to a few thousand customers to test that everything is running smoothly.
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The firm has said that it intends to ramp up paying the remainder over the next couple of weeks.
Energy suppliers have until March 2023 to ensure that all eligible customers are paid the discount.
Customers will be able to see if they've received the cash by looking at their latest account statement.
The government is sending out letters on behalf of energy firms to ensure that energy customers know that they're eligible for the cash.
Eligible households should automatically receive a confirmation letter between November 2022 and mid-January 2022 – so keep an eye out.
Customers can also check on the government website to see if they're eligible for the discount even if they haven't received a letter yet.
But those that think they're eligible for the Warm Home Discount are being urged to wait until mid-January before getting in touch through the government's hotline.
At this point, households should call the Warm Home Discount hotline on 0800 107 8002 before 28 February 2023.
What is the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount is an automatic £150 discount off their energy bills.
You'll need to be a recipient of one or more of the following benefits to qualify:
- Income support
- Income based jobseeker's allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Universal credit
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credits
- Pension credit guaranteed
- Pension credit savings credit
If you aren't claiming any of the above benefits on August 21 you won't be eligible for the payment.
What about Scottish households?
The Scottish Government has refused to renew their Warm Home Discount scheme in-line with England and Wales' new application-free scheme.
Households in Scotland will have to follow the rules set out in the legacy scheme.
This means they'll likely still be a "core group" that'll receive an automatic payment and a "broader group" who'll have to apply for the scheme with their energy provider.
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You'll need to check with your energy supplier directly to see the eligibility requirement and details on how to apply.
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