EDF Energy to cut bills for some by £30 this winter – Martin Lewis welcomes move but says 'it's not a game-changer'
EDF Energy will cut bills by £30 for some 260,000 of its customers who get the Government's Warm Home Discount this winter. But with a typical home paying £2,000 a year for energy, the one-off £30 discount is 'not a game-changer', says MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) founder Martin Lewis.
EDF will knock the £30 off bills by automatically adding a credit to eligible energy accounts (more on this below). It says that, in effect, this will reduce so-called 'standing charges' for those eligible from 87p per day to 56p per day on average for the period of January to March 2024.
Daily standing charges, which households pay just for the facility of having gas and electricity, have rocketed since the start of the energy crisis in April 2021 and EDF claims this will effectively lower them to pre-crisis levels for those eligible. The measure is part of a newly announced £40 million support package from EDF to help its most vulnerable customers this winter, which also includes funds to support customers in energy debt.
However, EDF hasn't gone as far as cutting standard charges permanently or for all of its customers. MPs recently backed Martin and MSE's calls for standing charges to be lowered. You can read more on Martin's views on this in his Why are standing charges so high? blog post.
For more info on the help you can get with your bills, whether you're an EDF customer or not, see our full What to do if you're struggling to pay for energy guide.
Martin Lewis: '£30 off bills is always welcome – but it's not a game-changer'
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, said: "Of course, we always welcome £30 off bills, especially for those who need it most.
"And indeed, this is a clever move by EDF. There is a real, visceral anger out there about standing charges – the energy poll tax – and the fact that even though energy prices are coming down, the regulator has put them up. So EDF linking its discount to standing charges is bound to get it good PR and possibly good feeling.
"Yet it’s still just a flat £30 off, while a typical home’s bill is £2,000, so it’s not a game-changer."
You'll get the £30 if you're an existing EDF customer and you received the warm home discount from EDF automatically last winter – see more info on who this covers below.
Unfortunately, this means you WON'T be eligible if you're a newly-joining customer, or if you live in Scotland and had to proactively apply for last year's warm home discount (this is known as the Scottish 'broader group').
If you qualify, the extra £30 will be credited to your energy account automatically in December – it will come as a separate payment to the £150 warm home discount. Prepay customers with traditional (non-smart) meters will get a voucher to redeem at the Post Office.
How the Warm Home Discount works
The Warm Home Discount scheme offers £150 to some people on low incomes who get certain means-tested benefits. After a shake-up of the scheme in 2022, households in England and Wales who are eligible should get the discount automatically – previously, some had to apply to get it. Many in Scotland will need to apply and some suppliers have already opened applications. The scheme isn't available in Northern Ireland.
To get the £150 discount, your supplier needs to offer it, plus you need to meet the eligibility criteria on the qualifying date – this year, that's 13 August 2023.
You should get it automatically if you live in:
- England, Scotland or Wales and you get the 'guarantee element' of pension credit. If you or your partner received this element on 13 August 2023, and your name (or your partner's) is on your energy bill, you should get the £150 rebate automatically. This is known as 'core group 1'.
- England or Wales, are on certain benefits AND have "high energy costs". If you received one of the qualifying means-tested benefits, such as Income Support or Universal Credit, on 13 August, you may qualify for the discount as part of what's known as 'core group 2' (see our Warm Home Discount guide for which benefits count).
You need to apply if you live in:
- Scotland and are on certain means-tested benefits. You will need to apply through your supplier. See our Warm Home Discount guide for more details.
- A park home in England, Wales or Scotland and receive Pension Credit. Some on other benefits may also qualify. The scheme is managed by Charis Grants on behalf of energy suppliers. You need to apply via the Charis Grants website (applications will open mid-October and we'll update this story when we have more details).
Funding is limited and applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you apply as early as possible to receive it each year.
- There is no Warm Home Discount scheme in Northern Ireland. See our Northern Ireland energy guide for other support you can get and tips for cutting your bills.
What other energy suppliers are doing to help customers this winter
Like last winter, several energy suppliers will be providing their customers with extra funding and support packages to help ease continued, excessively high energy costs this winter.
For example, E.on Next has announced it will offer those on low incomes up to 50% off their bills (alongside other help), while Ovo Energy will be giving away free energy-saving products as part of its Winter Support Package starting on 16 October.
We've asked other major energy suppliers what extra support they'll be offering customers this winter – for the latest updates and full info on the different support you can get, see our Energy bill help guide.