Thousands of vulnerable customers could lose £140 warm home discount if energy firm collapses

THOUSANDS of vulnerable and hard-up energy customers could lose the £140 warm home discount if their gas and electricity supplier collapses, according to uSwitch.

The discount gives millions of customers £140 off bills to help heat homes over the cold winter months.

To be eligible for the benefit you need to be over 62 and on certain benefits or on a low income.

If you're over 62 and on pension credit and your supplier goes bust then you will still get the discount automatically.

But if you're part of the broader group who get the discount (this includes those on a low income) then you may not be able to get it.

Ofgem will allocate you a new supplier – and some don't have offer the discount.

Energy firms may agree with Ofgem to pay the discounts, but they don't have to.

If you decide to switch and are part of this broader group, you will beed to reapply.

If you switch to a new firm then you need to check that they offer the discount.

If the energy firm does offer the discount then you need to then make sure that they've not closed applications for the discount.

You have until March 31 to apply – but suppliers have limits on the number of discounts they can offer.

This means that thousands could still end up missing out.

The comparison website uSwitch.com urged customers to check before switching.

While Citizens Advice warned that up to 2million have been affected by supplier failures since 2018.

It comes amid fears that four more suppliers could fail this week due to soaring energy prices.

Bulb, the UK's sixth biggest energy firm, has already confirmed that it is scrambling to find new funding.

There are four already known to have recently folded, including Utility Point and People's Energy.

What happens if your energy firm goes bust?

If your supplier folds, your energy won't be cut off and Ofgem will arrange an interim supplier so you won't have to go without.

Customers affected will be contacted by the new supplier, which will be chosen by Ofgem. 

With the recent fall of People's Energy, for example, Ofgem has appointed British Gas to take on supplying the provider's over 350,000 customers.

The new firm won't have to honour the deal you were on with your previous provider, but any credit on your account will be protected.

In the meantime, you should not switch to another energy supplier until a new one has been appointed, which can take several weeks.

Your electricity and gas supply will not be cut off while Ofgem finds you a new supplier.

It is recommended that you take a meter reading ready for when your new supplier contacts you though.

Charities also recommend keeping old energy bills and waiting until your new supplier is appointed before cancelling any direct debits.

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