Companies in the energy business have their tariffs fixed on the basis of a lot of considerations, based on demand and supply factors, the wholesale prices of gas, and the way the economy performs on the whole. However, there are special considerations given to consumers on the basis of their personal circumstances, their financial statuses and based on their age factors. These special considerations are called social tariffs, given that energy is available at cheaper rates for certain consumers, along with other free services that the businesses offer on a case-to-case basis. You could qualify for social tariffs if you are on benefits, you belong to the low income bracket or if you are over 60 years of age.
The social tariffs have been replaced by another mandatory scheme, which is called the Warm Home Discount, phased in over a four year timeframe. There would be an annual credit that eligible consumers would be able to enjoy, as facilitated by the energy organisations.
There are two broad categories under which the Warm House Discount may be applicable. One of them is the core group, where households are identified and chosen by the suppliers themselves, without the consumers having to apply for the discounts. The other category of social tariffs would involve application by the consumers based on the eligibility criteria set forth by the suppliers.
While the selection criteria for being eligible to social tariffs would vary from one energy supplier to the other and would have to be confirmed from the individual suppliers, it could broadly based on criteria related to financial or personal circumstances of the consumers and households. For instance, as per the guidelines released by British Gas, consumers would be eligible for the 'Broad Group" social tariffs, if they were to demonstrate qualification under any of the following criteria:
Apart from these broad financial criteria, consumers may be eligible for social tariffs if there were disabilities or vulnerabilities in their households, as in the case of households that had infants or children below the age or five, or where the consumer or their partner were aged above 60 years.
As has been mentioned, while the individual criteria set forth by the organisations may vary, the broad framework for eligibility would be on similar lines, which could include incapacity benefits, disablement allowance or industrial injury benefits.