The news has been saturated with the latest information from Ofgem that our energy bills are set to increase dramatically.
On average the prices have increased by 54% with the energy price cap now offering Electricity at 28p per kWh and Gas 7p per kWh for those on a standard variable rate. It is thought that the average household payment will be £1971 and increase of £693 for over 18 million households according to Ofgem.
But what can you do to minimise the impact of these unprecedented increases? The good news is that there are financial supports available to help you pay your bills.
If you qualify for schemes like the Warm Home Discount or Winter Fuel Payment, then these can go some way in lowering monthly expenses and making it easier on yourself!
What grants and schemes are out there?
There are several easy to access grants out there that you should explore to help relieve the imminent energy cost increases. If you find it difficult to navigate the various government forms and criteria, help is available, Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Extra Help are all available to offer assistance. Simple Energy Advice can also offer you impartial and independent advice.
Cold Weather Payment
The government is paying you £25 every seven days if the temperature drops below freezing for an entire week. You can claim this benefit if your household gets certain benefits, so make sure to apply! Find out more about the Cold Weather Payment.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is eligible to people born on or before 26 September 1955. Eligible people who claim certain benefits can automatically receive between £100-300. The associated benefits include State Pension or some other another security benefits. Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount is offering a £140 one-off payment towards costs between October and March.
If you're a lower-income household, the Discount will be paid directly to your fuel provider who can then apply the discount on their behalf. All criteria and an overview is clearly laid out in the following link, Warm Home Discount information.
Household Support Fund
The government has announced in September 2021 a £500 million fun to be available to help vulnerable households in the country get back on their feet. The money is part of an emergency package designed with necessities like food and fuel. Household Support Fund.
Some energy suppliers will offer support packages to help you reduce you month to month costs. Get in touch with your supplier today to see what they can offer to reduce your costs. Some offer energy efficiency advice and free boiler checks that will help reduce your costs.
Other Ways to Reduce Energy Costs
It is crucial that you get in touch with your supplier should you think the financial burden of energy increases are getting out of control.
Now more than ever the big energy firms need to step up to offer help to their customers facing fuel poverty like never before.
The energy regulator, Ofgem decrees that all providers in the enrgy market have a duty of care to work with customers to resolve payment issues. Supplier options can include;
- A more lenient payment plan including payment holidays
- Access to hardship funds
- Access to the Priority Services register - The Priority Services Register is a free service to help people in vulnerable situations. Energy suppliers and network operators offer it, but each keeps their own register so you need contact your energy supplier or network operator for information on how get involved with this important initiative!
Become More Energy Efficient
It's been on everyone's 'to do list' for years but there's always something more pressing that bumps it further down that list.
The most recent increases and the prospect that they are around until at least 2023 should give you the financial impetus to finally prioritise these small changes that can save you some big bucks!
The Energy Saving Trust have calculated the following saving per year on making some small adjustments;
- Switch off all standby electricals like TVs and microwaves - Save £55
- Draught proof all gaps around door and windows. Save £40.
- Turn off lights - your Dad was right! Save £20.
- Drop your washing machine default setting down to a 30 degree cycle and ask yourself does every clothing item need to be washed? Save £20.
- Avoid tumble dryer, use clothes horses or natures way, outside in warmer weather. Save £55.
- Take a 4 minute shower. Save £65.
Top 3 Energy Bill Increase FAQs
What is the energy cap?
The 'energy price cap' is slightly misleading. It is NOT a cap on the total price you pay regardless of your usage. What the 'energy price cap' refers to is a cap on the standing charge and the unit price you pay, only for gas and electricity. New caps are; Electricity at 28p per kWh and Gas 7p per kWh. Your overall usage will dictate what you pay.
Should I fix my energy prices now?
It's a tricky question as there's always a risk. Consumer advice guru Martin Lewis is still advising to sit tight on the variable rate as the 'Fixed' deals are very expensive currently.
Will energy prices rise again in 2022?
Yes, there is another rise expected pending a review in October. It is thought that due to wholsesale prices showing no signs of slowing down price cap increases will be unavoidable in October. So be prepared.
Do Not Bury Your Head in The Sand
The cost of energy is on the rise like never before, and it’s important to be vigilant about these increasing prices. Do not bury your head in the sand; take some time to understand what options are available to you.
Many people don’t realize that there are grants and help available for those who need it. Also, be sure to implement the energy saving advice above now more than ever it is key in helping you balance the family budget.
Let us know in the comments below what tips you use to reduce energy costs, we would love to hear from you.
Header Image Pixabay
Voltage Meter Pixabay