MILLIONS of households face paying £139 more for energy bills, thanks to today’s energy price cap announcement.
But you can still save hundreds of pounds a year. We explain how.
Why are energy bills going up?
The energy price cap is set twice a year by the regulator Ofgem depending on wholesale costs, and as these have gone up, so has the cap.
It means bills for 11million households on so-called default tariffs will go up.
Prices will rise on October 1 from the current £1,138 to around £1,277 – the highest since the cap launched in January 2019.
“Wholesale energy prices have risen due to a rebound in usage after lockdown, and Ofgem, is reflecting these changes in how it calculates the cap,” energy policy expert, Justina Miltienyte, from Uswitch.com said.
Many experts are saying that the sooner you act, then the lower you can keep your costs.
We’ve put together six tips to save money on your energy bills that will hopefully help you keep those costs down and save you reaching into your pocket for extra funds:
Save hundreds by switching
Despite energy deals being at the highest level in nearly two-and-a-half years, a significant amount of money can still be saved by switching to a new tariff.
You don’t have to stay loyal to your current provider so if you've been with them for a while, make sure to shop around in case you can switch to a cheaper deal.
You could even save hundreds of pounds a year.
Alex Hasty, energy expert, at comparethemarket.com, said: “Households can save as much as £141 on average by switching to one of the cheapest deals on the market.
“With costs rising in all aspects of the economy, now could not be a better time to lock in a competitive deal.”
Justina from Uswitch also weighed in on the advantages of switching and said: “Now is the time to act in order to avoid being hit by this price rise, and to get protection from future market volatility.
“It takes just minutes to check what deals are available and switch to a cheaper fixed tariff.
“Switching today to the cheapest fixed deal on the market could save households £241 against the new cap, but customers should always check what’s cheapest for their own usage and region by running a comparison.”
Shave off money with Government schemes
Winter fuel payments
You could get up to £300 off your fuel payments during the coldest months of the year with the annual tax-free benefit that’s available.
You’re eligible for the money if you were born on or before October 5, 1954 or you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 21 to 27, 2020 – called the "qualifying week".
The winter fuel payments are made automatic for most people, usually in November or December, and you'll be sent a letter telling you how much you'll get and when exactly you can expect it.
The deadline to apply for this year has already passed as it was set for March 31, but you can apply for next years so long as you do so by March 31 2022.
Cold weather payments
Low income households can get £25 a week to help with energy bills during the winter thanks to the cold weather payment scheme too.
You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is zero degrees celsius or below over the space of a week.
You must receive pension credit, income support, jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, or Universal Credit to be eligible.
Payments should automatically be made into your bank or building society account within 14 days of the cold spell being over, so you don't need to apply.
You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment when next year’s scheme starts on November 1 this year so we’ll have more details on the scheme then.
Warm Home Discount scheme
You can also get a one-off payment of £140 with the warm home discount scheme.
It’s designed to help with the cost of your electricity bill through winter but it’s not paid directly to you.
Instead, it’s a one-off discount on your bill.
Not all suppliers participate in the scheme, so you should get in contact with yours to understand their discounts for this year.
The scheme doesn’t open until October 18 but after the date you should be able to get money-off your bills between October 2021 and March 2022.
The discount won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payments either.
You’ll either get the discount if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.’
Apply for a grant
If you’re struggling, you could apply for a grant to help cover energy costs too.
British Gas Energy Trust runs a scheme and you don’t have to even be a customer to apply.
Other firms that offer grants just to their customers include:
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF's energy customer support fund
- E.on's energy fund
- Npower's energy fund
- Ovo's debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power's hardship fund
You’ll need to get some debt advice before you apply for a grant as that will make your application more likely to be successful.
Charities such as Citizens Advice will be able to help you with this.
We’ve also come up with three energy saving tricks that can help lower bills.
There are loads of things you can do, so these are just a taster.
Install a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats can make your heating more efficient by only warming the rooms you are using.
They learn how long it takes to heat your home, so they can have it at the right temperature at exactly the right time.
They can also be controlled by your phone, which means you can control your energy from anywhere – stopping use if you forget before you leave the house.
Another bonus is that you can set it before you return too so won’t have to come back to a cold home.
If you installed room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves, you could save around £75 a year.
You should also turn down your thermostat to help save.
Uswitch’s guide to saving on your energy bill says that by turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £80 a year.
Buy efficient appliances
There are simple solutions to making savings on your energy bills too like investing in better appliances.
You won’t want to throw away what you already have if it’s already working perfectly fine, but when it comes to replacing a broken appliance, make sure to go for a high energy-efficient one.
Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com said: "As far as appliances are concerned, you should ideally be looking for white goods with the highest possible energy efficiency rating of A+++.
"And be aware that they still use power when they're plugged in even if they're not switched on, so make sure you switch them off at the plug.
"The Energy Saving Trust reckons you can save around £35 per year by doing this."
You could also look at installing a new boiler that has a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls.
You should also make sure you instal energy-saving lightbulbs – you won’t lose any light, and you’ll save money too.
Ben also said: "LED light bulbs come with lots of benefits, not least the fact that they could help save over a million tonnes of CO2 while also helping people save on their energy bills.
"While they might cost a little bit more in the short-term, they'll last for much longer.
"Research by the Energy Saving Trust shows if a typical UK household replaced all its old-fashioned bulbs with energy-savings bulbs, and halogen bulbs with LED spotlights, it would save around £30 per year.”
You can also install dimmer switches to tailor the amount of electricity you need with a slider on how much light you need in a room.
Having it low for low light will mean less energy and you only turn it up bright when you need it that way.
Insulate your home
Insulating your walls and loft as well as installing double glazing on your windows will help conserve energy in your home.
A lot of heat is lost through the walls and roof so it’s a good way to avoid wasting any money on the energy you won’t even benefit from.
You could also layer up and wear more jumpers, socks and slippers around the house to stop you from reaching for the heating switch everytime you feel cold.
Temporary insulation solutions are a thing too – you might have a pool or hot tub that you’ve been in and out of all summer long.
But making sure you cover it will keep the heat in and save you from over spending trying to re-heat it next time you fancy a dip.
To save on water too, you could insulate your pipes.
Uninsulated water pipes mean it takes longer for hot water to become hot while it’s running.
Some energy firms have schemes to give you cheap or free insulation too, especially if you're on a low income, as it's part of the Affordable Warmth scheme.
If someone living at the property qualifies for Pension credit, Universal credit, Child benefit, Carer's allowance and Disability living allowance you should be eligible.
E.on offers to install insulation to existing and non-E.on customers on certain benefits.
Plus EDF offers free loft or cavity wall insulation for existing customers on certain benefits.
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