The Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has shared some top tips for saving money in the face of rising energy bills this Spring.
In an email to his Cheap Energy Club members, Martin warned that: “In April the price cap will go up by a once-unthinkable 54 per cent.”
This equates to an average increase of £700 per year for British households and has left many people fearing they will be left in poverty as a result.
As if that is not bad enough, rising wholesale energy costs mean another price hike of around 20 per cent could be just around the next corner, in October this year.
People are rightly concerned and Martin has responded with some advice about how to keep your expenditure down and where to find help.
Check out his top tips below:
1. Council tax rebate
A £150 council tax rebate for homes in England in bands A to D (about 80 per cent of homes) is due to be paid out in April.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak hopes this will go some way to mitigating the cost of the energy price hike.
2. ‘Discretionary help’ for those not due council tax rebate
Martin admitted a lot of homes are exempt from council tax and so will miss out on the rebate.
But there is another fund set aside for these people.
In his email to Cheap Energy Club members, Martin suggested he gave Mr Sunak the idea of setting up this discretionary fund of £144 million to be distributed by local councils.
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Martin wrote: “The Chancellor called me two days before the announcement to get my thoughts. He wouldn’t tell me what his plans were but did say: ‘Sadly no system is perfect’.
So, mindful of those excluded from Covid support, I said: ‘Then why not set up a discretionary fund for the edge cases?’ He perked up and said: ‘That’s a great idea’.”
3. Time to ditch the price cap and get a fixed rate deal?
For months, Martin has been advising people “to do nothing” when their current deal comes to an end, as you either stay on the price cap or move to it when your cheap fix ends.
Now the new price cap of 54 per cent has been revealed, what’s Martin’s advice?
He writes: “Again, it’s one of those to talk you through, so do watch my Stick on price cap or get a fix? 4-min video (courtesy of ITV), from Thursday (those on older cheap fixes, you’re likely best to stick with them, then watch this video for what to do when they end).
“To check what tariffs are available, use our Cheap Energy Club and also ask your existing provider what it’ll offer. Do remember to compare the actual rates, not the direct debit it’s offering to set (which depends on usage estimates).”
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4. Warm home discount upped by £10 and offered to 780,000 more people
People on low incomes are due a warm home discount, including pensioners.
The amount will go up by £10 to £150. Martin adds: “Not exactly huge since it’s been the same for eight years, while energy prices have more than doubled in the last year alone.”
The government also plans to extend the eligibility criteria so an additional 780,000 households will qualify, but we don’t yet know who.
Martin warns: “For this winter’s scheme, only E.on, E.on Next, Bulb and So Energy still have applications open, so go quick if you may be eligible – see warm home discount help.”
5. And finally, use less energy…
Martin writes: “Our energy saving tips help with the simpler stuff, such as turning your thermostat down and cutting shower time.
“But other ways to use less aren’t as clear-cut, such as whether to leave the heating on low all day – we’ve the pros and cons of this and more in our Energy mythbusting guide. And the team will be working on adding more tips soon.”
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