Understanding your energy usage
Many people have been hard hit by the pandemic, and are now facing a tough winter due to rising food bills, higher petrol prices, the axing of the uplift to Universal Credit – and the ending of the furlough scheme.
On top of that, just as temperatures are starting to dip, households are seeing energy bills jump by £139 a year as Ofgem’s new price cap kicks in.
To make matters worse, the energy crisis has been causing disruption to supply chains, and a number of suppliers have gone under in recent weeks. As a result, many customers are now facing having to pay hundreds of pounds more to new providers taking over their contracts this winter.
But while this makes for gloomy reading, the good news is, there is support on offer. If you qualify for schemes, such as the Warm Home Discount or Cold Weather Payment, these can help you pay your bills.
Warm Home Discount
If you’re a lower income household, you may be able to apply for £140 one-off payment towards heating costs between October and March via the Warm Home Discount. Rather than being paid to you, money is paid directly to your energy provider which will then apply the discount to your bills. You will need to be in receipt of certain benefits to qualify. Find out more here.
Cold Weather Payment
This is a grant of £25 for every seven days of very cold weather between November and March, paid when the temperature drops below zero for a week. You may get the payment if you get certain benefits. For more information, head here.
Winter Fuel Payment
This is a payment of between £100 and £300 for eligible pensioners – depending on your age, and if you claim certain benefits. If you’re eligible, you will get this payment automatically. Find out more here.
Schemes offered by suppliers
Some energy firms offer schemes and grants to help with home heating and energy costs. This might include support when making your home more energy-efficient, or free boiler checks and upgrades.
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, it’s vital you talk to your supplier at the earliest opportunity.
Under rules from regulator, Ofgem, providers must work with you to agree on a payment plan. This could include:
As well as making the most of the help on offer, there are also lots of simple steps you can take yourself to bring energy costs down:
For more tips, visit the Energy Saving Trust.
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