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Energy Advice

The news over the last few months has been daunting. Talk of the energy price hike, not knowing if or when you should fix, and energy suppliers going bust. All of us have been left wondering what’s to come.

Written by
Danielle Hicks
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From April 1st, there's been a change to the 'price cap' on energy bills. For the average household, it could see energy bills rise from £1,277 a year to £1,971 a year, an increase of around £60 per month, with it possibly rising again in October to an extra £100 per month.

It's hard not to worry, but we're here to support you. Whether you’d like advice on how to keep your home warm on a budget, or support with managing your bills, we’re here to help. Our teams have put their heads together to provide you with their best advice on the current situations and what support you can access.

  •  Try to be prepared for your bills to increase significantly. These are difficult times and household budgets have never been tighter, but if you do go into debt with your energy supplier then you might not be able to switch to better deals if they become available later in the year. Try to prioritise your energy bills if you can. 
  • The best way to save money on your energy bills over the next few months is to focus on using less energy. Right now, you won’t find new deals to switch to that are lower than the price cap, except in very rare customer cases. This is because prices are so high globally, and they're expected to stay high for months. 

Did you know, we answered your questions live on air across all of our social media platforms on 7 February. If you missed it, don’t worry! You can catch up here:

We’ve also summarised the main points below:

Government Support

A package of support worth £9.1 billion to help households with rising energy bills across 2022-23 including:

  • A £200 discount on energy bills this Autumn for domestic electricity customers. This will be paid back automatically over the next 5 years
  • A £150 non-repayable Council Tax Rebate payment for all households that are liable for Council Tax in Bands A-D
  • £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax Rebate.
  • All households will receive a £200 cash discount on their bills this Autumn. The government will provide funding to all suppliers for them to pass on to customers from October
  • Customers will pay back the discount automatically in equal instalments over five years, starting from financial year 2023-24, when wholesale gas prices are expected to come down. This is expected to be reflected as an increase to standing charges on bills.
  • Households who are in Council Tax Bands A-D, not exempt from Council Tax, will be eligible for a £150 Council Tax Rebate payment from April this year
  • The rebate will be made by your local authority. This won’t have to be repaid.
  • If you pay by direct debit you’ll automatically get this payment. Each local authority has different guidance, which can be found here
  • People in receipt of the Single Person Discount in Bands A-D will be eligible for a payment of £150.

Other support available:

Warm Homes Discount is a government scheme opening on 18 October 2021 and it means you could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022.

The money is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.

To find out if you’re eligible, or to apply visit: Warm Homes discount

Starting on 1 November 2021, You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or mortgage support.

You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

To find out more information visit: Cold Weather Payment

Switching Advice

Thinking of switching energy providers?

Whilst switching may not be an option available to us right now, there are things that we can do to help save money in our homes. The Energy Saving Trust said that the price rise could be more than outstripped by changes to our homes and habits.

How we can help

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, we can help: Optivo - Money & benefits guidance*

For more energy tips visit: Optivo - Energy efficiency for residents