Everything you need to know as energy bills set to rise for millions – including meter readings and grants | The Sun
ENERGY bills will rise by hundreds of pounds a year for millions of households – here's everything you need to know before the hikes.
Costs will jump from £1,971 to £2,500 a year for the typical household from October 1 under the government's energy price guarantee.
The guarantee means bills will be frozen for two years, and the government claims it will save the average household £1,000.
It will help ease the squeeze for millions, as energy costs were set to rocket to £3,549 this winter before the cap was put in place.
Here's everything you need to know before the bill hikes.
How to calculate your actual bill this winter
Experts have warned that some bill payers remain confused over the energy price guarantee – and it could mean they're slapped with a bill sting this winter.
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Some customers think that £2,500 is the absolute maximum that you can be charged on your bill.
But that's not the case – the cap is placed on what firms can charge customers for the unit price and standing charge per unit of energy.
If you use more, you'll pay more, and if you use less, you'll pay less.
There are ways to calculate exactly how much you'll pay under the guarantee, based on your actual usage.
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You can use MoneySavingExpert's new calculator to do this – you'll need your annual energy usage in kWh (you can find this on your bill usually) or enter your monthly spend.
Entering your annual energy usage will show the most accurate results and you'll need to select your region too.
Take a meter reading
Around 24million people are being urged to take an energy meter reading before bills rise tomorrow.
This applies to customers on traditional meters – you don't need to one if you're on a smart or pre-payment meter.
Customers are being urged to take a meter reading so they don't get overcharged for their energy usage.
If you don't submit readings to your supplier, they'll estimate your usage – which can usually be higher than what you actually use.
You could end up being charged more as a result, so by taking a meter readings,this will ensure you are billed correctly for your usage up until now ahead of the price rise.
Taking a picture of your meter reading and send it to your supplier as evidence.
Read our handy explainer on how to check your meter.
Apply for grants
Your energy firm might run a hardship fund to help you cope with the impact of price rises.
For example, British Gas has a scheme offering customers up to £750 to put towards energy debts.
Octopus Energy gives out grants of up to £500 to struggling customers.
Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- 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 could also get in touch with your local council to see if they are still running the Household Support Fund, although many of those schemes have closed.
Charities and other organisations often offer grants and you might be able to spend that money on energy costs.
You can search for these kind of grants on the Turn2Us website.
Turn off energy guzzling appliances
Households might not know that some appliances cost a small fortune to run.
Computers, games consoles and security lights are known as "vampire appliances", because they use so much energy, even on standby.
Leaving these appliances on could be costing you more than £500 a year.
The worst appliances include:
- Fridge freezers: adding £150 a year to bills
- Game consoles: adding £40 a year to bills
- Washing machine: adding £40 a year to bills
The best thing to do is turn these appliances off properly by switching themoff at the plug when you're not using them.
You should also use the energy saver mode settings – this will help lower your bills.
Get clued up on the £400 energy bill discount
All households in England, Scotland and Wales will get a £400 energy bill discount.
It will be paid in six monthly instalments from October until March 2023.
Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their bills in October and November, and £67 in December, January, February and March.
It's up to energy suppliers to dish out the discount – and how they will pay it varies.
British Gas, EDF Energy, Ovo Energy and Scottish Power have confirmed they will credit the discount to customers' bank accounts for those paying their bills by direct debit.
Bulb, E.ON and E.ON Next, Shell Energy, Octopus Energy, So Energy, Utilita and Utility Warehouse will not pay the discount into customer bank accounts.
Update address if on prepayment meter
If you are a prepayment meter customer, it's important to check if your address is up to date – or risk missing out on the £400 energy bill discount.
The discount will be automatic for those who pay their bills by direct debit or quarterly, and smart prepayment meter customers.
While some energy companies will be applying the discount directly to customers' credit meters, others will be giving vouchers for customers on traditional prepayment meters to redeem.
Vouchers will be sent by suppliers either in the post, via text or by email on the first week of each month over the six month period from October.
That's why you must check your contact details are up to date with your supplier – otherwise you could miss out on the help.
Find out how your supplier will be paying your discount here.
Insulate your home
Draught-proofing is one of the most effective ways to save energy and money.
By blocking gaps that let cold air in and warm air out, you won't need to pop the heating on as high, or as long, when the cold weather hits.
This is inexpensive to do – rolls of draught seal cost around £5 from DIY stores.
Insulating your home and appliances is another good way of reducing your bill.
A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £15, and you can fit one yourself at home without needing to be a dab hand at DIY.
In your boiler's case, it means it won't waste energy coming to temperature as less heat can escape.
And your water will stay hotter for longer so you won't need to spend as much time with the heating on.
Check if you can get free home improvements to cut bills
Thousands of households can apply for free home improvements – and the measures could save you up to £520 on your bills.
Councils run schemes where you can apply for energy efficiency grants worth up to £10,000 to make your home greener.
If you're eligible for the help, you can get your home fitted with insulation, double glazing, solar panels and energy efficient doors.
In most areas, homeowners must have a total income of less than £30,000 to get a full £10,000 grant.
If your income is less than £30,000 then you could receive up to £10,000 in the offered grant.
If your household income is more than £30,000 a year you can qualify for up to £5,000 of grant funding.
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