Consumer Expert Reveals Best Freebies For Saving £570 On Rising Energy Bills
- Consumers are anxious about rising energy bills due to a global gas shortage
- 10 energy firms have gone bust in the last few weeks, leading to customers being moved to alternative suppliers
- Consumers may struggle with paying their bills due to the 12% price cap rise being introduced from 1st October
- Co-Founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, Tom Church reveals the top grants and help schemes available for those who are struggling with costs
Consumers across the UK are facing huge price hikes on their energy bills due to a global shortage of gas and a 12% increase in the price cap being introduced from 1st October.
The shortage has led to 10 firms going bust in the last few weeks, with consumers being switched to alternative suppliers. However, energy regulator Ofgem has reassured customers that they will not be experiencing any dip in their supply.
Price comparison sites are currently unable to offer deals for those who want to switch suppliers, as there are not enough tariffs available to choose from.
Co-Founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, Tom Church, said: ‘Consumers may be tempted to try and switch suppliers so they can pick up a better deal, but at the moment it’s best to stay put while there is still uncertainty about price rises.
‘You may find that a switch could end up costing you more, so your best bet is to get a solid plan in place for managing the price hike.
Tom shared eight tricks to reduce the impact of rising energy bills.
‘See if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Those who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit may get it automatically, but those who are on a low income and meet their energy supplier’s criteria may also qualify. Assistance can come in the form such as a voucher which can be used to top up a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meter, or a one-off discount up to £140 on an electricity bill between October and March. Those who receive both gas and electricity from the same supplier may be able to receive a discount on their gas bill instead. The list of participating energy suppliers can be found on the GOV.UK site, so if yours is listed then get in touch with them as soon as possible to see if you qualify.
‘Find out if you qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment. If you or someone in your household was born on or before 26 September 1955, you will be eligible for between £100 and £300 in order to help with the cost of heating bills. Those who fall into this category and who receive the State Pension or another qualifying social security benefit will receive the payment automatically, whereas others may need to make a claim. Find out how to apply on the GOV.UK site.
‘Make the most of Cold Weather Payments. As the winter months set in, the Government will pay a grant to those who are older or receiving certain benefits to help with covering costs when temperatures fall below zero in their area. It applies between 1 November and 31 March each year, and will apply if the weather forecast indicates the temperature will be zero or below for seven days in a row. According to the GOV.UK site, this year’s scheme begins on 1 November 2021 and will provide £25 to those who are eligible for each qualifying period.
‘Claim a heavily discounted or free boiler. Energy suppliers which have over 150,000 customers must offer home improvements which are energy efficient according to the Energy Company Obligations scheme - ECO for short. You could get a new boiler worth £2500 for between £200 and £400 or even free. You may qualify if you own your own home, qualify for certain benefits or even, in some cases, if you rent from a private landlord. Those in England and Wales can use the Government-approved Simple Energy Advice website to find out if they qualify, while residents of Scotland can check out Home Energy Scotland. Alternatively, get in touch with your supplier to find out what help could be waiting for you.
‘Look into whether you qualify for free loft and cavity wall insulation. Getting cavity wall insulation can save up to £570 on yearly fuel bills, according to EDF Energy. This option is best for homes built between 1920 and 1990, as they will have a gap between the internal and external walls which can be filled with insulation. Alternatively, loft insulation will limit the amount of heat which escapes through the roof as mineral wool is laid under the rafters. These types of insulation are offered by energy firms for free for those who own their homes and meet eligibility criteria. Those who are on certain benefits may also qualify in line with the Affordable Warmth Obligation. See the GOV.UK site for those which are eligible.
‘Make use of third party deductions. Those who are on benefits may be able to have some of their bills paid directly from their allowance if they are experiencing difficulties through a scheme called third party deductions or Fuel Direct. To apply, people should get in touch with either Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service. Deductions can be used to pay gas, electricity or water bills. To view the list of qualifying benefits, check out the GOV.UK site.
‘Apply for grants to help pay off energy debts. There are a number of charitable trusts offering help for those who are in debt to their energy suppliers. Examples include the British Gas Energy Trust, npower Energy Fund and EDF Energy Customer Support Fund. Those who apply will need to provide detailed information about their financial situation, and it will help to show you have received debt advice before applying. For more information view the Citizens Advice site.
‘Use an energy efficiency calculator. This tool is available on the Simple Energy Advice site and takes 5 minutes to complete. You will then receive recommendations on how to improve your energy efficiency. There will also be information about any schemes run by your local council which can provide further assistance. The best part about this tool is that you don’t need to meet any pre-qualifying criteria - just head to the site and fill out some basic information.’
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