'First thing' to do if you can't pay energy bills – price cap now forecast to hit over £5k – Express

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The warning comes from experts at independent energy consultancy company Auxilione at a Downing Street meeting earlier today. The news will be devastating for British households who are already struggling to pay average energy bills of £1,971 a year.
The energy price cap has already risen from £1,277 to £1,971 this year and have been forecast to hit £4,420 by next April.
Now forecasters say gas and electricity prices have risen again meaning the price cap could exceed £5,000 in the first half of 2023.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who was also at the meeting, said electricity and gas companies are in talks with ministers to “do more” to help vulnerable households.
Meanwhile, people are being warned against following suggestions from Don’t Pay UK campaigners, who are encouraging people not to pay their energy bills this winter due to the cost of living.
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Martin Lewis has warned hundreds of thousands of pensioners have only days left to act if they want to qualify for the £650 cost of living payment, considered vital as the UK is plunged into a challenging winter.
How can pensioners claim the cash? Find out HERE.
Energy expert Myles Robinson from Boiler Central said: “If you can’t afford to pay your energy bills, you should first contact your supplier and notify them that you want to pay off your debt through a payment plan.
“They should discuss with you ways to pay what you owe them and come to an agreement.
“When coming to an agreement, your supplier should consider what you can afford to pay based on your income, outgoings, and any other debts you have.”
It’s in the energy company’s best interests to help people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and they may be able to work out a payment plan based on previous bills and estimated future consumption.
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Things you can do if you can’t pay your bills
Mr Ronsinson added: “You can save money on your energy bills by making your home as energy efficient as possible.
“If you have an old G rated boiler, replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model can help cut your fuel bills.
“Or, you can simply reduce the heating in your home – turning down the heating by one degree can save you around £80 a year.”
However, it could be a good idea to send them regular gas and electricity readings, unless people have a smart meter.
Mr Robinson added: “You may also be able to pay off your debt through your benefits using the Fuel Direct Scheme.”
Britons will need to be claiming the following benefits to be eligible for help under the Fuel Direct Scheme: Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.
In addition to switching off or unplugging appliances that have been left on standby, it’s suggested people wash clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees, which will still kill bacteria and save energy.
READ MORE: Post Office warning as paper £20 & £50 notes to become void in weeksEnergy price cap timeline infographicLinking one’s smart meter to a phone app has seen some people reduce their energy bills by up to 25 percent a year
Hugo founder Ben Dhesi said: ““We’ve seen savings of up to 25 percent – that’s £490 per year saved on electricity alone for households spending around £1,900 annually.”
Another way people can save a further £480 a year is by swapping their oven for a slow cooker.
Research shows this could save the typical family £40 a month because it uses much less energy even though they are left on for longer.
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