The impact of soaring gas and electricity prices is starting to be felt by households across the country. To relieve the pressure, the government has created two initiatives to counteract the spiralling energy costs.
According to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, 3.16 million households were pushed into fuel poverty in 2019. This is expected to double to 6.32 million households as the April energy price cap hikes costs up by 54%. It is estimated that an extra £693 will be added to a typical bill, going up to £708 for those who don’t pay by direct debit.
The government have put together a support package that offers two ways you can ease the pressure of these rising prices:
Council tax rebate
If you are in council tax bands A-D, you will be awarded a £150 one-off rebate. This will benefit around 80 per cent of homes. If you pay by direct debit, the payment will be made automatically to your account. If you don’t pay by direct debit, your council will get in touch and invite you to apply.
If you are not eligible and are vulnerable or on a low income, you may be able to apply to your council’s Discretionary Fund.
£200 to help with your electricity bill
In October 2022, your household’s electricity account will be credited with £200. If you use a prepayment meter, you will receive the discount through vouchers or a cheque.
This will need to be repaid over the next five years when your energy bill will increase by £40. This will begin from April 2023, when global wholesale gas prices are expected to come down. For those using a prepayment meter, your meter will automatically take £40 over the following five years.
£650 to those receiving benefits
The Government have announced that cost of living payments of £650 will be made to those who are receiving benefits; this will be paid automatically into your bank account in two instalments.
You will get one payment from July 2022 and a second payment in autumn 2022, if you’re entitled.
£400 energy bill discount
The Government has recently announced that later this year all households will receive an energy bill discount of £400. This will appear as credit from energy suppliers from October onwards. This will not need to be repaid.
£300 for households with pensioners
If you are in a household that receives the Winter Fuel Payment, which includes homes with at least one person of a pensioner age, you will receive an extra £300.
Most payments will be made automatically in either November or December.
You can read more about these payments by clicking here.
What else can I do?
There are other ways you can take action to ease the financial pressures. Take a look at our four top tips:
1. Check your entitlements
Use this handy online benefits calculator to find out what you are entitled to.
2. Don’t miss out on discounts
- Council Tax Reduction - This is available for households on a low income. Find out if you’re eligible and apply.
- Healthy Start Scheme - Apply for help with the cost of milk, fruit and vegetables for anyone who is currently pregnant for 10 weeks or more or has a child aged under four and on qualifying benefits.
- Warm Home Discount - For households on a low income, you can get a reduction applied directly to your electricity bill.
- If you’re struggling to pay your water bill, your water company may be able to help.
3. Save on your energy costs
- Make sure you are getting the best deal with your energy supplier by comparing prices. You can also call the Energy Helpline on 0800 074 0745.
- Take meter readings regularly to see how much you are using. You could also consider using a smart meter, so that you can track the costs daily.
- If you are on a prepayment meter, try and top up a regular amount all year round.
Making small changes to how you use your energy works well and helps lower your bills when practised regularly and over time. Check out the Energy Saving Trust for more tips and advice.
4. Take action on debt
- StepChange provide a free, impartial and confidential service to those seeking advice on debt and money guidance. You can give them a call on 0800 138 1111.
- Take a look at Citizens Advice, where you will find information on applying for grants and benefits to help pay off your energy bills.
How we can help support you if you’re struggling
If you are finding it difficult to manage your finances, or worried about paying your rent, as a Clarion resident you have access to our free, dedicated support.
Our Clarion Futures Money Guidance team can assist you through a range of challenges and every year they help thousands of residents feel more confident and in control of their money. Whatever it is, please talk to us. We may be able to offer the right guidance to find a solution.
Simply complete an online ‘Request for guidance’ contact form and a member of the team will get back to you.
Alternatively, you can visit our money guidance section where we have an abundance of handy information and ways you can manage your finances.