Worried about rising energy bills

Jemma PEC

Posted on: 30 Aug 2022

By Jemma

Updated 30 November 2022

The price cap was due to rise by 80% on October 1st but due to the Governments price guarantee on energy bills announcement it rose by 27% to £2500. This means that bills will be significantly higher than last winter, but not as high as they could have been if the price guarantee cap was not in place.

The price cap is a maximum amount that can be charged for electricity and gas standing charges and unit (kWh) rates. Remember: if you use more, then you will pay more.

On August 4th, it was confirmed by the energy regulator Ofgem that the price cap will now be updated every 3 months. In previous years, the price cap was updated every 6 months, on April 1st and October 1st. The price cap will now be updated every quarter.

Household Support Fund

Household Support Fund round 3 is now open.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ Household Support Fund (3) is now open. It aims to support those struggling to meet essential costs due to the Cost of Living crisis.

You can make a self-referral for the grant, to Citizens Advice Plymouth: https://citizensadviceplymouth.org.uk/home/household-support-fund . They may be able to support you with food costs, fuel costs or white goods (subject to eligibility).

PEC is also accepting frontline worker referrals from partners across the city (Livewell Southwest, Wolseley Trust, University Hospitals Plymouth, Food Plymouth Partners, Stroke Association, Age UK Plymouth).

For more local information on support for you or your family, please visit: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/cost-living

If you are a frontline worker, please see our frontline worker page under residents.

What does this mean for me?

  • If you are on a fixed rate that is below the price guarantee, don't do anything as your prices are already cheaper than the price cap.
  • If you are on a fixed rate that is higher than the price guarantee, you should see a reduction in your bills to bring your costs in line with this cap.
  • If you are on a credit meter (which means you either pay by direct debit, standing order or when you receive a bill) and on the price cap, take meter readings regularly and submit them to your supplier so that an accurate bill can be issued.
  • If you are on a prepayment meter (meaning that you top up with keys/cards and have to put your cards, keys or codes into the meter), any price rise is likely to happen when you top up.

For detailed information on what this might mean for you, Martin Lewis has done some wonderful work around the issue, visit his website here.

If you are going to struggle to pay your ongoing energy bills, alert your supplier as early as possible.

What other help is there?

The Government has announced some measures to support people with price rises:

  • People who pay Council Tax with properties in Bands A - D will have received a one-off payment of £150 in May 2022. There is also a discretionary fund for those who do not meet the criteria (contact Plymouth City Council for further information).
  • £400 energy grant: The Energy Bills Support Scheme provides a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023. This will be paid monthly and how you will receive this payment will depend on your supplier. More information can be found here.

Cost of Living Payments

  • £650 Cost of Living Payment: If you are receiving certain benefits or tax credits you may be able to receive the Cost of Living Payment. More details and timescales can be found on the government website here. The second payment of £324 should be paid between the 8-30th November.
  • £150 Disability Benefits: This should have been paid by early October. For full eligibility or to report a missing payment follow the link here.

You could be entitled to both the Disability benefits AND the Low income benefits Cost of Living Payments, in which case you will receive a total of £800 spread over a period of time.

  • £300 Pensioner Winter Fuel Top-up: If you will be over state pension (aged 66 or above) between 19 and 25 September 2022, and as long as you meet certain other requirements (see the government website here), you will be eligible for a £300 “Pensioner Cost of Living Payment” top-up to your annual Winter Fuel Payment. This will be paid in November or December, typically through Direct Debit.

Other Support

  • Please speak to your supplier. There are several ways that they are now required to help. Visit our ‘Extra support from suppliers’ page for further information.
  • If you think your supplier is about to go bust, visit the UK Government’s guidance on this webpage.
  • Check to see if you are eligible for the Warm Homes Discount. Find out what that means here (please note that this is changing, this is what we know now).
  • Use our website Visit our Resident pages for a wide range of tips and further information about saving energy in your home.

Why are energy bills going up so much?

There is no short answer; it’s a complex issue. There seems to be four main factors; limits to gas supplies from Russia as well as the conflict in Ukraine; an upturn in global gas demand as economies reopen after Covid-19 lockdowns; a cold winter last year which prompted higher gas demand and reduced the amount we have in storage; and lower wind speeds last autumn which mean more energy has been generated with gas rather than wind.

Why PEC's work is so important

Everything that we do, from upgrading existing and new-build homes to be less reliant on imported gas and more affordable to live in, to generating more local renewable energy, to supporting households to understand how to manage energy use and access available financial help, all contributes to making our community more resilient to crisis situations like this.

Looking more broadly, the way we produce and use energy is unsustainable. Moving away from fossil fuels, like gas, is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK but by no means impossible. Saving energy at home is an important step people can make across the country, but we also need urgent support from government to help everyone move to zero-carbon energy in a fair and supported way.

Related news

Icon care

We can help

Call or email our friendly Energy Team to find out how we can help you.

01752 477117 Email us

Share this article