Worried about rising energy bills & suppliers going bust?

Jemma PEC

Posted on: 28 Sep 2021

By Jemma

Updated 26 May 2022

The news can be a bit overwhelming right now, headlines about gas shortages, price increases and energy suppliers going out of business are confusing. We want to explain a bit about what’s happening and let you know what help is available for you.

Firstly, we now know that the price cap rose by 54% on 1st April 2022 and is predicted to go up a further 42% in October. 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.

What does this mean for me?

  • If you are on a fixed rate, don't do anything. You will almost certainly be paying less than the price cap is rising to.
  • If you are on a standard variable rate because your deal has ended or your supplier went bust, this change will have affected you (from 1st April 2022).
  • 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), it is likely that the new rates will have kicked in on 1st April, no matter how much you have topped up in advance.

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 measures with prices rises:
    • The first is the Energy Bills Support Scheme for £200 of credit to electricity bills in October 2022. However, this must be paid back at £40 a year from April 2023, this will be automatically added to bills (like a levy) and you cannot opt out.
    • Secondly, people who pay Council Tax with properties in Bands A - D will have received a one-off payment of £150 in April 2022. There is also a discretionary fund for those who do not meet the criteria (contact Plymouth City Council for further information). They have an information page about it here. Please note: the council tax rebate is only for those who pay by direct debit.
  • Please speak to your supplier. There are several ways that they are now required to help since COVID-19 started. 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. Wholesale gas prices have gone up by a record 350% since this time last year, including 37% between January and April this year. There seems to be four main factors; some recent 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 this 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.

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

01752 477117 Email us

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