What to do if you’re worried about your energy bills after the price cap rise announcement
03 February 2022
03 November 2022
If you’re wondering how your household finances are going to be affected over the coming months, find out about the Ofgem energy price cap rise, Council Tax bills rebate and what other help the UK government has announced.
Energy Price Guarantee to cap the average bill at £2500
On 1 October 2022, the government announced that the average energy bill will be capped at £2,500 for default (standard variable tariff) and prepayment tariff energy customers in England, Wales and Scotland (see below for changes that will affect customers in Northern Ireland).
However, you should bear in mind that you could pay more or less than £2,500, depending on how much energy you use.
If you’re currently on a fixed-rate tariff, you’ll be moved to your provider’s standard variable tariff when the fixed term ends.
The Energy Price Guarantee will be held at £2,500 until April 2023.
Energy price rises in Northern Ireland
The Utility Regulator which regulates energy in Northern Ireland has said that the average gas customer in the Ten Towns area supplied by Firmus energy will see their annual bill increase to £1,293 per year.
So far there has not been a similar announcement for customers in the Greater Belfast area.
£400 energy bills support scheme
From 1 October 2022, the government will fund a £400 rebate to all domestic electricity customers in England, Wales and Scotland (similar funding is expected for Northern Ireland next year).
If you pay your bills by Direct Debit, the money will be credited to your account once a month from October 2022 to March 2023. Depending on your energy firm, you’ll either get the discount as a cash payment or as bill credit.
If you have a smart pre-payment meter, £66 or £67 credit will be added to your meter once a month for six months from October. If you have a traditional pre-payment meter, you’ll get one voucher or Special Action Message (SAM) a month for six months to use towards top-ups.
Households in Northern Ireland will also receive a £400 discount on bills through the scheme. The money does not need to be paid back.
£200 payment for winter fuel bills in Wales
If you live in Wales and are claiming certain benefits such as Universal Credit or Income Support, then you can claim an additional one-off payment of £200 from your local authority to put towards your winter fuel bills.
£400 payment for winter fuel bills in Northern Ireland
If you live in Northern Ireland and are claiming certain benefits such as Universal Credit or Income Support, then you will get a one-off payment of £400 from your local authority to put towards your energy bills.
£214.10 payment for winter fuel bills in Scotland
If you live in Scotland, are claiming certain benefits and your household has a child aged under 19 years, then you should get a one-off Child Winter Heating Assistance payment of £214.10 from Social Security Scotland.
The payment should have been automatic and paid in November 2022, but you can find out more about the payment (Opens in a new window) on the MyGOV.Scot website
Warm Home discount increased to £150
If you’re on a low income and claiming certain benefits, the Warm Home Discount gives you money off your electricity bill for the winter period bills between October and March.
From October 2022 the government increased the discount to £150 (from £140) and have extended the number of households that will be eligible in the UK. The Warm Home Discount scheme is not available in Northern Ireland.
More help if you’re struggling to pay your gas or electricity bill
Not being able to afford to heat or power your home can be very worrying and stressful. It’s important to continue paying these bills, and there's help available from your supplier if you’re struggling.
If you’ve already missed more than one payment on your gas bill, now is the time to get debt advice.
£150 Council Tax rebate
In April, all households in England on Council Tax bands A to D will receive a one-off £150 rebate on their Council Tax bill for that month. You won’t need to pay it back.
If you’re paying by Direct Debit, the rebate should be automatically discounted from your April bill by your local authority. If you pay less than £150 a month, you’ll get the discount across two payments. If you don’t pay by Direct Debit, your council should start to process the discount from April.
If you're renting or do not pay your Council Tax bill directly, make sure you ask the person (such as your landlord) who does to pass the discount on to you.
In Scotland, properties in bands A-D as well as households in all bands who get Council Tax Reduction will also receive £150 towards their Council Tax. Individual councils have been given the choice to either send the £150 as a payment or to give it as a discount on Council Tax bills. You should start to receive your discount or payment in April 2022.
The Welsh government has also approved a £150 payment to households in Council Tax bands A-D and those in bands E or F who receive Council Tax Reduction. There isn’t much information about how you can claim the £150 yet, but your local council should be in touch.
Financial support for households not eligible for the Council Tax rebate
If your property is in Council Tax bands E to H or you live in Northern Ireland, then you may still be eligible for help paying your Council Tax (or your rates in Northern Ireland).
The government has committed to £144million of discretionary funding for local authorities in England to use. There’s a further £715million for support in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Funding will be allocated on a case-by-case basis. Contact your local authority to find the support it is providing.
Bank of England base rate rise to 3%
The Bank of England has raised interest rates from 2.25% to 3% (as of 3 November 2022). This could affect you if you have a mortgage on a standard variable rate.