Where to get help as energy bills rise

You are now in a great position to save money on your energy bill - you are already online right now - which is the ideal place to make a switch.

For customers, there is nothing good about price rises that will make a very tough winter even tougher.

However, this may shock more people into shopping around. You will find many comparison sites that will help.

The latest figures show you could be paying up to £262 less than this new price cap level. Even if you don’t want to switch supplier, you can ask your existing firm to move you onto a suitable cheaper tariff. You now have until April 1st to make the move.

For the rising number already behind with energy bill payments (2.1m according to Citizens Advice) help is being promised by the industry.

Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem advised: “I urge anyone worried about paying their energy bills to contact their supplier and access the help available”.

I hope they are braced for the volume of calls they may receive, because very many customers continue to struggle on reduced incomes due to the pandemic.

Guidelines given to energy firms mean the assistance should include “considering reducing or pausing” debt of those most struggling.

Suppliers are obliged to offer emergency credit to pre-payment customers - although there is inconsistency across the industry on how this is done.

Some customers will qualify for extra help from energy suppliers, grants, benefits or charity support. Here are some useful links:

Consumer Producer Hannah Kings shares tips on saving energy and money The energy price cap will increase from April – the industry regulator announced today - meaning millions of households could see their bills increase by almost £100. Here we share some tips from experts for reducing the energy you use and the money you pay. Think about your thermostat We all want to be warm at home – especially when we’re spending so much time there and when the weather outside is like it is! If you’re careful though, there are ways to save as much as you can whilst still having the heating on when you need it. Be selective about which parts of the home you heat - only heat the rooms you’re using, and set your thermostat to the lowest temperature that’s comfortable. Some experts suggest setting the temperature so that you’re warm and then reducing it by one degree every day until you no longer feel comfortable. You can then set the thermostat to the lowest temperature that kept you warm. This will take away the guesswork and make sure you’re using exactly the amount of heat you need. Have a light bulb moment Energy-saving LED light bulbs can quickly help to cut your energy bills. Although they may be more expensive to buy than traditional bulbs, experts agree that with the amount you’ll save on bills, energy-saving bulbs pay for themselves in time. Switch things off – all the way off It sounds simple, but switching off appliances – rather than leaving them on standby – can make a difference when it comes to saving energy. When you’ve finished using them, aim to switch appliances off at the plug. If you’re worried you might forget, it can help to set a power outlet timer that will automatically switch the appliance off at the plug overnight – without you having to think about it. Wash with care Try to fill the washer every time you use it so that you do fewer loads, and think about how hot you really need each cycle to be. Check your boiler and insulation It can be a big investment, but replacing an inefficient boiler or installing effective loft insulation can help to save energy. It could be worth checking whether you qualify for Government help to pay for this. such as the Green Homes Grant. This allows homeowners to apply for vouchers to put towards the cost of making certain energy efficient improvements. More information on these tips and more can be found from Which? and Energy Helpline.