Cost of living: Five tips to help with rising energy bills as costs skyrocket

Five practical steps you can take to try to manage your money over the months ahead, as advised by Jane Tully from Money Advice Trust

By Consumer Producer Hannah Kings

A forecast recession, rising inflation, and an increase in interest rates make for a bleak outlook for UK households' finances over the coming months.

In a new, dire prediction, energy consultancy Cornwall Insight has warned bills could be set to soar again to around £4,266 for the average household in the three months from next January - when the energy price cap rises for a second time after October's hike.

Just last week, that prediction was more than £650 lower.

But energy regulator Ofgem has announced it is changing the way it calculates the price cap, which is the limit set on the amount energy suppliers can charge households.

Cornwall Insight's analysts say those changes - combined with continued price increases in the wholesale energy market - are what's behind the increase.

Those same analysts have predicted further rises in 2023 - warning the cap could reach £4,427 from the start of April.

Jane Tully, from the Money Advice Trust, a charity that offers support to those worried about debt, said advisers are already seeing record demand for their services and expect calls to their helplines to increase.

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After Tuesday's predictions about the scale of further energy price rises, Ms Tully told ITV News her top five pieces of advice to help those who are worried.

  • Make a budget

Start with a budget. While it can be a daunting task, once you work through the details you can get an understanding of what your living costs need to be.

  • Make the most of income

Is there any way you can maximise your income? Whether that’s through benefits, grants or cutting costs to make savings within your budget, there are ways of stretching your budget.

  • Contact creditors

Before taking any radical action, reach out to creditors – they’re in great position to offer forbearance or signpost any support schemes.

  • Debt advice charities

Services like the National Debtline or Business Debtline have advisers that speak to people coping with debt or worrying about finances every single day.

  • Don’t just take no action

And finally, be proactive about looking at your finances and take all the advice you can get ahead of the winter crunch period.

For more information on how to deal with energy bill increases, advice and details on where to get support, visit the Money Advice Trust's website.

If you fall behind on payments, there are suppliers that offer grants. Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) lists suppliers that offer grants:

If none of these companies supplies your energy, you can still apply for a grant though British Gas Energy Trust as you do not need to be a customer.

Applications can be time consuming. For help, CAB advises to reach out to one of its advisers or to contact Money Helper.

Meanwhile, Simple Energy Advice offers a tool on its website to locate grants available in your specific area.

Your local council may also provide various grants.