What support is there for people in my position? Key questions answered as energy price cap rises

Global price hikes on gas have pushed the energy price cap up Credit: PA Images

Energy regulator, OFGEM, has confirmed the price cap on usage will rise by 54% from 1 April. It will add nearly £700 to the average bill.

ITV News has spoken to Andy Coish, from Hull and East Riding Citizens Advice Bureau, about what today's price cap announcement means for households across the region.

He answered some viewer questions from reporter Matt Price and offered some top tips.

Q: I'm a widow, I'm not receiving any benefits. The rise frightens the life out of me. What support is there for somebody in my position?

Andy: If you're over pension age, you may be eligible for pension credit. There are about one million people who don't realise. It's worth investigating with a local advice agency.

Q: I rent my home. Will this have an impact on how much I pay, and what support is there if my rent goes up?

Andy: If the rent includes utility bills the answer is yes. If it doesn't, the knock on effect will likely cause concern.

Q: I might have to make the choice between heating and eating. What should I do?

Andy: Get help. There's a lot of help out there. Rebates of £150 will be provided in April to households in council tax bands A to D - Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the discount will not need to be repaid. Around 80% of all homes in England will benefit from the rebate. Councils will get a discretionary fund of nearly £150 million to support struggling house families in living in high tax rate homes.

Q: Is it a good idea to get a smart meter fitted?

Andy: If you can, then yes. They are a good way to monitor your daily usage.

Today's cap rise has been driven by rising wholesale gas prices which have quadrupled in the last year alone.

The regulator OFGEM say the energy price cap is updated twice a year and tracks those wholesale costs.

It's put in place to stop energy companies from making "excessive profits" and ensuring we all pay a fair price to power our homes.

Following the announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government will “step in” to help households directly manage "incredibly tough" energy costs.

'Too little, too late'

But Andy said that the increase has been on the cards for months and he feels like the measures don't go far enough to make a difference.

He said: "I already feel like it's too little and to a degree too late as people are already seeking help from food banks in their current circumstances. "

What support is available?

If you are on a low income or claim pension credit, you may eligible for Warm Home Discount through your supplier.

This cuts bills with a one-off discount of £140 at some point between September and March - which will be take off your bill rather than paid directly to you.

You must contact your supplier to confirm your eligibility and apply, though the number of discounts a supplier can give is limited.