Changes to energy prices
This winter, it's likely you'll notice your energy bills going up. But it's important to know why this is happening and what you can do to stay on top of increasing costs.
Increased global demand has seen the price of gas increase. This has caused some energy suppliers to go bust.
As a result, Ofgem, the energy regulator, has increased the energy price cap from 1 October 2021. Whilst this means energy suppliers will only be able to charge you up to a certain amount for your energy, many people will still end up paying more – if they were already paying the previous cap amount, for example, or have been switched to a different supplier as the previous one went out of business.
On average, default tariffs bills are expected to increase by £139 for the year. For those using a prepayment meter, the average increase will be around £153.
Because of the uncertainty in the market, it might not be advisable, or even possible, to switch energy suppliers for a cheaper tariff this winter.
When an energy supplier goes bust, Ofgem assigns a new supplier to take over your account. You don't need to worry, your gas and electricity supply will continue regardless of what happens to your supplier.
Your new supplier should provide you with information about what is happening with your account. But this process can take a few weeks.
It's worth keeping hold of or downloading copies of your latest energy bills and take photos of your latest meter readings for reference.
Any customers that were in debt with their previous supplier will still have to repay this and any customers who had been in credit with their supplier should receive a refund.
If you're finding it hard to keep up with energy payments or you're worried you won't be able to afford the energy you need this winter, you might be entitled to financial support.
Warm Home Discount
If you receive Pension Credit you could be entitled to an extra £140 this winter. If you're eligible, you should automatically receive a letter between October and December.
Winter Fuel Payment
You could be entitled to an extra £100 - £300 this winter depending on your age, who you live with and any benefits you receive.
If you're over State Pension age - which is currently 66 years old - and receive the State Pension then you should be paid automatically. Payments are usually made between November and December.
Our factsheet has further information on the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and a range of other information which may help you keep your energy bills as low as possible.
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 0300 303 44 98.
If you're finding it difficult to keep up with energy bills or you owe money to your energy supplier, your supplier has a duty to help.
You can ask your energy supplier for:
- a review of your payments or debt repayments
- payment breaks or reductions
- more time to pay your bills
- access to hardship funds
- Priority Service registration.
If you're over State Pension age or live with a disability or health condition you can be asked to be placed on the Priority Service Register. This gives you access to a range of support, including priority assistance in an emergency, advance notice of planned power cuts and helps with prepayment meter access.
Energy suppliers also provide support through schemes such as the Warm Home Discount and Energy Company Obligation scheme. These provide a range of financial support, debt relief, energy advice, and the installation of energy efficiency improvements which can help lower your bills.
Check with your supplier to see what support you might be entitled to.