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.
Why are energy prices going up?
Increased global demand has seen the prices of gas increase. This has led some energy supplies to go bust.
As a result, Ofgem, the energy regulator, has increased the energy price cap from 1 October 2021. This means customers have a certain level of protection against the rising energy prices, as energy suppliers will only be able to charge you so much for your energy.
However, bills will go up for lots of households this winter. 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.
There are fewer tariffs on offer than usual, and switching might not save you any money. It's important to seek impartial advice before switching, for example from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.
What do I do if my energy supplier goes bust?
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.
You should seek advice if you're looking to switch because your supplier has gone bust, as there are considerations if your account was in credit, or if you usually receive the Warm Home Discount.
Can I get help paying my energy bills?
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 how old you are, 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.
Not sure what you're entitled to?
Our handy benefits calculator can help you work out if you're missing out on money you should be getting. It only takes a few minutes to find out.
Can I get support from my energy supplier?
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.