To save your energy bills, Martin Lewis shares three of the top tips. The MoneySaving expert founder called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to make a drastic change in his spring statement at the end of March to help stop the cost of living crisis.
“We are living through a most uncertain time where nothing is guaranteed,” Mr Lewis said. These are unsure times in terms of Energy since the second world war but there are things we can do to help reduce the pressure.
1. Prepayment meter users can top up at cheaper prices before April 1
“The first is for those of you on prepayment metres, specifically non-smart prepay meters – if you’re on a smart prepay, this won’t help. The regulator Ofgem has confirmed to me that you get the rate on the day you top up, not when you use energy,” Martin Lewis said.
The journalist also added, “ Now, that means if you max out your top-up in March before the rate goes up, that’s what you will get. So you can extend the cheap rate we have now for longer by maxing your top-up if you can afford it. And I know not everybody on prepay can.”
Every mainstream company confirms that this solution will work except for only one company- Scottish Power. Added Martin Lewis. Scottish Power will add a rate on top of that which Martin has reported to Odgem to see if this can be worked around.
2. Direct debit users should take a meter reading on March 31 before prices rise
Unfortunately, if you pay via direct debit, there is no such method, according to Martin Lewis. You cannot intentionally increase your direct debit since this is fraud. Mr Lewis advised that you take a metre reading today and another on March 31. This is done so you can draw a line and notify your energy company how much you’ve used and what your rate should be.
3. Watch out for the Government’s council tax rebate to help with energy costs
“Finally, you should be aware that there are a handful of government projects in the works. In October, there will be the contentious “loan, not loan” programme. The other is in April, when all residents in council tax categories A to D will be eligible for a £150 refund to help with energy bills. It started in England, but now Scotland and Wales are doing it, and we’re waiting to hear from Northern Ireland “Martin Lewis elaborated.
“For the English programme, we’ve been advised that if you pay your council tax by direct debit, the money would be automatically sent into your bank account.” If you haven’t already done so, there’s still time, though I can’t give you a deadline because it’s council-by-council.
“If you do not set up direct debits, keep an eye out for a letter from the council, since each council will inform you about its claim system, and you must keep an eye out for it.”
“If you are not qualified for the £150, for example, because you are in a higher tax bracket, a discretionary £140 million fund is being established to assist individuals in need. It will be left to each municipality to decide how it distributes it, but be prepared to assert that claim. I hope this was helpful.”