As finances are squeezed, there are ways to cut costs
With the £20 Universal Credit uplift set to be removed at the end of the month, money is going to be much tighter for many of us.
The move coincides with the largest ever increase in energy bills, as regulator Ofgem raises the price cap by £139 to £1,277 on October 1.
It will affect 15 million customers and Ofgem says it is because of energy prices rising by 50 per cent as the world emerges from lockdown.
Prepayment customers will see an increase of £153 – from £1,156 to £1,309.
Help with energy bills
But there’s help out there for those of us on low incomes or Pension Credit in the form of the £140 Warm Home Discount.
To find out if you qualify, contact your energy supplier now – there’s a finite pot of money and the suppliers decide who gets the discount.
Customers who qualify will need to stay with their supplier until the discount is paid, which will be by March 31 next year. Find out which companies are involved here.
It’s worth remembering the discount won’t affect our Cold Weather Payments or Winter Fuel Payments.
Cut energy bills
In the meantime there are other ways to ease the burden of energy bills by cutting the amount we use.
As the colder weather approaches, good insulation is the single most effective thing we can do to bring down our heating bills. We can make draught excluders and insulate windows with thick curtains and using draught excluding tape.
And little things like only boiling the amount of water we need and putting a lid on a saucepan will help in the kitchen too.
Washing a full load at a lower temperature cuts costs, but drying clothes on radiators will make our boilers gobble more energy.
Switching energy supplier
When we leave our appliances on standby they’re wasting money, the same goes for putting hot food in the fridge – it’ll take valuable energy to bring it back down to the correct temperature.
But if we’re already in difficulties we should talk to our supplier – many have schemes and grants (on top of the Warm Home Discount) available to help.
Lastly, switching our energy supplier is quicker and easier than we might think. Find out how with our guide here.