Martin Lewis explains three things you must do now before your energy bill increases in April

If you are worried about prices going up, MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis has released a new video with three things you can do right now including reading up-to-date meters

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Martin Lewis offers three money-saving tips on energy bills

Martin Lewis explained three things families must do now before their energy bills skyrocket next month.

Regulator Ofgem has confirmed that they are increasing the price cap to £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 from April 1 – marking an attractive 54% increase.

Prepaid customers will be hit harder, with an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

The energy price limit sets a limit on how much your supplier can charge for each unit of gas and electricity you use and is currently reviewed twice a year.

If you are worried about the price increase, MoneySavingExpert Founder Martin Lewis has released a new video with three things you can do right now.

Check if you can stock up on power before April prices rise

Martin Lewis shared three tips to help tackle the energy crisis

Martin reminded those who are on older prepaid meters to check if they can “reserve” power now to beat the April bull run.

MSE explained how if you top up now, but use energy Once the rate cap changes, you will be charged your gas and electricity at the applicable rate when you fully top up.

Your rate will not change until the first time you deposit after the price adjustment.

If you have a prepaid smart meter, unfortunately this reserve trick won’t work as these are updated remotely with the new rate on the day of the price change.

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“That means if you top up in March before the rate goes up, that’s what you’ll get, even if you use that energy in April,” he said.

“So you can extend the cheap rates we currently have for longer by maxing out if you can afford it – and I know not everyone who pays upfront can.”

MSE contacted 11 of the largest energy suppliers – including British Gas, SSE, E.on and EDF – and only one said the reserve trick would not work.

Scottish Power is the only provider that says the additional amount you will be charged at the new rate will be recovered by adding a small charge to your meter on your next annual statement.

MSE has asked Ofgem if Scottish Power is allowed to do this but has not yet issued a further update.

How the energy bill crisis affects you

Read the meter now if you pay by direct debit

Sadly now there’s no equivalent way to “reserve” energy if you pay by direct debit.

But saying this, it’s important to do regular meter readings so you can check that you’re getting paid correctly.

Martin recommends one reading today and then another reading on March 31, before the new price cap goes into effect.

“I would suggest you read the meter today and time it to read on March 31st, so you draw a line and tell the energy company that all the energy I used must be at a cheap price,” he said.

Watch out for the £150 council tax discount

Martin has also urged families to check how they can claim a £150 council tax off from April.

Council tax relief will apply to homes in council tax bands A, B, C or D in England and Wales – around 80% of properties – but not to homes living in council tax bands bronze E, F, G and H (or I’m fine, in Wales).

Scottish residents will also get a £150 discount if they are in groups A to D – but they will also be eligible if they are currently on council tax relief.

People living in the UK have been told they will automatically get the rebate if they pay their council tax by direct debit.

If you’re not paying by direct debit, you’ll be given instructions by the board on how to apply.

“Watch for correspondence from the council as each board will tell you their requirements system and you need to keep track of that,” says Martin.

“If you don’t qualify for £150, for example because you’re in the higher bracket, there is a discretionary £140m fund being set up to help those in need.

“It will be up to each council to decide how it distributes it, but be prepared to insist on it.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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