Martin Lewis heard from a concerned homeowner who said his monthly direct debits have risen from £86 to £251 – well above the 54% increase in Ofgem’s price cap
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Martin Lewis has urged households to check they aren’t being overcharged by their energy supplier – and explained three reasons why your bill may have skyrocketed.
The MoneySavingExpert founder heard from a concerned homeowner who said his monthly direct debits have risen from £86 to £251 – far more than the 54% increase in Ofgem’s price cap.
The energy price cap rose on April 1 from £1,277 to £1,971 a year for those on a standard tariff paying by direct debit. That’s an increase of almost £700 on top of the average energy bill.
But the price cap isn’t an absolute bill cap, as the name suggests – instead, it sets a limit on the prices a provider can charge for each unit of gas and electricity you use.
Speaking on ITV This Morning earlier this week, Martin explained that there are three reasons you could see a sharp rise in direct debit payments.
How the energy bill crisis is affecting you
“If he was on a cheap fix and his cheap fix ended and he’s now moving to the price cap, that would explain the much larger increase than the 54% price cap increase,” Martin said.
“The second is … he had the price cap and went into a fixed deal as those are more expensive than the price cap.”
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Martin also explained how some suppliers may have taken this opportunity to increase their estimate of your future consumption.
“Possibly because they want to future-proof against increases in October,” he said.
But the MoneySavingExpert founder added: “If he has a loan, this shouldn’t be happening.”
Customers who are in debt should expect higher direct debit payments, but not credit.
“If it doesn’t add up, tell them you don’t accept the debit amount and you’re going to come up with a more reasonable number with the 54 percent increase,” Martin said.
If you still believe you are being overcharged, you can make a formal complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.
Get help with your energy bill
British Gas has an Energy Trust fund which is accessible to everyone, not just British Gas customers, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
You can also get help from the following energy suppliers if you are already a customer:
The exact eligibility requirements vary depending on the energy supplier. In some cases, you must use certain services in order to apply.
Generally, before applying, you must first have spoken to a debt counselor and you must provide proof of your income and explain why you are behind on your bills.
You can also use Turn2Us’ free grant finder tool to see what help is available where you live.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what grants or help you might be eligible for, speak to one of the specialized energy charities.
They can also help you if you think you have been treated unfairly and want to make a complaint.
Finally, there are energy programs for people on low incomes or benefit recipients – but unfortunately these are closed for this winter.
They’ll reopen later this year, so keep an eye out for when they’re accepting applications again.
There is the Warm Home Discount scheme which offers £140 lump sum payments for those receiving the guarantee element of the pension credit or on low incomes.
Or you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment scheme, where State Pensioners can get between £100 and £300.
Low-income households can also get £25 a week to help with energy bills in winter thanks to the Cold Weather Payment scheme.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/martin-lewis-explains-your-energy-26756476 Martin Lewis explains why your energy bill has skyrocketed and what you can do about it