MILLIONS of households are being urged to take a meter reading now ahead of the energy price cap change.
The amount that an average household is expected to pay for its energy bills will fall by around £151 per year from October 1.
Ofgem’s next price cap will drop to around £1,923, but it’s not a cap on the overall amount people will pay for their energy.
Instead it caps the amount that they pay per kilowatt hour, or unit, of gas and electricity.
The £1,923 figure is calculated based on what Ofgem thinks an average household will use.
It will remain at this level for the next three months.
That means you may pay more or less, depending on your usage.
Around 29million households are on standard variable tariffs that are subject to the price cap.
It’s vital you do a meter reading before the bill hike or risk paying more for your energy bill.
You should take your meter reading on or around Saturday, September 30.
That’s because taking a meter reading before the new price cap comes into force will help you to be billed accurately.
But if you’re on a prepayment meter then you don’t need to worry about this as you pay for your usage upfront.
This is when the next energy price cap comes into effect.
Submitting a reading will ensure that you’re charged the right amount for the gas and electricity you’ve used this summer, and won’t be overcharged for energy used from the start of October.
What if I have a smart meter?
If you have a smart meter, your readings will be sent to your supplier automatically, and if you are already on a fixed deal the price you pay for energy will not change on October 1.
Fixed deals are where you agree to a set price for a certain period of time and these tariffs are not subject to the price cap.
But it’s still a good idea to submit meter readings every month to improve the accuracy of their bills, regardless of the tariff.
What are other ways that can I lower my energy bills?
If swapping to an energy 7 or 10 tariff doesn’t suit your lifestyle needs, there are many ways that you can save on your bill.
You can spend small amounts and save on your heating by simply draught-proofing your home.
When you block gaps that let cold air in and warm air out, you don’t need to pop the heating on as high, or as long, during cold weather.
And you can buy draught excluders for less than £10.
It’s also worth doing a check on energy guzzling appliances that can cost you more than £500 a year.
Make sure you turn these appliances off at the plug when you’re not using them.
Energy saver mode settings will also shave down bills.
If you find you are unable to pay bills, your energy firm could give you access to a hardship fund.
For example, British Gas has a scheme offering customers up to £750 to put towards energy debts.
Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply for the below:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF’s energy customer support fund
- E.on’s energy fund
- Npower’s energy fund
- Ovo’s debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power’s hardship fund
Local councils also have the Household Support Fund, which are payments or vouchers designed to help low incomes families.
Check you are getting all you’re entitled to in terms of benefits and grants, you can search on the Turn2Us website.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].
You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.