ENERGY bills are set to rise for millions later this year as the cost of living crisis hits consumers pockets.
The energy price cap currently stands at £1,971, but this could go above £4,000, experts have warned.
And the cap will be changed every three months from October after the regulator Ofgem made a big change.
But there's help available to households struggling to pay their bills and contend with rising fuel and food costs.
In May, the government announced a raft of supportive measures to help the poorer through the cost of living crisis.
Among the support was a £400 energy bill rebate for all households.
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And there are some other key dates to bear in mind when it comes to energy bills later this year and into the next.
Here is the list of all the key dates you should consider:
Later this month, a new energy price cap will be set by the regulator Ofgem.
The new cap will come into effect on October 1, which means you'll have just over a month to prepare for a rise in bills, if you're on a default energy tariff.
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You'll be on a default energy tariff with your provider if:
- You've not chosen a tariff.
- A fixed-term tariff you've chosen ends and you've not asked to switch to a new one you've selected.
- Your supplier exits the energy market and Ofgem appoints a new supplier to take on your energy supply. The new supplier will usually put you on their default deal until you ask to change it or switch.
The energy price cap limits the rates a supplier can charge for their default tariffs.
This means despite experts saying the energy price cap could rise to over £3,600, this would be the upper most someone would pay for their bills.
Still, it's an indication that energy bills will rise for millions.
People on certain benefits, including Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Pension Credit, will receive the second £324 cost of living payment.
The government has confirmed the payments will be made in the autumn though, so they may arrive later than September.
The first £326 instalment should already be with everyone eligible, apart from those on tax credits, who will receive their first instalment in September.
All in all, around eight million people will receive the total £650 payment.
You don't need to apply for the payment as it will be paid automatically, and will be paid in the same way you're paid your benefit or tax credits.
A £150 disability cost of living payment will also be made to those eligible in September.
You may get the lump sum if you're receiving any of the following:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
To be eligible, you must have received a payment of one of the above benefits for May 25 this year to get the £150 payment next month.
For full details on eligibility, you can visit the government's website.
September 30 is the deadline to receive your £150 Council Tax Rebate, if you're eligible.
You'll be eligible if your home falls under a council tax band A-D.
Many households across the UK have already received their rebate, but don't worry if you don't receive it by September 30, as if you've not got it by then, it will be taken off your bill.
If you live in an eligible property and pay your council tax by direct debit, your local council should make the payment direct to your bank account.
If you don't pay your council tac by direct debit, your council should contact you with details of how to claim your rebate.
If you've not yet received your rebate and want to know more, it's best to contact your local authority.
You can find out what yours is by using the government's council locator tool.
This is when the increased energy price cap will come into force.
While experts have warned it could rise to £3,600, other estimates say it will go up to £3,358.
The predicted steep rise has seen Martin Lewis warn of potential consumer strikes and people refusing to pay their energy bills.
One such movement, the "Don't Pay" campaign, is calling on households to stop paying their energy bills.
But people are being urged not to join the campaign.
The £400 energy bill discount starts in October.
The money won't be paid directly into your bank account, but instead will be taken off your energy bill in six instalments.
In October and November £66 will be taken off, and £67 from December to March.
Around 29 million households will be entitled to the rebate.
However, there are a number of people who won't get the rebate.
Renters who pay "all-in" and Park Home tenants won't get the discount.
This is because the cash goes to the billpayer.
The £150 Warm Home Discount Scheme should be open for applications from October as well.
The Government has not yet confirmed what date the scheme will be open for applications in 2022, but last year households could apply from October 18.
The scheme is a one-off payment of £150 that goes towards your heating costs.
Normally, the payment is made directly to your energy supplier, which will then apply the discount to your bills.
Cold weather payments should start to be made in November.
The payments are handed out to eligible households when temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees or below, on average, for seven consecutive days.
After each period of very cold weather in your area, those eligible for the scheme get the £25 payment for the seven day period.
But this is only valid between November 1 and March 31, typically colder months.
You’ll be eligible for the scheme if you receive of one of the following benefits:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for mortgage interest
Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to meet one or more of the following additional criteria:
- Have a disability or be in receipt of pension premium
- Have a child who is disabled
- Be in receipt of child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- Have a severe or enhanced disability premium
- Be in receipt of a limited capability for work amount
- Have a child under five living with you
You don’t need to apply for the cold weather payment as it’s paid automatically to those who are eligible.
If you don't receive the payment and think you should have, you can tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office, or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
Millions of pensioners on a state pension will get a Winter Fuel Payment of up to £300 in December.
This means if you were born on or before September 25, 1956, you could get between £250 and £600 in total, when taking into account the government's winter fuel discount as well.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you're eligible and either:
- get the State Pension or
- get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
If you do not get either of these, or if you live abroad, you might have to make a claim.
Payments should be made to eligible pensioners by January 2023 latest.
For more information, go to the government's website.
The energy price cap will rise again and current estimates say it will go up to between £3,616 and £3,850.
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However, experts today, August 9, warned that figure could go as high as £4,200 from next January.
The reason the price cap is going up in January, just three months after the October rise, is because Ofgem changed the rules meaning price cap rises will occur quartely.
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