Energy bills to rise by further £500 but you could get £1,350

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed the energy price guarantee will be extended for another 12 months from April, but at a higher level. It means the typical household will be faced with energy bills of £3,000 – although high users could end up paying more. However, he also announced a cost of living support package of financial support worth up to £1,350 for those on the lowest incomes.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Hunt said: “For the most vulnerable we will introduce additional cost of living payments next year, of £900 to households on means-tested benefits; £300 to pensioner households; and £150 for individuals on disability benefit.

“We will also provide an additional £1billion of funding to enable a further 12-month extension to the Household Support Fund, helping local authorities to assist those who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

“And for those households who use alternative fuels such as heating oil and LPG to heat their homes, I am today doubling the amount of support from £100 to £200, which will be delivered as soon as possible this winter.”

Britons on disability allowance such as PIP will receive a further £150 while pensioners who receive Winter Fuel Payments will get an extra £300, however, critics say this won’t be enough.

Commenting on the support for energy bills announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement Sarah Pennells, Consumer Finance Specialist at Royal London, said: “While it makes sense to target energy support at people on the lowest incomes, high energy bills affect households at all income levels.

“There will be many people who won’t qualify for help with their energy bills after the end of March, but who could struggle to afford to keep their home warm.

“The new energy price cap of £3,000 for a typical household, is 20 percent more than people are currently paying, and two and a half times where energy bills were last summer, when the typical energy bill was around £1,200.”

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She added: “There’s a particular concern for people who are on pre-payment meters, who may have no choice but to go without heating if they can’t afford to top up their meter.

“Meanwhile, people who signed up for fixed price tariffs in recent months may have switched to the standard variable tariff on the basis that the Energy Price Guarantee would protect them for two years, and could now be worse off if they don’t qualify for any targeted help. There may be pressure on the industry to address this in coming months.”

Jeremy Hunt also confirmed the state pension triple lock will be reinstated, with payments rising by September’s inflation figure of 10.1 percent from next April.

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, said the confirmation meant “pensioners can breathe a huge sigh of relief” but warned: “Next year’s increase could be its ‘last gasp’ as the current formula is looking increasingly unsustainable.”

To receive the £900 cost of living support, people must be claiming:

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit.

While £3000 is still much more than what people are used to, it’s better than Cornwall Insight’s predictin that Ofgem’s price cap will increase to £3,740 a year for a typical household from April.

People who are struggling to pay their bills this winter should get in touch with their energy supplier.

Millions of people on a low income could be eligible for financial help from the Government to help them pay their winter energy bills.

Eon, EDF and Ovo customers could get cash grants towards their energy bills worth hundreds of pounds if they can prove they are on a low income or struggling financially. 

This is on top of the £150 Warm Home Discount paid to customers who are on certain means-tested benefits before the end of April.

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