As you’ve probably heard in the news by now, many customers – nearly 1.5 million- are likely to be affected by the collapse of several energy firms over the past few weeks. This is an anxious time for many people, not only for those working in the energy sector, but for the customers who face being switched to a potentially more expensive energy provider. Unfortunately this has happened at the same time as the higher energy price cap comes into force. 15 million additional householders in England, Wales and Scotland also face a 12% rise in their energy bills from October, with a potential annual increase in energy bills of up to £153 expected.
So householders are now facing a rise in the their energy bills just as the cooler weather approaches… with October traditionally being the month in which many boilers are switched back on so the central heating can kick in. Switching to a cheaper deal won’t be possible at the moment either, with many price comparison sites pausing their services and offering very few options.
Understandably, households and families on low incomes will be feeling apprehensive about the months ahead, particularly as we approach Christmas. But there is help available for those who need it.
Where can you find help?
Free energy and money-saving advice services such as LEAP (the Local Energy Advice Partnership) can offer immediate help and advice to help you reduce your energy usage – saving money whilst also keeping your home cosy and warm. LEAP can also arrange additional support with IncomeMax – an income-maximisation service that can help you manage your bills and any debt you might have. Call the free helpline on 0800 060 7567 and a member of the Energy Advice Team will be able to provide advice over the telephone or arrange a home visit.
What should you do if your supplier goes out of business?
If your energy provider collapses, you won’t stop receiving gas and electricity. Your account will be moved to a new supplier by energy regulator Ofgem which may take a few weeks.
It’s a good idea to make a note or take a photo of your meter reading, and download any bills, while you wait for your new supplier to contact you. There’s no need to cancel direct debits straight away – you should wait for your new account to be set up before cancelling existing arrangements. If you’re in credit with your old supplier, your money is protected and you’ll be paid back. If you’re in debt, you’ll still have to pay the money you owe.
Unfortunately, you may end up on a more expensive tariff with your new supplier and there may not be a cheaper option available right now so do give LEAP a call on 0800 060 7567 to see if there is any other support available to reduce your bills and stay warm and well.
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