“We are in exceptional and pretty dang dreadful circumstances,” the financial journalist said at the start of the one-hour show. Martin Lewis shares 3 tips to save energy bills.
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com also urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to make a significant shift in his spring statement, which is due out at the end of March, to help alleviate the cost-of-living crisis.
Lewis also stated that we are in the midst of the “most uncertain moment” in energy since World War II, but that there are things we can do to assist relieve the burden.
Prepayment meter users can top up at cheaper prices before April 1
“The first is for those of you on prepayment metres, specifically non-smart prepay metres – this won’t benefit you if you’re on a smart prepay.” Martin Lewis said, “The regulator Ofgem has verified to me that you get the tariff on the day you top up, not when you consume energy.”
“Now, that means if you max out your top-up in March before the rate goes up, that’s what you’ll get, even if you use that energy in April,” the journalist continued. So, if you can afford it – and I know not everyone on prepay can – you may stretch the current low rate for longer by maxing out your top-up.
Martin Lewis went on to claim that, with the exception of Scottish Power, every major corporation has acknowledged that this will work.
Martin has reported this to Ofgem to see if it can be worked around. Scottish Power will add a rate on top of that.
Direct debit users should take a meter reading on March 31
If you pay via direct debit, there is no equivalent procedure, according to Martin Lewis.
You can’t artificially raise your direct debit because that’s fraud.
Lewis recommended that you take a metre reading today and another on March 31.
This allows you to draw a line and notify your energy company how much energy you’ve used and what your rate should be.
Government’s council tax rebate to help with energy bills
“Finally, you should be aware that there are a handful of government projects in the works. In October, there is the contentious “loan, not loan” programme. However, in April, everyone in council tax categories A to D will receive a £150 rebate to help with energy bills. It started in England, but now Scotland and Wales are doing it, and we’re waiting to hear from Northern Ireland “Martin Lewis clarified the situation.
It has been advised that if you pay your council tax by direct debit, the money would be automatically deposited into your bank account. There’s still time to set it up if you haven’t already, however it won’t be possible to give a date because it’s council-by-council.
If you don’t set up direct debits, keep an eye out for a letter from the council, since each one will tell you about their claim system, which you should be aware of.
If you’re not qualified for the £150 because you’re in a higher tax bracket, there’s a £140 million discretionary fund set up to assist individuals who are struggling. Each council will determine how it distributes it but be prepared to claim it. I hope this information is useful.