Ten energy checks you need to make following £2,500 bill freeze | The Sun

ENERGY bills have been frozen at £2,500 a year for two years – here's all the checks you need to make.

Costs will jump from £1,971 to £2,500 a year for the typical household from under the government's energy price guarantee.

The guarantee came into force yesterday, and the government claims it will help save the average bill payer £1,000.

It means millions of households will be saved from the £3,549 energy bill blow they would have been hit with this winter.

Here's 10 checks you need to make now that bills have frozen.

Get clued up on your usage

Experts have warned that some bill payers remain confused over the energy price guarantee – and it could mean they're slapped with a bill sting this winter.

Some customers think that £2,500 is the absolute maximum that you can be charged on your bill.

But that's not the case – the cap is placed on what firms can charge customers for the unit price and standing charge per unit of energy.

If you use more, you'll pay more, and if you use less, you'll pay less.

Make sure you get to grips with your energy usage and keep regulating it to avoid paying more than you can afford.

ou can use MoneySavingExpert's new calculator to do this – you'll need your annual energy usage in kWh (you can find this on your bill usually) or enter your monthly spend.

Entering your annual energy usage will show the most accurate results and you'll need to select your region too.

Switch off appliances properly

Make sure you've switched off your appliances properly.

Leaving computers, games consoles and security lights – known as "vampire appliances" – on standby could be costing you a small fortune.

That's because they use a lot of energy even when you're not using them.

Leaving these appliances on could be costing you more than £500 a year.

Fridge freezers, tumble dryers and washing machines are among the list of worst appliances driving up your bills.

Switch them off at the plug when you're not using them and use the energy saver mode settings.

Check your cost of living payments

Millions of hard-up households have been given cost of living payments to help them get by.

These payments have been dished out by the government so far:

  • First chunk of the £650 cost of living payment, worth £326
  • £150 cost of living payment for those with disabilities

These payments will land in bank accounts later this year:

  • Second chunk of £650 cost of living payment worth £324 in autumn
  • A £300 one-off "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" paid from November

You need to be in receipt of some benefits to qualify for each one – see more information in our handy explainer.

If you haven't received the help but think you qualify, your payment could be delayed – check a number of reasons why here.

You should contact the DWP for more information.

Keep an eye on £400 bill discount

Households will have started to receive the first instalment of the £400 energy bill discount.

All households in England, Scotland and Wales will get the help.

It will be paid in six monthly instalments from October until March 2023.

Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their bills in October and November, and £67 in December, January, February and March.

That means some bill payers should keep an eye out for the discount now – as you should get money off this month.

It's up to energy suppliers to dish out the discount – and how they will pay it varies.

British Gas, EDF Energy, Ovo Energy and Scottish Power have confirmed they will credit the discount to customers' bank accounts for those paying their bills by direct debit.

Bulb, E.ON and E.ON Next, Shell Energy, Octopus Energy, So Energy, Utilita and Utility Warehouse will not pay the discount into customer bank accounts.

Look up energy supplier grants

Even with the price guarantee now in place, many will be concerned about how they'll afford their bills.

Your energy firm might run a hardship fund to help you cope with the impact of price rises.

For example, British Gas has a scheme offering customers up to £750 to put towards energy debts.

Octopus Energy gives out grants of up to £500 to struggling customers.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • 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

Investigate council help schemes

Councils run a number of schemes to help struggling residents with bills and essentials.

Under the Household Support Scheme, families can get cash payments and vouchers to help them get by.

A new £421million pot of cash will be dished out among councils, and it will run from October this year until March next year.

Each council decides how to dish out the help, and what support is available.

To see what help is on offer in your area, contact your local council – you can find out who yours is by using the gov.uk authority tool checker.

There's also welfare assistance schemes, although not all councils have one – and the help available varies so does the eligibility criteria.

For instance, last year in East Riding of Yorkshire, you could get up to £1,000 to cover the cost of food, energy, bills and rent.

See if you can get free home improvements

Thousands of households can apply for free home improvements – and the measures could save you up to £520 on your bills.

Councils run schemes where you can apply for energy efficiency grants worth up to £10,000 to make your home greener.

You can get your home fitted with insulation, double glazing, solar panels and energy efficient doors.

In most areas, homeowners must have a total income of less than £30,000 to get a full £10,000 grant.

If your income is less than £30,000 then you could receive up to £10,000 in the offered grant.

If your household income is more than £30,000 a year you can qualify for up to £5,000 of grant funding.

Your home must have an EPC rating of D, E, F or G to be eligible.

One Sun reader got thousands of pounds worth green upgrades including a heat pump and solar panels from his local council – and it saves him £1,200 a year on his energy bills.

Check your appliance settings

Changing the settings on your appliances can reduce your bills.

Adjusting the flow temperature on the boiler could reduce the energy you use by between 6% and 8%, according to the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC).

Many boilers are set to heat the water up to 75-80°C. But many homes can still get warm with much lower heating flow temperatures.

Setting it at 55 or 60 degrees could slash £99 off your bills.

Setting your washing machine to a 30 degree wash instead of 40 degrees could drive your bills down too.

Update address if on prepayment meter

If you are a prepayment meter customer, it's important to check if your address is up to date – or risk missing out on the £400 energy bill discount.

The discount will be automatic for those who pay their bills by direct debit or quarterly, and smart prepayment meter customers.

While some energy companies will be applying the discount directly to customers' credit meters, others will be giving vouchers for customers on traditional prepayment meters to redeem.

Vouchers will be sent by suppliers either in the post, via text or by email on the first week of each month over the six month period from October.

That's why you must check your contact details are up to date with your supplier – otherwise you could miss out on the help.

Find out how your supplier will be paying your discount here.

Insulate your home

Draught-proofing is one of the most effective ways to save energy and money.

By blocking gaps that let cold air in and warm air out, you won't need to pop the heating on as high, or as long, when the cold weather hits.

This is inexpensive to do – rolls of draught seal cost around £5 from DIY stores.

A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £15, and you can fit one yourself at home without needing to be a dab hand at DIY.

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