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Added: 7 March 2022
Updated: Oct 2023
Following Ofgem lifting the cap on default tariffs in April 2022, energy prices have been increasing leaving most of us worrying about how we are going to pay our utility bills, and for those on pre-payment meters, how you’re going to keep them topped up.
We understand with this and other increasing costs that it is a very worrying time for some people, and we want to reassure you that we are here to provide you with the information and support to help you manage your rent payments, as well as letting you know what other support is available and tips to help you rethink energy, to save money and only using what you actually need.
Due to record high energy prices, the Government stepped in and introduced the Energy Price Guarantee, which provides a discount on the Price Cap for households. This means the Government is subsidising the cost of energy and limiting the amount suppliers can charge per unit of energy used.
The price cap is a limit on a unit of gas and electricity – it’s not a cap on your overall energy bills, which will still rise or fall in line with your energy use.
The price cap limits the rates a supplier can charge for their default tariffs. These include the standing charge and price for each kWh of electricity and gas (the units your bill is calculated from).
The guarantee is scheduled to be in place until April 2024.
Prices will then be controlled by the return of the energy price cap, which is set every three months by Ofgem, the energy industry regulator.
It confirms the maximum price suppliers can charge households per unit of energy on a standard - or default - tariff in normal circumstances.
Keep updated on the energy price cap on the ofgem website
The amount you pay depends on the amount of energy you use.
You will still pay for the gas and electricity you use. But the government's Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will limit the price that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy.
For a typical household - one that uses 12,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of gas a year, and 2,900 kWh of electricity a year - it means an annual bill should not rise above £2,074.
However, with Government energy rebate scheme, ending in March, it still means big bills for a lot of people, see below for the 2023/24 cost of living payments.
The amount you pay may also be impacted by your method of payment, e.g. Direct Debit, prepayment meter or by cheque.
The price cap is actually on units of energy though, so while these figures are for an average house, you may actually use far more or less than that and your bill will vary accordingly.
For anyone with above-average energy use – for example, large families or older people in larger homes – their annual bill could be much higher. The following examples are illustrative with prices based on energy price guarantee rates and customers paying for duel fuel by direct debit.
Source: BBC Analysis of Ofgem Figures
The government announcement in January 2023 confirmed that support packages and payments will still be made as planned, you can find details below.
The Government has announced details of a Household Support Fund extension worth £842 million.
In January 2023, the Government confirmed that millions of the lowest-income and most vulnerable households across the UK will get up to £1,350 from the Government in 2023/4 to help with the cost of living, including energy bills or groceries.
The additional funding will be allocated from 1 April 2023.
These payments will be made directly to eligible people across the UK, so claimants don’t need to take any action.
We’re all worried about rising prices and the pressure that puts on household budgets. The UK Government is providing a range of extra support which will be paid to eligible individuals automatically:
New Cost of Living Payments from Spring 2023:
Millions of the lowest-income households across the UK will get up to £1,350 from the Government in 2023/4 to help with the cost of living. Exact payment windows will be announced closer to the time but are spread across a longer period to ensure a consistent support offering throughout the year. They will be broadly as follows:
Those eligible will be paid automatically, and there will be no need to apply. For more information, please visit GOV.UK.
Further guidance will be published when more details have been announced, including the qualifying dates.
Depending on where you live in the UK, there are different schemes that could help support your household finances:
There are an estimated 1 million pensioner households not claiming Pension Credit – don’t be one of them.
For a pensioner to qualify for this payment, they must have been entitled to a payment of Pension Credit. People do not have to do anything extra to backdate their claim. If they make their application online, they will automatically be asked about backdating, and if they make their application over the phone the adviser will talk them through this.
You can check their eligibility for Pension Credit using the online calculator or call 0800 99 1234.
Around six million people across the UK who received the following disability benefits received a one-off payment of £150 between 20 June - 4 July 2023.
Recipients must have received a payment (or later receive a payment) of one of these qualifying benefits for 1 April 2023 to get the Disability Cost of Living payment.
For those who were awaiting confirmation of their entitlement to disability benefits on 1 April, or who are waiting to be assessed for eligibility to receive disability benefits, the process may take longer, but payments will still be automatic.
If you are eligible for this support you do not need to do anything, payments are automatic.
As with the other Cost of Living Payment these payments will also be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
If you have not had your payment, you can now report a missing payment if you think you should have had one of the above payments but cannot see it in your bank, building society or credit union account. Report missing payments at gov.uk - please do not report the same missing payment more than once.
Added: 14 March 2023
Eligible households in Great Britain can apply for £400 of support under the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF).
The scheme is aimed at those without a direct relationship to an energy supplier, including self-funded care home residents and people living in park homes, as well as households who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off grid.
Those who need additional support, or do not have internet access, can call a dedicated helpline on 0808 175 3287.
Payments will be made by Local Authorities, who may also request additional information – but only once an application has been made via the secure portal or helpline.
MaPs has launched new guidance to help people manage changes to the cost of living. The new guidance on its MoneyHelper website helps people manage their money in uncertain times, it contains information info people who:
For people who are already missing payments on their bills or credit commitments, then free debt advice services are available via MaPS’ advice locator tool.
MoneyHelper's free Bill and Payment Prioritiser tool can help you know what payments to deal with first and how to take action to keep up with payments.
Most of the time switching to a new energy tariff is a quick and easy way to reduce your bills, but not at the moment. If you are worried about your bills, contact the Energy Team at Torus Foundation for specialist advice. Call 0300 123 5809 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energy suppliers are offering cash grants to those hardest hits by bills rises. For instance, British Gas is giving out up to £750 through its new hardship fund.
But the amount can vary according to your supplier and your circumstances.
It's not just Universal Credit claimants who can get the help, but if you're on the benefit and have a low income you could qualify. Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:
The majority of utility companies offer more than just a payment plan. Suppliers can help support people who are struggling to pay bills with funding and may even fund other items such as white goods.
If you can’t pay your bills, don’t panic, don’t ignore it and don’t be embarrassed. Check your supplier today:
You can apply for a grant to pay off arrears if you've fallen behind from the British Gas Energy Trust.
Anyone can apply, it's not just for British Gas customers. If you're claiming the benefit and are struggling you could be eligible.
You need to have less than £1,000 in savings and are facing fuel poverty. You also need to have sought help from a money advice agency, like Citizens Advice.
The amount you can get will depend on your need and grants of over £1,500 are for exceptional circumstances.
Ofgem, the regulatory authority for gas and electric have published the following general advice for those who may struggle to pay their household energy bills.
JANUARY 2023: Due to a Government Decision, Homes rated C (EPC C rating it means it's been built using energy-efficient building methods or the home's fabric has been upgraded, which are most Torus homes) do no longer qualify for the WHD this year. Tenants have no reason to obtain the energy performance certificate (EPC), as it's already been registered. Please call the WHD helpline 0800 107 8002 with your enquires.
If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or are on a low income, you could be eligible for up to £150 off your electricity bill for winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The Warm Home Discount scheme opens in November. The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between November and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.
To find out more information including how to apply, visit: www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme. You can also call the WHD Helpline 0800 107 8002.
When temperatures plummet those in low-income households can get a £25 payment.
These cold weather payments have already been made in several locations where residents have experienced below zero weather.
The payment is made automatically, including to those on Universal Credit, for each seven day period of low temps.
In the coldest areas three £25 payments have been made so far this winter, adding up to £75 in total. Find out more including how to apply: www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment/eligibility
For customers living in Liverpool, the Liverpool City Council Healthy Homes team provide free help and advice to local people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and heat their homes.
You can speak to a member of their team or arrange a free energy assessment by calling 0800 012 1754 or emailing email@example.com. To find out more, please click here to visit Liverpool City Council’s website.
Other Local Authority Support
Visit your local council website to find out more about support is available in your area:
Liverpool devolved councils (Knowsley, Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool) – to find your council visit: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
If you are struggling to pay your water bill, United Utilities have also launched a new Pay-As-U-Go service to give your more flexibility in paying your water bill.
Find out more on the UU website or call them on 0800 072 6765.
If you are experiencing financial pressures, please get in touch as soon as possible, as it's better to let us know now, so our dedicate teams can do our best to help.
We can help you with:
Struggling to pay your rent please contact our Income Team.
If you are struggling to manage your Torus tenancy our Tenancy Sustainment Team can help, find out more about the support they can offer here.
Need help to help you to improve your financial situation, then contact the Torus Foundation Financial Inclusion Team who will directly help or signpost to organisations who can provide support. They can also help you assess what grants you may be eligible for and support you with your application.
There are many ways Torus Foundation can help you. Perhaps you’re looking for a job with better pay to manage your bills, become more confident with technology as more services move online, want to make the most of local food pantries, or need support and guidance towards preparing for energy costs. They can also help you assess what grants you may be eligible for and support you with your application. Find out more about what the Torus Foundation can offer here.
If you're worried about falling behind on bills. there are plenty of organisations where you can get advice for free, including:
Energy Saving Trust – make your home more energy efficient, reduce your carbon emissions and lower your energy bills.
Affordable Home Obligation – gov.uk: Help from your energy supplier: The Affordable Warmth Obligation
Citizens Advice - grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills
Money Saving Expert - Martin Lewis' site offers free and impartial advice to help you save money on credit cards, loans, energy and more.
Which? - Expert guides to help you make your money stretch further. Learn how to budget efficiently, get better deals, and find smart ways to make and save money.
Money Helper (was The Money Advice Service) - Loads of helpful tips and advice including budget planners and saving money.