Full list of energy bill help worth up to £3,130 as Martin Lewis warns of price rise – including free cash and vouchers | The Sun

HOUSEHOLDS could get help with energy costs as Martin Lewis warned that millions face higher bills this winter.

The money saving expert said he felt "sick" after finding the latest price cap predictions mean billpayers forking out £450 a year more.

The estimates for the October price cap rise – which dictates the bills of more than 20million customers not on fixed deals – come from Cornwall Insights.

The energy experts look at the wholesale costs of energy, which are reflected in the price cap.

Energy regulator Ofgem which is due to announce the next amount within weeks, previously said the price cap could hit £2,800 a year.

That's for the typical dual fuel bill,and the cap applies to the unit price, so your bill can vary depending on how much you actually use.

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The latest predictions now put that at £3,244 a year.

Martin said on Twitter: "I feel sick writing this! I've just got the latest price cap predictions from @CornwallInsight.

"A huge spike in the key year-ahead wholesale price means Oct cap prediction UP 64% (so £3,244/yr on typical bills) JAN cap prediction UP 4% (so £3,363/yr)"

"It's horrendous. Especially as we're now near the end of the assessment period that sets Oct's cap, so this is the right ball park."

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The money saving expert said the latest prediction is now £450 higher than Ofgem's suggestion back in May.

He said the old figure was used by the government to calculate the cost of living support package – and is now essentially out of date.

From July 14 millions on Universal Credit and certain other benefitswill start getting the first half of £650 cost of living payments.

A £400 energy bill grant will be given to every household to pay for rising bills from October, and those with disabilities could get an extra £150 payment on top.

But "more will be needed" Martin warned as the latest price rise prediction "eats up" the £400 bill help.

The energy price cap is reviewed by Ofgem twice a year, but could change more often to reflect wholesale cost more closely.

If the change goes ahead reviews could take place four times a year in January, April, August and October from 2023.

Here's all the help with bills you can get to help you with price rises.

Supplier funds and grants – up to £1,500

Suppliers offer grants and extra cash through charitable funds.

You could get money through this if you're struggling and you won't have to pay it back.

For example, Eon and Octopus both have funds to help households who are struggling to pay.

What's available depends on your supplier, and not all offer them while others may have closed applications due to high demand.

The British Gas Energy Trust can write off energy debts and hand out grants – and you don't have to be a customer to apply for help.

The help is worth up to £1,500 and the exact amount depends on your needs and demand.

Other grants

Other organisations including charities can also help you pay some or all of your bill, or pay off arrears.

There are around 8,000 charities and organisations in the UK that offer cash to help struggling families.

Turn2Us has a free grants search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.

Cancer charity Macmillan recently made an extra £3.5million of grants available to those living with cancer.

Fuel vouchers – £50

If you're on a prepayment meter you might be able to get a one-off voucher to top up.

Andy Shaw from Stepchange previously told The Sun: "Energy suppliers are able to provide people with vouchers that they can use for their meters.

"You can also get them through some food banks and other local support organisations and the eligibility criteria is usually the same – you'll need to have been been referred by an advice provider, GP or similar."

The fuel voucher scheme comes via the Fuel Bank Foundation charity, and it's offered through a range of organisations, like food banks and Citizens Advice.

The best place to start to find somewhere which can offer you a fuel voucher is by asking your local council – you can find yours via gov.uk by searching your postcode.

If you’re still not sure if you can get a voucher, you can get help from an adviser, Citizens Advice says.

The voucher should help you cover around two weeks worth of electricity use.

Some energy companies may also issue their own vouchers, so ask your supplier directly.

You won't have to pay back the money.

Emergency credit – £10

Energy companies usually offer emergency credit, though you will have to pay this back.

British Gas recently doubled the amount customers can get in an emergency due to the cost of living crisis.

The supplier said households with a top up key or card will now be able to go £10 into debt before they're cut off.

Smart meter customers will still have a £5 limit, but the company is looking to roll the increase out to these households too.

How much you get and hos it's applied will depend on who your supplier is.

It might be added to your meter when you fall below a certain amount or you might have to ask for it.

You might get extra if you are vulnerable, for example if you have a health condition or are over state pension age.

You'll have to repay the cash next time you top up, but you can speak to your supplier about how much you'll pay back and over what time.

Check your benefit entitlement

It's worth checking you're getting all the benefit's you're entitled to, especially if you've had a change of circumstances.

Millions of Brits are missing out on benefits they're entitled to adding up to billions of pounds in total.

For instance you might get extra cash if you're looking after someone else or for housing costs.

The quickest way to see what benefits you may be able to claim is to use one of the three benefit calculators recommended by Gov.uk.

Each one is free to use. They are: 

  • Turn2us
  • Policy in Practice
  • entitledto

Household support fund – £200

Local councils are giving out cash top help households struggling with bills and other essential costs.

How much you can get depends on where you live. The scheme was extended in March, so if you missed out last time, you've got another chance to apply.

For instance Birmingham has given out £200 payments through the household support fund to help with bills.

To see what's available where you are, and to apply, you'll need to check your local council.

You can search for yours using the search tool on gov.uk – just enter your postcode.

Local councils also offer welfare assistance schemes all year round that can help you with bills.

Council tax discount – £170

Around 80% of households will get a £150 council tax rebate to help with the rising cost of energy bills.

You will be eligible if you live in a property in council tax bands A to D.

If you pay your bill by direct debit, your local authority will automatically make the payment to your account from this month.

It will usually be paid after you've settled your council tax bill for April, so the exact date will vary.

If you pay by another method, you might have to apply for the cash.

For those not eligible a separate £144million fund has also been launched which local councils can dish out to vulnerable and low income households.

Some councils have already opened applications for the cash, but others have yet to launch the discretionary scheme.

And some councils are offering cash from this fund on top of the main scheme for those really struggling, which could boost total payment up to nearly £200.

You can check with your local council directly to find out how to get either payment where you are.

Energy bill discount – £400

Every household will start to benefit from a £400 energy bill discount from October onwards.

The energy discount will be dished out from this point, and payments will be given out in instalments over the successive six months.

It replaces a previous plan to give a £200 energy rebate, which households would have had to pay back.

The £400 discount is a grant you WON'T have to pay back through higher energy bills in later years which is good news for billpayers.

Customers paying their energy bill by direct debit should see the money credited to their account.

Those on pre-payment meters will have the money added to their meter, or they will receive a voucher.

Cost of living payment on benefits – £650

In July, more than eight million households will be paid the first chunk of their one-off £650 cash boost.

Those on the following means-tested benefits will get the cash: Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), income support and Pension Credit.

The first lot of money is worth £326 and will be paid between July 14 and the end of the month, the government has now revealed.

Payments will go out automatically into the bank account claimants usually get their benefits, and will be separate to the usual amount you get.

To get the cash, you will need to be on eligible benefits or have begun a successful claim which is later, as of May 25 this year.

If you miss that date and claim Universal Credit after this then you could still be eligible for the second half of the payment later in the Autumn.

Autumn is also when people on tax credits will get the first half of their £650 payments.

Working tax credits and child tax credit claimants are eligible for the cash, but will get it at a later date.

That's to avoid people getting paid twice if they get other benefits on top of tax credits.

The first cost of living payment for those on tax credits, and not getting any DWP benefit, will go out from autumn 2022 and the second payment from winter 2022.

The exact dates for both payments have not been confirmed yet.

Cost of living disability payment – £150

Six million people with disabilities will receive £150 in September.

This is to help them pay for any energy intensive equipment they have, which could be driving up their bills.

Many disability benefit recipients also get means tested benefits – so this £150 sum is separate to the £650 payment.

And like the £650 cash boost, the £150 help will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

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If you're worried about falling behind on bills. there are plenty of organisations where you can get advice for free, including:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060

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