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In the past year, households have received help with their gas and electricity costs through a £400 Government grant and the £2,500 price guarantee. However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed an end to some of the existing energy bill support, as well as changes which will affect how much people pay. Mr Hunt is predicted to highlight the Government’s wave of targeted support for vulnerable demographics, such as those on benefits, in his Spring Budget next month.
With this move, families are estimated to be hit with a 40 percent hike in their household gas and electricity prices.
Currently, the Government’s ‘Energy Bill Support Scheme’ has been in place since October 2022.
Through this initiative, all households across England, Scotland, and Wales have been receiving £400 in instalments to help with the growing cost of energy bills.
This has been paid automatically to families and does not need to be paid back at a later date.
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As well as this, financial assistance has also been available for businesses, with discounts on energy rates.
Furthermore, through the Government’s energy price guarantee, the price per unit of gas and electricity is capped at £2,500 for homes with average usage.
However, the price guarantee is set to be raised to £3,000 come April which will mean the average household could likely pay more.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, James Longley, the managing director at Utility Bidder, warned that those on low income are being “plunged into the deep end” as a result of Mr Hunt’s decision.
He explained: “Chancellor Jeremy Hunt coursed some cause for concern in his March budget recently as he declared that there would be no further support following the end of the Energy Bill Support Scheme, meaning that some households could see anything up to a 40 percent rise in payments.
“Although some of the poorest and most vulnerable households might qualify for extra support, many UK citizens will be plunged into the deep end, with energy bills not showing signs of dropping just yet.
“As part of Hunt’s reforms, typical household bills will be allowed to rise to £3,000 per year, from £2,500 between April 2023 and April 2024.
“This, conjoined with the removal of the five-month £400 energy support, is going to cause a great deal of concern for many.”
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With the Government apparently stepping back from offering the same level of support, the energy expert shared how suppliers are stepping up to the plate.
Mr Longley added: “Many new initiatives are being tested by energy suppliers at present, including offering their customers the chance to be rewarded for changing their energy-usage habits.
“For example, four major firms have all taken part in a National Grid pilot scheme this week, with suppliers paying households to cut their energy usage at peak times – in turn, preventing the possibility of blackouts.
“The incentive is there for those taking on the scheme, as customers will be paid for any savings they make.”
With the country’s cost of living crisis likely to continue for the foreseeable future, Mr Longley shared advice for those looking to reduce their energy bills without the support of the Government or their supplier.
The energy expert said: “Electricity and gas users should try, where possible, to limit their usage during peak hours of the day. These tend to incorporate getting ready for work and school, as well as making evening meals at the end of the day.
“Using any utilities throughout the night will prove cheaper, and you can set timers for appliances such as dishwashers. There are many little changes in lifestyle that can save electricity and gas – even if you only feel the minimal benefit, every little helps.
“Switching your appliances off when you’re not using them, rather than leaving them on standby, will save you money in the long run.
“Some techniques are more costly than others yet offer benefits for the future, and switching from a gas boiler to an alternative should be a step in the right direction. For example, installing solar panels would offset these running costs.”
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