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9 March 2022, 14:23 | Updated: 31 March 2022, 06:52
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has issued three urgent energy bill tips to help people with the upcoming hike in prices.
From April 1, the energy cap is rising by a massive 54 per cent.
Gas and electricity bills are set to skyrocket for millions of households across the UK, sending us into an energy bill crisis.
From the start of next month, the current price cap will jump from £1,277 to £1,971 – an increase of £700.
Ahead of the hike in prices, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has shared three energy bill tips to help households keep their bills as low a possible for as long as possible.
Martin says: "For those of you on pre-paid meters, specifically non-smart pre-paid meters, if you're on a smart meter, this will not help.
"The regulator has confirmed to me that you get the rate on the day you top up, not when you use energy.
"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 then use that energy in April.
"So, you can extend the cheap rate we have now for longer by maxing your top-up if you can afford it. And I know not everyone on pre-paid can.
"Every mainstream company has confirmed to me that this will work, with one exception – Scottish Power – who said it will add a rate on top of that."
Martin says: "I'm afraid there's no similar system for you, if you artificially inflate your direct debit in March, that is fraud, you can't do that.
"But I would suggest you do a meter reading today, and then do a meter reading on the 31st March so you draw a line and tell the energy company: 'All this energy I have used should be at the cheap rate'."
Martin says: "Finally, you'll know that there are currently a couple of Government schemes to come in place.
"In April, all those in band A - D council tax will get a £150 council tax rebate to help with energy costs.
"It was first in England, now Scotland and Wales are doing it and we await to hear in Northern Ireland.
"For the English scheme we're being told you will get the money automatically paid into your bank account as long as you pay council tax by direct debit.
"If you don't do that already, there's still time to set it up, although I can't give you deadlines because it is council-by-council.
"If you don't set the direct debit up, then keep an eye out for a letter from the council because each council will tell you its claim system and you need to watch for that.
"If you're not eligible for the £150 because say you're in a higher band, then there is a discretionary £140million being set up to help those who are struggling. It will be up to each council to decide how it distributes it but be ready to claim that."