Cost of living crisis: Households urged to submit meter readings ahead of price hikes for gas and electricity
Households are set to see the biggest rise in the cost of energy in living memory from Friday (April 1), when bills increase by 54%, or almost £700, to just under £2,000 a year.
Families have been urged to submit meter readings for gas and electricity to their supplier on Thursday (March 31) to show exactly how much energy they have used ahead of energy regulator Ofgem's price cap increasing from April 1.
This will prevent firms from estimating usage and potentially upping charges for energy use.
Households should also send regular meter readings, ideally on the same date each month, to prevent their supplier from estimating usage and potentially overcharging for it as they move into the summer months and use less heating.
Gillian Cooper, head of energy policy at Citizens Advice, said: "We'd recommend sending meter readings to your supplier ahead of the price cap rise on 1 April.
"This means your energy company will have an accurate picture of your usage before higher rates come in.
"If you're struggling to pay your bill, speak to your energy provider as they have to help you.”
The energy price cap for those on default tariffs who pay by direct debit is rising by £693, from £1,277 to £1,971, from April 1.
Prepayment customers will see a bigger jump, with their price cap going up by £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.
The regulator was forced to hike the energy price cap to a record £1,971 for a typical household, as gas prices soared to unprecedented highs, partly due to the war in Ukraine.
Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) warned the cost of heating an average home has now doubled in 18 months, leaving 6.5 million households unable to live in a warm safe home across the UK.
NEA chief executive Adam Scorer called it the “biggest energy price shock in living memory”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to "take the sting out" of the price rises, promising that all 28 million households in Britain would get a £200 up-front rebate on their energy bills from October.
Mr Sunak also promised a £150 council tax rebate for homes in bands A to D, something he said would cover around 80% of homes in England, as well as £144 million for councils to support vulnerable people.
An spokesman for Ofgem said: "We know this rise will be extremely worrying for many people.
"The energy market has faced a huge challenge due to the unprecedented increase in global gas prices, a once in a 30-year event, and Ofgem's role as energy regulator is to ensure that, under the price cap, energy companies can only charge a fair price based on the true cost of supplying electricity and gas.
"Ofgem is working to stabilise the market and over the longer term to diversify our sources of energy which will help protect customers from similar price shocks in the future."Industry analysts, such as Goldman Sachs, a bank, have already warned that prices in the gas market are likely to remain at twice their usual levels until 2025.