Martin Lewis gives urgent energy bill advice to prepayment meter customers

Energy bills rise on April 1, but Lewis said people with prepaid energy meters can lock in by buying electricity at current prices, saving them money at the future.

Lewis said recharging now means buying power before prices rise

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis gave urgent advice to people with prepayment energy meters to be recharged if they can before April 1.

UK households are currently facing increases in the cost of energy bills, fuelfood and more.

Speaking at the Ideal Home Show last week, Lewis said people with non-smart prepayment meters could save money buying energy before prices rise earlier this month next.

The cost of the average variable rate energy bill, for the average household, is capped by the regulator Ofgem.

This ceiling increases from £1,277 a year to £1,971 on April 1.

Lewis said: “If you’re on a non-smart prepayment meter then look to top up as much as you can before April 1st as regulators have confirmed to me that you get the rate the day you go over-up, not the day you consume energy.

“So that means putting in as much as you can in March before the big April 1 price hike and then you can still use it in April but paying the cheapest price and then not top up again until what you really need. When you top up again, it will change the price.”

Lewis added that people paying by monthly direct debit should also take a meter reading on March 31, the day before the April price cap hiked 54%.

He said: “You have to draw a line in the sand with your energy supplier so that you say ‘everything I’ve used so far should be charged at the discount rate’, rather than just let it estimate what you used in March and what you used at the highest rate.”

I’m on a fixed plan, does my bill increase?

No, not for the duration of your fixed contract. The cap relates to energy suppliers’ standard variable tariffs – these are the tariffs that customers apply by default and which have traditionally been more expensive than the fixed rate offers on offer.

The reason why the energy cap was introduced was to prevent these customers from paying high prices due to their loyalty.

If you have a fixed contract, you will continue to pay the same rate until the end of the term – unless your supplier goes bankrupt and you are transferred to a new company. If this happens, you will be transferred to their variable rate.

Households are in a strange situation at the moment, because switching to a new fixed offer would mean paying higher prices. Chances are that if your deal is ending soon, you’d be better off switching to your provider’s standard rate rather than a new flat rate.

Annual food bills are increase by around £180 as the cost of living crisis continues to weigh on households.

Municipal tax bills will also increase around £100 in April because of the skyrocketing cost of social care.

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Elaine R. Knight