Energy price cap rises – how much youll pay and how to cut your bill – Telegraph.co.uk

Are you better off finding a new fixed deal? 

“No. Wait it out, don’t panic and don’t be hoodwinked into signing up to a fixed deal which will cost you hundreds of pounds more in the long run,” said Mr Malinowski. 

Standard variable rates, which are protected by the cap, are traditionally the most expensive in the market. But the energy crisis has turned the market on its head and once cheaper fixed-term deals are now far more expensive than suppliers’ default tariffs.

“The energy price cap is finally working. For now, it is finally having its day,” said Mr Malinowski. 

Providers have removed default tariffs from their websites and hiked the cost of fixed-priced deals in response to the crisis, meaning customers could be unwittingly locking themselves into more contracts which are more expensive than the standard variable rate. 

The move to hide these cheaper offers, which are protected by the Government cap, and tie customers down to some of the most expensive energy contracts in history, has been branded by experts as “very questionable” behaviour.

Mr Malinowski added: “You can’t get a deal anywhere near the price cap at the moment. 

“Wholesale prices will eventually drop, we just don’t know when. When they do, you don’t want to be stuck on a fixed deal you locked into when prices were at record highs and which was significantly more expensive than the price cap.”

How can you minimise your bills? 

If you are currently employed but working from home, temporary tax breaks have since April last year allowed employers to pay workers up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs such as increased energy bills. This means you can ask HM Revenue & Customs to deduct the amount from your taxable income.  

The relief will also apply to previous weeks you worked from home due to Covid prior to the current tax year, right back to March 2020 when the first lockdown began. 

Basic-rate taxpayers can claim £1.20 a week in tax relief, equating to 20pc of £6, while higher-rate 40pc taxpayers can claim £2.40 a week. Over a year, this comes to £62.40 for basic-rate payers and £124.80 for higher-rate payers.

Switching to a smart meter will also give a much more accurate reading than traditional analogue meters.

In theory, smart meters give you real-time information on your usage so you can adapt your behaviour to use energy at cheaper times, such as running the washing machine at night.

However, the scheme has proved hugely controversial. Some people are uncomfortable having their usage tracked and question how much money the meters really save, given suppliers have increased bills in part to pay for the cost of the roll-out.

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