EXPLAINED | What energy cap raises mean for Southport homeowners

3rd February 2022

Bill payers in Southport will see a sharp rise in the cost of their energy bills from April.

The energy price cap, which sets the maximum figure that can be charged to customers, will rise by 54%.

Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year. Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

Rishi Sunak today announced a loan scheme that would see £200 knocked off energy bills in April, but this will be paid back incrementally in future bills.

Council tax payers in bands A-D will also get £150 off their Council tax bill in April.

Shortly after the cap rise was confirmed, the Bank of England announced that the base rate of interest will ise to 0.5% meaning that 2 million UK tracker mortgage holders will see their payments rise.

Damien Moore MP said: “It is clear that our country is entering a difficult period, with global inflationary pressures and rising energy prices squeezing household savings. I realise that this is a worrying time for many in Southport, and so I am pleased to welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of an £8.6 billion support package to support households and families.

“This package includes a non-repayable £150 Council Tax rebate for Band A-D households, a £200 energy bill rebate for all households repayable over five years, and £144 million discretionary funding for local authorities to help those not otherwise supported. These measures cover 80% of households across England, including 95% of rented properties, ensuring Southport residents will be given the support they need at this difficult time.

“I also very much welcome that we are also continuing with plans to increase the Warm Homes Discount and extend eligibility by one-third to three million vulnerable households, saving struggling families another £150.

“If any of my constituents are struggling, or would like further information on the schemes available, my office is here to help. We can be contacted in the usual way by post, email, and telephone, and I hold a weekly drop-in surgery on Fridays at the Atkinson between 11am and 2pm, to which any of my constituents are welcome to turn up, with no appointment necessary.”

Energy regulator OFGEM confirmed that the following help is available to anyone struggling financially:

  • If customers are struggling to pay for energy bills, they should contact their energy supplier as soon as possible. Depending on their circumstances, customers may be eligible for extra help with their energy bills or services, such as debt repayment plans, payment breaks, emergency credit for prepayment metered customers, priority support and schemes like the Winter Fuel Payment or Warm Home Discount rebate.
  • Breathing Space Scheme: This is a scheme to give households time to receive debt advice and find a solution to sort out their debt problems. Breathing space will last for 60 days as long as applicants remain eligible during which time all creditors who have been included will be informed and must stop any collection or enforcement activity. Once the breathing space ends, creditors will be able to collect the debt in the usual way. Call the National Debtline on Freephone 0808 808 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.org
  • The Citizens Advice consumer service can provide advice on how customers can resolve problems with their energy provider. You can contact Citizens Advice via webchat, or by calling 0808 223 1133. For complex or urgent cases, or if a person is in a vulnerable situation, they may then be referred onto the Extra Help Unit.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “Many families across Sefton will already have been feeling the effect of higher domestic fuel charges, as well as rising prices in the shops. And for a large number of households, many of them working, this will have been combined with the Government’s £20 per week cut in Universal Credit in November.

“The energy cap was raised to £1,277 and the next is expected to push it up to around £2,000 from April when the Government will also be introducing increases to National Insurance payments.”

Cllr Hardy continued: “With the Government looking reluctant to help out hard-hit households, having just this/last week having voted down a Labour party plan to remove VAT from domestic energy bills for a year, we are reminding people who think they will struggle, that Sefton Council’s Affordable Warmth Team can provide advice and support.”

Additionally, people facing housing difficulties that could put their home at risk, who have received an eviction notice or have rent arrears should get in touch with our Homeless Prevention Service at homeless.prevention@sefton.gov.uk or by calling 0151 934 3541.

The Homeless Prevention team works with tenants to help them maintain their tenancy or with moving on to more affordable and suitable accommodation, and they can also assist landlords that are facing issues such as rent arrears and late or inconsistent rent payments.

Landlords who have concerns about vulnerable tenants can also contact the team for support in resolving the situation.