MILLIONS of energy customers are just hearing about a surprise rise in bills from January.
In October, the government introduced a discount on bills – called the energy price guarantee – which means the average household on dual-fuel tariff won’t pay more than £2,500 a year.
This is set to rise to £3,000 a year in April, when the guarantee is extended.
But regulator Ofgem still sets the price cap on what suppliers can charge and the next update takes effect on January 1, which means the discount on bills will change very slightly from this date.
It means that millions could see an unexpected rise in their bills.
Martin Lewis has previously warned about a shock rise to bills from this date.
Some energy firms have decided to pass on these costs to customers, while others have not.
The amount your bill will rise depends on where you live, how much energy you use and how you pay.
We are still waiting to hear back from Octopus Energy, British Gas, Utilita, Utility Warehouse and Shell Energy and will update this story once we’ve heard back.
Here’s what each firm is doing:
Some customers will see a rise, depending on where they live.
A spokesperson for the provider said: “Depending on where our customers live, their meter type, and how they pay for their energy, some customers will see an increase, some a decrease and others will see no change.”
Customers will be contacted either by email or letter.
The spokesperson added this means the typical prepayment meter customer will pay around £2,579.50 a year.
Direct debit customers will pay around £2,500 a year on average.
Some So Energy customers will see their bills hiked next month.
Those outside of the Eastern, Midlands, South Easter and Southern regions will see a small rise in line with the price cap.
Those on “So Flex” tariffs are urged to check their price change notifications for details about how they’ll be impacted.
The So Flex tariff is the provider’s standard variable tariff.
A spokesperson for So Energy said all customers affected have already been contacted by email or post.
E.On is not passing on the Ofgem energy price cap rise to customers on prepayment meters.
But it said it was writing to customers to let them know what the new price cap from January 1 “means for them”.
This applies to E.On Next customers too.
We have approached the provider to clarify what customers this will impact and will update this story when we know more.
However, on social media, some customers have been saying they’ve received notice of their bills rising in January.
One E.On Next customer said: “Why is my gas and lekky bill going up again in January?”
While another said: “Why has E.On Next written to say that our electricity bill is going up again on the 1st January?”
One E.On customer said: “Yeah I received a letter from Eon. They gonna increase energy prices again in January.”
Some EDF customers will see their energy bills go up from January.
A spokesperson for the provider said all affected customers will have been contacted by December 24 telling them of any changes.
Those who pay for their energy by cash cheque will on average see bills go up from around £2,715 to £2,754 a year – a rise of £39.
And those on prepayment meters from £2,560 to £2,579 on average per year – a rise of £19.
Direct debit payees won’t see a change to their average yearly bill.
What can I do if I think there’s an error on my bills?
If you think you’ve been charged too much for your energy bill, there are some steps you can take.
You should go to your supplier first and dispute it.
But you’ll have to say why you think you’ve been charged the wrong amount and include evidence.
You can usually send the complaint via email or post.
Make sure you keep a copy of all correspondence in case you don’t win the claim.
If you don’t win the claim, you can take it to the energy ombudsman.
It’s an independent body that handles disputes between customers and energy suppliers.
What energy bill help can I get?
If you’re worried about paying your energy bills, don’t worry as there is support on offer.
Plenty of energy providers offer grants to customers struggling to pay their way.
British Gas, E.ON, Octopus and Ovo all offer grants worth hundreds of pounds.
For the full list, you can read our guide here.
Plus, the government announced in its Autumn Statement that millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also said pensioners will be getting a £300 one-off payment.
You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the Winter Fuel Payment.
On top of this, struggling families are eligible for the Warm House Discount this winter.
Households in England and Wales don’t need to apply to get the cash and they’ll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.
You can read more about who’s eligible here.
Plus, millions of households are currently receiving support through the £400 energy rebate, which has been split into six monthly instalments.
We explain how paying for your bill in a different way might impact how you’re issued the £400 rebate here.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
You might be able to get help through the Household Support Fund too.
And thousands are due £50 payments after temperatures plummeted.