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I'm not stupid but I've been caught out about rises in energy prices and the government's cap

I consider myself to be moderately educated and very sensible and more than moderately aware of life and how to manage a home.

I'm aware what a price cap on gas & electric prices but that can be confusing to many but not me

I feel silly and stupid today having received a letter from my energy supplier.
I was shocked to learn that tariffs are indeed going up. Stupidly I thought they had been frozen at April 2022 levels.
We are also 800 pounds in debt as opposed to the 400 the previous year.
We are currently paying over 300 pounds a month and will now increase this to 450 in order to clear the debt as well.

We are careful with the heating and lighting, we are at home all day.

We have money but we are eating into it as we are early retired and savings well in excess of the benefits levels.

It is a shock and I'm worried as we are both over the age of 60 and feel the cold.

One of our children lives with us and works from home, they have offered to help even more but ATM we have declined as it is pride.

Anyone else got caught out like me?


  • marcia_
    marcia_ Posts: 1,998 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited 26 September 2022 at 4:15PM
     To help pay off your debt. Don't let pride get in the way this is affecting many people. 

  • EssexHebridean
    A good many people I would think, no point in wasting time feeling silly about it, at least you've realised now and are putting plans in place to tackle to debt to your supplier. 

    Going forwards, make sure that you do regular meter readings and submit them, or if on smart meters check at least every few months that the readings they are sending are correct, and keep a good close eye on your account balances so you can see whether things needs adjusting one way or another. Also be sure that you know how your supplier plans to administer the £400 energy grant a there are subtle differences as to how this is being done depending on who you are with, your payment method etc. 
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  • diystarter7
    Mstty said:
    The good news is you will get £400 off your energy bill over the next 6 months.

    You won't be the only people misunderstanding what is happening and I would suggest a great deal of people do not know that the prices have gone up and bills will be a lot higher.

    A fair board and lodgings does not remove your pride👍
    Many thanks but I do feel stupid/silly, incompetent etc.

    My fault, I neglected to mention the 400 that was also mentioned in the letter and that will help in part but it is our money those that pay taxes or have done but better than nothing. We did get 150 rebate from the coucil as per government action but it is still massive the bills.

    Adding insult to injury is the food shopping bill rocketing. After a lifetime of Hovis bread, Walls sausages, and Heinz beans we've changed to their own brand labels but the milk/cheese and almost anything and everything else is going up and then fuel at the pump.

    I should feel better that many may have misunderstood like me but feel saddened that many are in a far worse financial situation than we are. Thank you again
  • diystarter7
    marcia_ said:
     To help pay off your debt. Don't let pride get in the way this is affecting many people. 

    My fault for not being clear re "debt" with the supplier. It's twofold the first 400 was the previous co did not tell us about 18 months ago when they crashed and we were transferred to our existing supplier.

    We have the cash to pay it off but wrongly calculated that we'd pay it off on the last lot of payment increases, not more than double it.

    Thank you for trying to help.
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 10,513 Forumite
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Stating the obvious here 
    • do take regular readings - even if you have a smart meter, sense check it occasionally
    • do take a reading as well when there's a price change - 1st Oct unless you're on a fix.
    • do a calculation of your annual use at current and October prices.  Do they match the supplier's?  If not challenge their proposed DD.
    • do pay by DD as it's normally cheaper than any other way.  Consider if you want a fixed DD or are happy to pay exact use which means high payments in the winter and low in the summer.
    • get the child who is likely in decently paid employment to split the cost of the arrears as a one off.  They are part of the reason there's arrears and parents shouldn't sub kids all their lives.  
    • read some of the threads on the cutting cost posts - how to stay warm, how to cut cooking costs - including don't stand in front of an open fridge door!  Never occured to me really!!!
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • youravinalarrrf
    For you to be £800 in debt to your energy supplier at this time of year means just one thing - you have not increased your direct debit to match your energy use and the rising prices and have definitely not been paying enough each month.
    At this time of year you should expect to have built up credit over the summer to be around 2-3 times the amount of your direct debit in credit to allow for your increased usage over the coming winter months.
    It's simple enough to calculate what your direct debit should be yourself from your estimated annual usage figures which are usually stated on each monthly statement/bill.
    If this is something you can't do yourself ask your energy supplier to review your account and provide an appropriate monthly direct debit amount for your estimated annual energy use.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    One of our children lives with us and works from home, they have offered to help even more but ATM we have declined as it is pride.
    Your adult child offering means they want to help.  Please let them, it will be good for all of you.  

  • Anyone else got caught out like me?
    Many people will have, but unlike you they still won't have noticed.  Much of the population seem to just not care to try and understand these things.

    You've noticed now, so can start to address it.

    Do you know what your actual annual usage is in kWh?  There will be an estimate on your bills, but better to use actual readings a year apart.
  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Posts: 9,520 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    You're not the first, and you won't be the last, but as others have said, at least you've realised sooner rather than later.

    Also bear in mind other relatives/friends that may be making similar assumptions and check with them that they understand too, especially if you still have (older) ones, living independently.
    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 2.38% of current retirement "pot" (as at end April 2024)
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