SIX million households have spiralled into debt with their energy supplier due to rocketing bills – here's how to get £3,200 in help.
A massive £1.3billion is owed in total, with customers owing an average of £206 to their energy company, according to Uswitch.
It means the overall amount households in the UK owe is already three times higher than what it was a year ago.
The situation is only expected to get worse in just a matter of months when energy bills hike AGAIN in October.
Experts at Cornwall Insight estimate that bills are now likely to rise to £3,358 from October 1 when the new price cap comes into action.
The cap limits the per unit price of energy suppliers can charge, and means the typical dual fuel bill is currently £1,971 – though you can pay more or less depending on usage.
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Households will know what this new price cap will be on August 26 – and how much their bills will go up by.
And in a massive billing shake-up revealed recently by regulator Ofgem, more regular energy price hikes are on the cards.
It announced that the price cap will be reviewed TWICE as often from two times a year to four.
It means a price cap review will take place in January – and experts are predicting bills could soar to an eye-watering £4,200 a year.
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How can I get help for my energy bills?
If you're worried that you won't be able to afford your energy bills, we outline how you can get £3,200 in help.
Energy bill discount – £400
Over 29 million households will be eligible for a £400 discount on their energy bills.
This will be automatically taken off your energy bills from October.
Energy suppliers have been instructed to pay households the discount in six instalments.
This means households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.
The non-repayable discount will be provided on a monthly basis regardless of whether consumers pay monthly, quarterly or have an associated payment card.
Those using a traditional prepayment meter will have to take action to get the cash.
They'll need to redeem discount vouchers sent by their energy firm at their usual top-up point.
Energy bill grants – up to £1,500
Many energy suppliers have schemes in place offering you financial assistance if you're falling behind or owe money for your bills.
You can get up to £1,500 from British Gas for example – and you don't even have to be a customer.
The maximum grant is usually £750, but those facing "exceptional circumstances" can get £1,500.
While Scottish Power will wipe off up to 40% off eligible customers' debts, capped at £750 per household.
Octopus customers can get cash grants of between £50 and £500, and at Bulb, you can get money to put towards your bills worth up to £140, and you can get your debts cleared which is capped at £2,000.
Eligibility for the help will vary from supplier to supplier – check out more information about who can claim in our explainer.
Household support fund – up to £300
Councils have been given a Household Support Fund that helps families with the rising cost of living.
The scheme, which has a £500million pot of money, is due to end on September 30, 2022.
You can get help from your council if you are struggling with your energy bills.
For example, residents in Blackpool can get as much as £300, depending on their circumstances.
However, you could get more – or less – than this if you live elsewhere, as it depends on what your council is offering.
To find out what support is available in your area, contact your local council.
Welfare assistance – up to £1,000
Many local authorities run welfare assistance schemes, which are available to people on a low income who have run into financial difficulties – or who have had to deal with a crisis.
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While you could get up to £1,000 in some areas – which would come in handy for paying your rising energy bills.
As each council runs its own scheme – and decides what help to dish out – some families can claim more than others.
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