Martin Lewis warns everyone to check energy bills now – and reveals how much credit is too much | The Sun

MARTIN Lewis has urged millions of households to check their energy bills now to see if they can save money.

It comes as he revealed how much credit is too much and you can ask for back from your supplier ahead of the colder months.

He was discussing the topic on ITV's Good Morning Britain today.

Talking about a viewer's £150 monthly bill who has £1,000 in credit, he explained: "My very very rough rule of thumb, is going into winter you want to be a maximum of two to three months worth of direct debits in credit.

"Your direct debit is £150. If we stretch that to the max that's £450.

"If you're £1,000 in credit that's too much. I think you could safely ask (your supplier) for about £600 of that back.

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"And if they don't want to give it back, ask them to justify why because in their licence terms and conditions they have to be fair on the direct debits and fair on the credit."

It comes as Lewis' moneysavingexpert.com unveiled a new tool to help energy users figure out if they're spending too much on their direct debits.

Millions of households pay for their energy through "fixed" direct debit payments.

Your supplier estimates how much energy you'll use over 12 months and splits your monthly payments equally across the year.

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The amount can change if your usage goes up or down massively or gas and electricity rates change like with the energy price guarantee.

This can sometimes mean you pay more for your energy than you're actually using, particularly in warmer months, and you build up credit.

But you can try and secure a better price with your supplier by taking regular meter readings or getting a smart meter.

Or, you can use the moneysavingexpert.com tool where you can check if you're paying too much for your direct debits.

If you do find that you're paying too much for your energy, you can ask your supplier to lower it.

Of course, because fixed direct debits are based on estimates, if you get your bill lowered too much you can end up underpaying and having to fork out more further down the line.

You can also pay for your energy through "variable" direct debits but only if you have a smart meter or you take meter readings every month.

If you pay this way, your payments change depending on how much you use each month.

So while it's good for a more accurate bill, it can mean you have to budget more flexibly depending on the time of year.

What other bill help can I get?

The government announced in its Autumn Statement millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.

Eight million households should have received cost of living payments worth up to £650, but eligibility criteria could change under any new rules.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also said pensioners will be getting a £300 one-off payment.

The current "Pensioner Cost of Living payment" is being handed out to millions on a low income.

You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the Winter Fuel Payment, but this could change under the new rules.

The £300 cost of living payment is paid on top of the other winter support.

You'll need to be:

  • born on or before 25 September 1956
  • have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the "qualifying week"

Plus, 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.

There are also plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • British Gas Energy Trust
  • Bulb energy fund
  • EDF's energy customer support fund
  • E.on's energy fund
  • Npower's energy fund
  • Ovo's debt and energy assistance
  • Scottish Power's hardship fund

Plus, millions of households are currently receiving support through the £400 energy rebate, which has been split into six monthly instalments.

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We explain how paying for your bill in a different way might impact how you're issued the £400 rebate here.

On top of that, you might be able to get help through the Household Support Fund, which is being issued by councils.

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