Rising energy bills have become an increasingly significant cause of concern since prices started to rise in April 2022. However, some customers on prepayment meters have been experiencing particularly high charges, so finance journalist Martin Lewis, joined by Grant Shapps, the secretary of state for energy security and net zero, provided some key tips to get bills lower.
Addressing a question posed by a viewer, Mr Lewis asked Mr Shapps: “Why are pre-payment meters charged more when they’re paying up-front for usage?
“Many of the poorest in society are on prepayment meters and they do pay more. Isn’t it time we ended that?”
Mr Shapps said: “The straight answer is they’re not paying by direct debit and it’s cheaper to collect by direct debit, but I think the more appropriate answer is, it is an issue we need to see resolved with prepayment meters.”
Mr Lewis then added: “I should say, again, it’s set by the price cap. I forgot to give a tip earlier. I’ll just give it now.
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“If you pay by payment in receipt of bills, check out whether you can pay by variable direct debit. It works the same way, you give your meter reading and you only pay for what you’ve used.
“But if they take it by direct debit, it’s way cheaper and you should go and have a look. If you can, do it by variable direct debit.”
Moving on to address a viewer’s more broad question, Mr Lewis asked Mr Shapps: “What’s going to happen to energy prices in the future, are they ever going to get cheaper again?”
Mr Shapps responded by saying his “objective” is to get the country to the “lowest energy prices” for wholesale energy in Europe.
He said: “And I think we can do that because we are ten years ahead of building these wind farms. We have the biggest wind farm in the world, the second biggest, the third biggest, and the fourth biggest. And they’re all off the British coast. So we have got a big head start.”
He continued: “We’ve got more solar than France. We’ve got as much as Spain. We’ve got a big head start.”
After which Mr Lewis interjected: “We also have nearly some of the highest prices in Europe.”
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Twitter user @rachelw72000074 responded to the poll: “I work full time and my husband is retired. We get no help whatsoever as we are just outside of any threshold. Without the £400 additional help we are going to be desperate. It’s not only the vulnerable that struggle but those who work full time and try so hard to live daily.”
Twitter user @mammygoosy followed up: “Although I am coming out just under five percent I am sat here in a woolly hat, Oodie over thermals, blanket and hot water bottle on my lap – the house is cold – not giving energy companies any more than I have to.”
The energy price guarantee, which currently sees an average household pay £2,500 per year on energy, has been extended a further three months instead of rising to £3,000 in April as initially planned.
The Money Show airs on Tuesday at 8pm on ITV.