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What to do if the extreme weather affected your bills

Two million homes are set to receive cold weather payments, but if you’re not one of them you could still save yourself some money

uk snow - beast from the east

The Beast from the East and storm Emma have been and gone, but they’ve probably left their mark on your bills — energy in particular; as households cranked up the thermostat to keep warm, the next bill from your supplier could be quite the shock.

However, there are a few things that could ease the financial pain:

Cold weather payments

The government will be paying out a collective £50million to households who experienced seven consecutive days (or more) of freezing temperatures. This equates to £25 a household, and will be automatically credited depending on the benefits you receive and if the post code you live in was affected.

Those receiving Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit are eligible for the payment.

Cold weather payments shouldn’t be confused with the Warm Home Discount or Winter Fuel payment.

Power cut compensation

If the bad weather caused you to experience a power outage, then you could be able to claim money back. Households could receive £70 if they were without power for 24 hours, and £70 for each additional 12 hour period (capping at £700).

In order to apply for compensation, you must contact your area’s electricity distributor — find out who yours is here.

Water supply compensation

The freezing temperatures also caused chaos for some people’s water supply with pipes thawing and cracks causing havoc.

Any compensation you’re eligible for due to your water supply being cut off, should be paid automatically into your bank account by your water supplier.

If you want to double check you’ll be receiving a payment or ask why you’re not, you’ll find your water supplier and contact details here.

Switching energy

National grid reported that, during the bad weather, gas consumption was up 30% as people kept their heating on longer to stay warm and cosy.

This increased demand led to a short-term spike in wholesale gas prices, and while this shouldn’t lead to price rises if suppliers have bought ahead responsibly, energy customers can avoid any unexpected bill increases by switching to a cheaper fixed deal.

If you think you’re bills are generally too expensive for what you’re using, then a cheaper supplier could be out there for your household. Switching can save up to £491 a year — so you’ll soon reclaim any extra money you spent throughout the wintery weather.

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