Half a million households affected by energy firms going bust - how to keep costs down

Households are facing much higher gas bills this winter due to a global surge in wholesale gas prices that have forced some energy companies to go bust and others to take themselves off price comparison websites for the time being. The British public has already been hit with energy price hikes over the last few months and could be paying hundreds more this winter, unless they counterbalance the extra costs by making some simple changes to their usage.

The news that another five energy firms have folded in recent months will no doubt worry many householders but Ofgem has said it has systems in place to look after consumers.

An Ofgem spokesman said: “Currently wholesale gas prices are at a record high, driven by international supply and demand factors.

“This is undoubtedly putting pressure on companies – with four leaving the market over the last few weeks.

“Ofgem cannot comment on whether further suppliers will fail, but we have the systems and processes in place to ensure that customer needs are always met.

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In the past few months Utility Point, People’s Energy, PfP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy and Hub Energy have all ceased trading – something which is thought to have affected half a million British households.

And although these consumers will be given a new supplier, that means extra hassle for them with the costs passed onto customers.

Ofgem added that it is working closely with the government to manage the wider implications of the global gas price increase and it is not thought that this will lead to a complete halt in supply.

Meanwhile, there are some steps customers can take to make sure they are not paying too much this winter.

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How to save money on energy bills:

  • Turning down the thermostat and replacing your old boiler can reduce how much you pay massively.
  • Applying for everything – three million households could also be eligible for the Warm Home Discount of £140.
  • Small alterations like switching appliances off at the wall and not leaving them on standby could also make a difference.

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  • Try spending less time in the shower and filling the kettle up less – together these steps could save a typical household another £160 over the year.

There is no better time to see if people qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which could ensure some people are £140 better off.

To find out, people can speak to their energy supplier, most of them are signed up to the scheme if they have 250,000 customers or more.

More than two million UK households should qualify for this rebate on their energy bills this year and it’s important to get in touch with them early as there is only a limited amount of people energy companies can help.

According to reports, wholesale gas prices in the UK have shot up by 70 percent due to high global demand, maintenance issues at some gas sites and reduced solar and wind output.

In addition, it’s threatening some supplies of meat and fresh produces as supermarkets say it is also causing a shortage of carbon dioxide.

Despite this, the general public do not need to worry about a shortage of supply, a Government minister has reassured.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is currently in talks with suppliers to find out what the impact of surging prices could be on households this winter.

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