Martin Lewis advises on 'stockpiling' energy pre-pay metres
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The financial journalist is sounding the alarm that thousands of households across the UK will be able to acquire a savings boost by topping up ahead of the price cap hike. Recently, industry regulator Ofgem confirmed that energy prices will increase in April of this year, increasing the average bill by £693 in 2022. However, those who have a non-smart prepayment meter can avoid paying the extortionate rate hike until they have to top-up.
Through this, any credit that prepayment customers have will be levied at the previous lower energy bill rate.
Stockpiling energy this way will temporarily delay the bill rise and save customers a lot of money, according to Martin Lewis.
Despite this savings hack, the host of The Martin Lewis Money Show is warning that many prepayment meter customers are on low income and will find it difficult to provide a lump sum of cash towards their bills.
Furthermore, anyone who decides to stockpile is encouraged by the financial journalist to be cautious of using more energy than they need as that could lead to higher bills.
Addressing the issue of stockpiling in his MoneySavingExpert newsletter, Martin Lewis explained: “Many with older, non-smart meters on price-capped tariffs can legally ‘stockpile’ gas and electricity credit before prices shoot up.”
The financial expert added: “If you can afford to, it could mean big savings.”
It should be noted that this advice is only applicable to those who are on the standard variable tariff, which is protected by Ofgem’s energy price cap.
‘Stockpiling’ energy in this way is not accessible to anyone who is on a smart meter as their rates are updated remotely.
Prepayment customers can delay the inevitable energy bill rise by saving their credit before April 1, 2021.
This can be achieved by calculating how much their household can afford to spend on bills currently and top-up that amount.
By doing this, customers will be charged the old energy bill rate even when the higher one is introduced later this year.
According to Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert website, this financial pointer works with most energy suppliers.
Among the suppliers this advice is applicable for is British Gas, Bulb and E.on. However, Scottish Gas suppliers are unable to stockpile as the company has confirmed it will reclaim the price difference.
Anyone who opts to stockpile energy in this way should check with their supplier beforehand to see whether they will continue to charge the lower price if they top-up prior to the price cap rise.
Speaking on BBC Radio5 Live earlier today, Martin Lewis provided key financial advice to those looking to save on their energy bill by stockpiling.
Mr Lewis said: “If you are on a non-smart prepayment meter, which many people are, in almost all cases if you top-up more than you need before April 1 then you will continue on the pre-April prices.
“Now I know that there are many people on prepay who live hand to mouth in a terrible situation and can’t afford to do that.
“But, not everyone on pre-pay is. People are on prepay for a variety of situations. There are certainly many people on prepay who can afford to top-up a little bit more.”
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