Martin Lewis warns against cancelling energy bill direct debits ahead of price surge founder says direct debit is cheaper than prepay meter and quarterly bills

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Thursday 24 March 2022 09:17 GMT
Speaking to the Business Committee, Martin Lewis explains to MPs what is happening to energy costs

Money saving expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning to people thinking of cancelling their energy direct debit bills before April’s price hike.

The founder of urged people to be cautious on Twitter, saying: “WARNING! Many talking about cancelling energy Direct Debits to ‘keep in control’ and just pay when billed. Yet be aware that’s usually charged at a HIGHER RATE.

Price cap (for someone with typical use) paying by Monthly DD £1,971 Prepay meter £2,017 Quarterly bills £2,100.”

It comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that inflation rates rose from 5.5 per cent in January to 6.2 per cent in February.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at ONS, said: “The price of goods leaving UK factories has also been rising substantially and is now at its highest rate for 14 years.”

Twitter users responded to Mr Lewis in their hundreds, with many posing questions on their bills to the money saving expert.

One Twitter user wrote: “I cancelled my dd and my bill went up, but the risk of them taking more without my knowledge is too much to bear. Once it’s gone you can’t get it back… surely there should be some kind of in between?”

Another commented: “I was told my DD would be £500 and they’ve text us saying it’ll be £781. I don’t know what to do, and seemingly can’t switch. That’s a 400% increase in six months.”

Households are hoping for some relief later today when chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his spring statement, where he will present the latest updates from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) on the state of the UK economy and public finances.

Mr Sunak is expected to announce measures that will ease the financial pressure brought on by the cost of living crisis.

Fuel prices reached record highs this month, hitting 167p per litre for petrol and 179p for diesel on Monday according to figures from data firm Experian Catalist, amounting to an increase of 18p for petrol and 26p for diesel over the past month.

A rise in national insurance contributions is planned for April however, the current strain on households could see the government making alternative plans, though the chancellor has so far shown no signs of withdrawing the planned rise in contributions.

With the low and middle income households bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis, Mr Sunak could increase the amount of benefits the government is giving out.

Think tank The Resolution Foundation is calling for a five percentage point increase to keep pace with inflation, calling it the most effective way to support families hardest hit.

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