Money Wellness
Image of a radiator with a pottery house sat on top wrapped in a small scarf. Energy debt - what help is available. Can't afford to pay energy bills
category iconbills
calendar icon24 Jan 2024

Energy prices to fall by 16% from April

Energy prices to fall by 16% from April

Energy prices are set to fall from April – find out what it’ll mean for and what to do if you’re struggling to pay for energy right now

There’s light on the horizon for the millions of households struggling with energy costs, with prices set to fall from April.

Cornwall Insight, an agency that provides energy market intelligence, is predicting that energy prices will drop by 16%.

This will take the annual household bill for a home using the average amount of gas and electricity to £1,620 – a £308 saving on the current price of £1,928.

Cornwall Insights believes that bills will still fall despite ongoing tensions in the Red Sea.

And prices are forecast to remain lower than current prices throughout the remainder of 2024, falling further to £1,497 per annum from July before rising slightly to £1,541 in October.

Households currently pay 7p per kilowatt hour (kWH) for gas and 29p per kWh for electricity costing the average home, with average usage, £1,928 per year.

But despite the price fall, energy bills remain higher than they were before in 2019 before the pandemic.

It’s important to remember that these drops are predictions and won’t be confirmed until Ofgem reviews and announces changes to its price cap next month.

What should I do if I can’t afford to pay my energy bill?

75% of people who contacted us last month were in arrears – behind on payments - to their energy providers so you’re not alone. Here’s what you should do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills or find yourself in debt.

Contact your energy supplier

Contact your energy supplier as soon as you realise you’re struggling to pay your bill.

You are protected by Ofgem and your supplier has a responsibility to work with you to find a solution. You should try to find a solution that works for both of you.

Don’t bury your head - energy is a priority debt meaning there could be serious consequences if you miss payments or don’t speak to them, e.g. they could threaten to disconnect you.

See what grant support is available

Many energy providers have schemes or grants available for low-income households struggling to pay their bills. Some are open to anyone – you don’t need to be a customer.

What you’ll be offered will depend on your energy provider and your personal circumstances but could include, money towards your bills, wiping off some or all your debt or reduced tariffs.

We’ve pulled together a list of energy grants here.

Or contact your supplier to find out what they offer.

The British Gas Energy Trust could also provide help even if you’re not a British Gas customer.

Access emergency credit

Households on prepayment meters might be able to get emergency credit if they run out of normal credit and can’t afford to top up.

When your credit gets low and is about to run out, you can activate the emergency credit – usually £10 – to make sure you can heat and power your home.

It’s designed as a safety net, and you may be charged a fee for using it. Therefore, if you come close to running out and are struggling, it might be better to contact your supplier to see what other help is available.

Join the priority register

The priority register is a free support service that makes sure extra help is available to people in vulnerable situations.

If you have a disability or long-term medical condition, are pregnant or have young children, have reached pension age, or have extra communication needs, you’ll be eligible to join. There are many other conditions that could also make you eligible. To find out more visit the Ofgem website.

Speak to your local authority

Your local council might be able to give you money or vouchers to help with energy bills from the Household Support Scheme.

What you’ll get will depend on how your local council has decided to use their portion of HSS. It is best to contact them directly for further information.

Make sure you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to

Around £19 billion in benefits goes unclaimed every year. You can find out if you’re claiming all you’re entitled to by using our benefits checker.

Check you’re eligible for extra help or discounts

There are a few payments available to help with heating costs:

Cold weather payment

Cold weather payment is extra financial support for people claiming certain benefits to help cover additional costs of energy bills during very cold weather. Find out more and if you’re eligible here.

Winter fuel payment

The winter fuel payment is aimed at helping pensioners pay for higher fuel bills during the colder months.

Find out more and if you’re eligible here.

Warm home discount payment

The warm home discount scheme supports those on a low-income who are vulnerable to cold-related illness or who live in fuel poverty. You could get £150 off your electivity bill by claiming the warm homes discount.

Find out more and if you’re eligible here.

Get free debt help

If you’re struggling to pay bills or are in debt and can’t see a way out, seek free and independent support.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

Related posts


19 Jul 2024

April price hikes linked to inflation banned by Ofcom

Broadband and phone price increases to be made clearer.


12 Jul 2024

Plusnet simplifies mid-contract price rises – find out how to cut your broadband bill

Plusnet changes its system for price rises ahead of new Ofcom rules.


11 Jul 2024

Water bills set to rise by £94 over the next 5 years

Ofwat has confirmed water bills are set to rise over the next five years. Find out how to reduce your usage and where to get help if you've fallen behind on your bills


11 Jul 2024

Putting the brakes on car insurance prices

Average prices are finally stabilising, but they’re still higher than last year.