Why you should take a meter reading before April 1

A Southern Electric gas bill and a gas stove burner as the Government has unveiled a package of refo

A finance expert has urged consumers to take a meter reading before the energy price changes on April 1 - Credit: PA

Households will see their energy bills soar from April 1 when a new price cap comes into effect.

Monthly bills will rise by an average of 54pc which could tip people into fuel poverty as many struggle to cope.

In order to avoid paying more, people are being advised to take a meter reading before April 1. 

File photo dated 04/1/2022 of Martin Lewis who is to fund a new £100,000 advice service for vulnerab

Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis has said people should take a meter reading before the energy cap increases on April 1 to avoid paying more - Credit: PA

Why you should take a meter reading before April 1

Money savings expert Martin Lewis has said to make sure a meter reading is taken on March 31 and sent to your company there and then.

According to Mr Lewis, this will "draw a line in the sand" that will show the energy provider that this is all the energy that had been used up to this point and should be charged at the cheaper rate. 

This will stop energy companies estimating usage and potentially charging you more.

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Martin Lewis advised against recording a higher meter reading with your provider to get more energy at a cheaper rate but this would be fraud.

Should you ditch direct debit payments?

Many people could be considering swapping from direct debit payments to pre-pay or quarterly payments in order to have more control over what they are paying.

While this helps know how much you will have to pay each month, doing so will cost you more.

Mr Lewis, who has worked as a financial journalist for more than twenty years, explained that the average person paying direct debit will pay £1,971 per year whereas those on fixed rates could pay more than £2,000.

People pre-paying energy bills could expect to spend on average £2,071 and those choosing quarterly bills will on average pay £2,100 annually. This would be 6pc more than those paying by direct debit.

What about choosing a fixed rate?

The price cap is decided by looking at how energy prices fluctuate over six months, which this year is between February and July.

Costs are currently extremely high and it is estimated that by October the price cap could increase to £2,500 for people on typical use.

According to Mr Lewis, based on these estimates if you wanted to choose a fixed rate it would have to be only 18-20pc above the April price cap to make it cheaper.

But currently on the market the cheapest rate Mr Lewis could find was 40pc higher than the April price cap. 

Mr Lewis said: "As it stands today, it is not worth moving to a fixed rate. Stay where you are and stick with price cap and ride it out for the moment.

"It is bizarre to say ‘do nothing’ when prices are rising 54pc but that is the best option."