‘There are steps people can take’ Warning as 285,000 face ‘needlessly’ shelling out £297

Working from home: Expert explains how to claim for energy bills

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More than 285,000 households could be automatically moved onto more expensive “default” energy tariffs in June. This is if they don’t switch tariffs or providers when their deals come to an end.

In June this year, 166 fixed energy tariffs will come to an end, research by comparethemarket.com has found.

It could mean an average increase to energy bills of £296.94 per household.

Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “Rising wholesale energy costs and the knock-on effects of COVID-19 have been pushing up the price of energy for millions of households.

“For households on fixed rate tariffs that are due to expire, they stand to needlessly overspend by a considerable amount on their energy bills if they do not take action and are switched to a standard tariff.”

However, there are ways those affected could end up avoiding lapsing onto default energy tariffs.

“There are steps people can take to help manage the rising costs, in particular shopping around for a cheaper tariff and switching supplier can save you hundreds of pounds,” Mr Earl said.

“There are also tools that can help you compare your energy costs to similar homes in your area and you can sign up to receive regular alerts when a cheaper tariff becomes available or a notification when your fixed deal is about to expire.”

Failing to take action could mean energy companies end up significantly better off.

Customers failing to switch when their fixed-term deal ends could mean energy companies benefit from a huge “inertia windfall”, compare the market said.

The price comparison website warned rolling off fixed term deals onto default tariffs could collectively cost UK households an extra £84million a year, compared with their current energy costs.

Billpayers are being reminded there are ways to keep track of when their fixed deals come to an end.

For instance, comparethemarket.com customers can set up a savings alert with AutoSergei, so they can avoid a standard variable tariff (SVT).

As well as getting a notification when their fixed deal is about to expire, customers can get regular alerts when a cheaper tariff becomes available to them.

Money saving and tax expert, Tommy McNally from Tommys Tax, recently stressed the importance of checking for the best deal.

“Shop around for the best deal,” he said.

“Make time to research the best deals on everything from household items, phone deals, energy providers and holidays.

“Just because you’re allowed out the house more, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time doing your research.”

The tax expert also discussed different types of tax relief which may be claimed.

“Make sure that you claim all your work expenses against tax,” he said.

“Many people are completely unaware that they can claim for things like costs associated with working from home, washing uniform or travel, which is going to be much more common place now.

“This is if you’re employed or your own boss.

“Tax refunds can be backdated for up to four years so it can add up to a tidy sum – between £2,500 to £3,000 on average for our customers.”

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