Simple check could slash £65 from your energy bill

HOUSEHOLDS could cut their gas and electricity bills by around £65 by checking their online energy accounts.

With bills set to rise by around £700 for the average family from April, many Brits are searching for ways to lower their energy costs.

Millions of households don't know they're actually in credit as they've previously overpaid for energy.

Energy credit is built up when a consumer doesn't use the amount of energy they've been charged for.

According to figures from Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, there was around £1.4billion of extra credit in accounts in 2018.

That amounts to around £65 per household, but will vary depending on your energy deal and usage.

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If you do have credit on your account, there are a few options including getting the money paid back.

But before you claim the money, it's worth considering whether you'd rather save it for more expensive energy bills, such as in the winter.

You can double check whether you have money leftover by logging into your online energy account.

If you don't have an online account, you can call your supplier to ask whether you're in credit.

If you do have extra cash on your account, then you need to decide what to do with it.

You should contact your supplier to see what repayment solutions they offer.

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Some might be able to spread the refund over several months, meaning you'll pay less for your energy bills until the credit has run out.

This might work better if you've got a lot of credit.

If you don't have much credit, you could get it as a one-off payment off your next energy bill.

Customers could also withdraw the money to spend on other things if they prefer – but don't do this if it will leave you struggling to pay your next bill.

Alternatively, you could leave the credit and only use it when you need to.

"Look at your online account and check if you're in credit… you can either cash it out or talk to your energy supplier about taking it off your bills," Brean Horne, an energy expert at NerdWallet, said.

What help is available if I'm struggling to pay my energy bills?

If you're not in credit, or you're looking for more ways to get help paying your energy bills, there is other support available.

Your first step should be to contact your energy supplier.

They may be able to change your payment plan or check if you're eligible for their hardship fund.

For example, British Gas and Octopus have both set up funds to help customers who are struggling with their bills.

You should also check that you're getting all the benefits you're entitled to.

Use an online benefits calculator to make sure you're not missing out on any extra cash.

Similarly, you can search for grants that can help you pay for gas and electricity bills.

There are government schemes available to help households pay for energy costs.

You might be eligible for the winter fuel allowance or cold weather payment if you already get other benefits.

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Finally, one of the best ways of saving money is to make your home more energy efficient.

Check whether you can reduce your energy use with a simple trick such as putting foil behind your radiator.

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