FAMILIES could face surging gas prices once again this year if Russia invades Ukraine – but there are ways to cut the price of your bills.
Evidence has emerged of Russian troops gathering near Ukraine’s borders as tensions escalate – but it could have an effect on how much you are paying on your bills.
Ministers have been warned that households could face a hike in prices for gas and petrol if an invasion happens, according to Daily Mail.
This is because Russia could decide to restrict the flow of natural gas to Europe should the situation escalate, with key pipelines passing through Ukraine from the country.
Europe gets 35% of natural gas supplies from Russia, according to reports, but a government spokesperson told The Times that the UK is “in no way dependent” on Russian gas supply, with less than 3% of gas sourced from Russia in 2020.
But concerns have been raised that shortages could happen if tensions develop which could drive up prices.
The UK is one of Europe’s biggest users of natural gas — 85% of our homes use gas central heating, and gas is also used to generate a third of our electricity.
There are a number of things you can do NOW to avoid any potential price hikes – we explain.
What can I do now?
There are a number of things you can do now to drive down your gas bill.
Here’s three tips to making sure you’re not paying more than you need to.
It’s a good idea to first see if you can cut your usage now ahead of any possible price hikes.
Instead of heating your whole house, try and only heat the rooms you are using to cut costs.
The Sun spoke to savvy saver Scott Dixon, who saves £490 a year just by putting the heating on in one room of his flat.
A thermostatic radiator valve will allow you to control the temperature of your individual radiators, so you can turn down the heat in rooms you are not using.
Plus, dialling down your thermostat by just one degree could help you save as much as £55 a year.
If you’re feeling a little chilly, reach for your jumper instead.
You could be eligible for hundreds of pounds in extra help to pay for your energy bills.
For example, the warm home discount scheme means you can a £140 payment that goes toward your heating costs.
You’re eligible for the help if you get the guarantee credit element of pension credit or if you are on a low income – check here to see if you can claim.
You can get £25 a week to help with energy bills during the winter under the cold weather payment scheme.
The payment is dished out when temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees or below, on average, for seven consecutive days.
You can get the help us you claim certain benefits including Universal Credit and meet certain criteria – you can find out more here.
Talk to your local council
Your council may be able to give you free cash to put towards your energy bills if you are struggling to get by.
Councils have been given a combined total of £500million to give to hard-up Brits under the Household Support Fund.
Some councils are offering hundreds of pounds in help towards your utility bills – but the help you can get varies depending on where you live.
Use the gov.uk’s council finder tool to see who is your local authority in order to ask more information about the scheme.
You could also get cash to pay for your bills under your local authority’s Welfare Assistance Scheme.
Some councils are offering up to £1,000 in free cash to struggling families – which you could use to put towards your bills.
But what you get will vary depending on who your local council is – and some don’t even have a scheme in place.