More households are expected to find themselves feeling the squeeze as energy prices rise from April 2022. This rise is extremely worrying for families who already struggle to make ends meet and puts further pressure on families caring for a seriously ill child.
Due to the 24/7 nature of caring for a seriously ill child, many families already have a higher-than-average energy bill. Many parents/carers don’t power down overnight like most of us before going to bed, they may have to watch their child overnight or need assistance from a paid carer. On top of this, some seriously ill children are less mobile and have difficulty regulating their temperature, meaning families rely on constant heating to keep their child safe.
Energy bills may also be high due to the need for life-saving equipment such as:
- oxygen concentrators
- feeding pumps
- suction units
- syringe drivers
- condition-specific equipment (such as dialysis machines, for example).
In April, the energy price cap, on which most families’ bills are based, will rise from £1,277 to £1,971. This means that average households will experience an increase in energy bills of nearly £700. In February, the government announced a package of measures aimed at helping households with the cost of living crisis. These include:
- £200 off energy bills in October for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain. But this will be paid back automatically by £40 per year over the next five years from April 2023.
- £150 off Council Tax bills in April for households in England in bands A to D. This will not have to be paid back (similar funds will be available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
- £144 million of discretionary funding for local authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax rebate.
- A rise to £150 of the Warm Home Discount Scheme and the criteria to focus on those in fuel poverty. This will only affect energy customers in England and Wales.
Contact, one of our partner charities, provides information and advice on energy costs for families with disabled children. You can access this here. We join Contact in calling on the government and energy companies to introduce a special tariff for households disabled children – and to automatically pay the Warm Home Discount Scheme to households with disabled children.
If you are caring for a seriously ill child we suggest the following:
- Contact your energy company and make sure you are on the priority register. This provides you with free extra services and may help protect you from disconnection if you struggle to pay your energy bills if your supplier has signed up to the Energy UK Safety Net scheme. This is dependant on your energy supplier so we would recommend regular contact with them. For more information click here.
- If you use any specialist equipment, contact the equipment company and make sure you are getting a rebate for the energy usage.
- Check that you are accessing all the benefits you are entitled to. If you would like to speak to a member of our team to help you with this please use the contact details below, or alternatively use the Turn2us benefits calculator.
- Contact StepChange for debt advice.
If you are worried about rising energy prices please use our helpline services for support. Call us on 0808 8088 100 or visit our website to Live Chat with a member of our team. Alternatively, you can send us an email.