27 Mar 2020
With the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, we focus on helping to answer some of the questions you have about saving money, tenancy rights, mortgage holidays, working from home and energy payments.
Q. I’ve heard some suppliers may offer an energy price freeze, which suppliers are doing this and when will it kick in?
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has promised that those who are struggling with their bills will receive support from their supplier. Some suppliers have announced they are prepared to offer customers additional support and flexibility. These could include repayments made over a longer period of time or delayed payments for a short period. These will be looked at on an individual basis. We don't yet have a full list of suppliers who will be offering an energy price freeze; however we will update this page with details as soon as it becomes available.
Q. If our supplier has not yet announced it will freeze prices/payments during this period, what do you recommend I do?
Speaking to your supplier is the best thing to do as some have announced they will be reviewing how they charge customers during this time. If your supplier does not have the answers you need, charities such as Citizens Advice and Shelter have a great number of resources to help people during this difficult period. Remember there are also a number of ways you can help to reduce your energy use while at home – head to Hoppy’s blog for tips and advice on how to do this.
Q: If suppliers are offering a freeze on bills - can I still switch suppliers during this time?
You can still switch your energy supplier for a better deal, however you won't be able to do this if you have requested a bill freeze / payment holiday. Normally when you switch your energy, before the switch is confirmed as live with your new supplier you will need to settle any outstanding balances with your existing supplier. If there is any debt on the account, the switch will not go through. Our recommendation would be to check how much you're currently paying and use Hoppy to see how much you could save by switching - you may find that by completing a switch you'll be saving hundreds of pounds and so don't need to use the payment holiday option after all.
Q. With more time at home, I’m really concerned my utility bills will go up for heating and electricity. Do you have any ideas on how I can heat my home for less?
We at Hoppy have come up with some top tips on how consumers can save money around the home. From tips on how to heat your home for less to reducing your electricity, you can find the full range of tips by clicking here.
Q. I’m not sure I’m going to have enough money to top up my prepayment meter, what can I do?
Ofgem guidelines advise that anyone unable to top up their prepayment meter because they are self-isolating or unable to afford to do so should contact their supplier immediately. The Government have launched an emergency package deal with energy suppliers to ensure no one experiences hard ship over their energy supply during this time. Prepayment customers should speak to their supplier in regards to this package as options may include having funds added to your meter credit and/or having a pre-loaded gas or electricity card sent out to you. No credit meters will be cut off during this time.
Q. I’m working from home at the moment, but my internet speed is terrible. Do you have any advice on what I can do?
Working from home means you require efficient internet speeds even more than usual. A number of factors can affect the speed of your internet including how close other devices are to the router, the number of people in your household connected to the internet and also if your supply is connected via extension cables. If after amending these factors, your internet still isn’t up to scratch you should look into switching your provider. Click here to see how to switch broadband supplier with Hoppy now.
Q. We might not have enough to cover our mortgage in the coming months as my partner’s job is at risk. Can you explain the mortgage holiday initiative more fully? How do I access this?
This is an agreement between a mortgage lender and an individual to put a temporary reduction or complete pause on monthly mortgage repayments for up to a maximum of 3 months. Speak to your bank or your mortgage lender to see if you are eligible to apply. Click here for more information on mortgage payment relief.
Q. I rent our home and I’m worried our landlord will kick us out if we are to get Coronavirus. Is there any protection?
The Government have announced a 3 month ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales making it illegal to evict tenants until June. Plans have also been announced to support tenants if they are struggling to pay rent during this time. Check out Hoppy’s advice for renters for further information.
Q: I’m trying to use this time to do some personal finance management - are there any methods you use/recommend?
This is a great idea! We recommend laying out all your monthly outgoings/contracts/direct debits and assessing each individually to identify where you can be saving money by switching supplier. Click here to download Hoppy’s monthly budget planner to help you with this.
Q: Amongst all of this going on, I’m just about to move home - what’s your advice for moving into a new home at this time?
As of 27th March 2020, the UK Government has urged house buyers and renters to postpone their planned moves where possible. The plea went on to advise that this is especially important for anyone self-isolating. If contracts have already been exchanged, the Government suggest that all parties work together to postpone the process until a later, safer date. To help, mortgage lenders have agreed to extend offers to three months to support in delaying property moves. However, Virgin Money and Skipton Building society have postponed all mortgage applications until safer circumstances arise, therefore all in the process of buying should speak with their individual lender. Alternatively, if you are on the lookout for a new home many agents are offering virtual house viewings taking place via video tour.
You can still use this time to check Hoppy’s moving home checklist which includes helpful tips on switching energy suppliers, changing address on all documents and arranging content insurance.
If you have a question that's not been answered above, contact us and we'll do our best to help.