Families have until TOMORROW to do simple check that could lower their energy bills

FAMILIES have until TOMORROW to do a simple check that could lower their energy bills before the energy price cap soars.

Millions of households will see their bills DOUBLE from Friday, April 1, when the price cap goes up from £1,277 to £1,971.

It means families will have to find nearly another £700 per year on average to pay for their bills.

Around 22million households are now on standard variable tariffs that are subject to the price cap, but the exact amount your bill will rise will depend on how much you use.

But doing a gas and electric meter reading before the new price cap rolls out will help you avoid paying more than you need to – and lower your bills.

That's because you are giving an estimate for your energy based on previous usage, which gives you a cost for the upcoming year.

That cost is divided by 12 for your monthly direct debits.

It means taking a reading the day before on March 31 means you – and your energy firm – know exactly how much energy you have used under the lower price.

And you then have a clear date from which the higher prices apply.

More than half of households pay energy bills using direct debit, according to the energy regulator Ofgem.

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The amount you pay for energy via direct debit is "smoothed" out over the year.

It means you pay the same amount each month, even when your energy usage changes – you generally use more gas and electric in winter and less in summer.

If you don't send in meter readings, your provider will send an estimated bill, which could be much higher than what you're using in reality.

How to avoid paying extra on your bills

When you're taking a gas and electricity reading, make sure to take photos of the readings to send into your supplier.

If you think you're not using as much energy as what you're being charged for, then you should get in touch with your provider and send them the pictures you have to try and get a better rate.

You might also want to check whether your meter is working properly.

Although Citizens Advice says meter faults are rare, they can happen – and it could be causing a billing mistake.

If you've sent a meter reading in and notice your bill is much higher than your meter reading but your supplier won't fix it, then you should take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

They handle issues between customers and suppliers.

If you've tried to resolve a problem with your provider and you're getting nowhere, the Energy Ombudsman will look at your case and see if they can help you deal with the complaint.

It helps resolve issues on billing, installations and delays, loss of service, customer service, and switching suppliers.

If they help take your complaint on, they can only help back bill you for 12 months.

That means you won't be able to get help getting money back before this.

Last year households were urged by Citizens Advice to check for billing blunders.

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Martin Lewis has also explained whether to fix your energy bills now ahead of an expected £600 rise.

It comes as the government has ruled out scrapping VAT on energy bills that could save £100 a year.

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