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British Gas, E.ON and EDF Energy websites CRASH ahead of April gas price hike

British Gas, E.ON and EDF Energy websites CRASH ahead of April gas price hike 2

British Gas, E.On and EDF Energy website pages have crashed today, as thousands of customers attempt to upload their latest metre readings ahead of April’s energy price hike.

Customers have struggled to access their online accounts this morning due to ‘technical issues’ and ‘essential maintenance’ across the three websites.

The issues appear to only be impacting the account log-in pages, with customers still able to access the rest of the sites. 

Scottish Power, owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, meanwhile said it was working to resolve an issue with its website and told customers they could submit meter reading via an automated telephone line instead. 

MP Tom Tugendhat Tweeted about the technical issues today, saying: ‘Today’s the day to update your meter reading but EDF Energy and British Gas seem to both have their websites down for maintenance.  I’ll take a photo of the reading and enter it later.’

Annual energy bills will soar by 54 per cent tomorrow , when regulator Ofgem raises the price cap for an average home to £1,971.

Sending a meter reading before the new costs come in means households will not be overcharged for energy they have already used. 

British Gas, E.On and EDF Energy website pages have crashed today, with thousands of customers trying to upload their latest metre readings ahead of April's energy price hike

British Gas, E.On and EDF Energy website pages have crashed today, with thousands of customers trying to upload their latest metre readings ahead of April’s energy price hike

Customers have struggled to access their online accounts this morning due to 'technical issues' and 'essential maintenance' across the three websites

Customers have struggled to access their online accounts this morning due to ‘technical issues’ and ‘essential maintenance’ across the three websites

The issues appear to only be impacting the account log-in pages, with customers still able to access the rest of the sites

The issues appear to only be impacting the account log-in pages, with customers still able to access the rest of the sites

Households will be £2,620 worse off this year even after Rishi Sunak’s ‘tax cuts’ says Keir Starmer as he launches Labour’s local elections campaign 

By James Tapsfield for MailOnline 

Keir Starmer is stepping up his attack on the cost-of-living crisis as he launches Labour’s election campaign warning that households face a £2,620 squeeze this year.

At an event in Bury, Sir Keir will highlight the huge hit in the pipeline as he condemns the government for failing to provide enough help.

The party’s figures show the average tax bill is set to rise £1,060 over the next 12 months, with the controversial national insurance rise taking effect in the coming days.

Meanwhile, energy prices add £690, fuel £300 and higher food costs £275 – with the Bank of England raising interest rates leaving the average family another £295 worse off.  

Despite much of the added expense being down to spiking inflation caused by global factors, Sir Keir will say that Labour would have acted to impose a windfall tax on oil and gas firms in order to cut bills by up to £600.

Thousands of council seats and mayoralties across the UK are up for grabs on May 5, with Tories nervous about fallout from soaring prices and Partygate.  

The Labour launch comes after Boris Johnson yesterday defended the level of help doled out by Rishi Sunak in the mini-Budget last week.

He dismissed criticism of the decision not to uprate Universal Credit more quickly to help people to pay their rising energy bills.

The PM told the Commons Liaison Committee that the aim was to get people into work but denied that he had lost confidence in the benefits system, saying: ‘I know how tough it is for people to meet the cost of energy and I think you’re raising a very reasonable point.

‘And you have to decide where you’re going to put your fiscal firepower given that we don’t want to put up taxes and we don’t want to borrow any more, so what are you going to prioritise and who are you going to make sure you target in order to have the maximum economic benefit for the whole country?

‘What we think very strongly is you’re better off helping people into work.’

Labour’s research suggests families are on track to be £2,620 worse off – even after the Chancellor’s spring statement.

Sir Keir will say: ‘Britain deserves better than the pathetic response we got to the Conservative cost of living crisis in the mini-Budget.

‘You know the reality – prices are going through the roof, and wages are going through the floor.’

He will claim the Conservatives have overseen ‘the biggest drop in living standards since the 50s’ and the highest taxes in 70 years.

‘Even allowing for everything the Chancellor announced, families are £2,620 worse off. Britain deserves better than this,’ he will say.

‘Working families feel more insecure than ever. While prices are rising in the supermarkets, at the petrol pumps and in our electricity bills, the Government has chosen to put up national insurance at exactly the wrong time.’

From April, the cap on the most widely used tariffs imposed by Britain’s energy regulator is due to rise by 54 per cent, meaning energy bills for some 22 million customers will go up by hundreds of pounds.

Experts have urged householders to submit meter readings for gas and electricity to their supplier on Thursday to show exactly how much energy they have used ahead of Ofgem’s price cap increasing from April 1.

This will prevent firms from estimating usage and potentially charging for energy used before April 1 at the higher rate.

Households should also send regular meter readings, ideally on the same date each month, to prevent their supplier from estimating usage and potentially overcharging for it as they move into the summer months and use less heating.

Gillian Cooper, head of energy policy at Citizens Advice, said: ‘We’d recommend sending meter readings to your supplier ahead of the price cap rise on 1 April. This means your energy company will have an accurate picture of your usage before higher rates come in.

‘If you’re struggling to pay your bill, speak to your energy provider as they have to help you. Citizens Advice can also provide you with free, independent support.’

The energy price cap for those on default tariffs who pay by direct debit is rising by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 from April 1.

Prepayment customers will see a bigger jump, with their price cap going up by £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.

The regulator was forced to hike the energy price cap to a record £1,971 for a typical household as gas prices soared to unprecedented highs.

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) warned the cost of heating an average home has now doubled in 18 months, leaving 6.5 million households unable to live in a warm safe home across the UK.

NEA chief executive Adam Scorer said: ‘This is the biggest energy price shock in living memory.

‘Millions of people will be priced out of adequate levels of heating and power. For all the anticipation of these price rises, many people on the lowest incomes will be crushed by the reality.

‘Quality of life for millions of people will plummet. Warm homes, cooked food, hot water, clean clothes – all cut back or cut out. Debt will spiral. Physical and mental health will suffer.

‘This energy crisis is about to bite down hard on those least able to cope. Charities like NEA will try to pick up the pieces for those in greatest need. It will be a near impossible task.

‘Last week, the UK Government chose not to prioritise support for those on the lowest incomes. It has crossed its fingers that the market will right itself. This ‘wait and see’ policy could cost lives next winter.’

An Ofgem spokeswoman said: ‘We know this rise will be extremely worrying for many people.

‘The energy market has faced a huge challenge due to the unprecedented increase in global gas prices, a once in a 30-year event, and Ofgem’s role as energy regulator is to ensure that, under the price cap, energy companies can only charge a fair price based on the true cost of supplying electricity and gas.

‘Ofgem is working to stabilise the market and over the longer term to diversify our sources of energy which will help protect customers from similar price shocks in the future.’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to ‘take the sting out’ of the price rises, promising that all 28 million households in Britain would get a £200 up-front rebate on their energy bills from October.

The Government will provide the cash for this, but it wants the money back so will hike bills by £40 per year over the next five years from 2023 to recoup its cash.

Mr Sunak is facing criticism for failing to do enough to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, with the state pension set to fall in real terms after the triple lock was suspended

Mr Sunak is facing criticism for failing to do enough to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, with the state pension set to fall in real terms after the triple lock was suspended  

If all goes to plan, wholesale energy prices will drop so households can pay back what they owe, without a major rise in bills.

Some energy company insiders worry that while good in principle, the policy is too reliant on falls in global gas prices.

But experts are not sure this will happen, at least not soon.

Goldman Sachs has already warned that prices in the gas market are likely to remain at twice their usual levels until 2025.

Mr Sunak also promised a £150 council tax rebate for homes in bands A to D, something he said would cover around 80% of homes in England.

He also promised £144 million to councils to support vulnerable people. 

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