Publish date: 23 February 2022

Rising energy bills are a huge source of concern for many households these days. The situation could get much worse before it gets better. From April 1 2022, the energy price cap (the maximum amount a household pays for energy each year) will rise from £1277 to £1971. The government has responded with a package of support, amounting to £9.1 billion in 2022 to 2023, according to the government’s website.

There are two headline measures in this package of support. One is a one-off, non-refundable rebate of £150 to households in England in council tax bands A to D. The rebate will be paid in April 2022. It will apply to households, even if they currently pay less than £150 per month, and to those receiving the single person discount (but not for second homes or empty properties). Local authorities will also receive some extra discretionary funding to help those who need help paying energy bills but are not eligible for the new rebate (for example if they’re in council tax band E or higher).

The second measure is effectively an interest-free loan. Households in Great Britain will see their energy bills in Autumn 2022 discounted by £200. But this amount will have to be repaid in equal instalments over five years, starting in 2023 to 2024. The hope is that energy prices will have moderated by then, making it easier for people to pay the bills (even with the loan repayment added).

These measures come on top of other existing support for those struggling to pay their energy bills such as the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payment. Details of these schemes are available in the government's Cost of Living factsheet. Further useful advice on managing your energy bills, including information on available grants, is provided in the Macmillan booklet: Managing Your Energy Costs. But the rise in the coming months' households' energy bills is likely to dwarf the new support, welcome though it is. It could be particularly severe for people diagnosed with cancer who tend to feel the cold more and pay more for their energy bills.

The Macmillan Support and Information Service offers welfare and benefit advice to people who have cancer or a blood condition and are under the care of UCLH. There’s more information about what the team offers on our welfare and benefit advice page.