A WRITER is able to keep his heating on all winter because the government is paying his energy bills.
The entire cost of Josh Glancy's gas and electricity is covered by cost of living crisis subsidies – and he's even in profit.
That's because these payments, available to all, were introduced in October and he's on a fixed rate until the summer.
Writing for The Times, special correspondent Josh said: "I was bracing myself for crippling bills.
"I put a few quid aside, switched from M&S to Sainsbury’s, that sort of thing.
"But instead it’s January and I find myself in profit."
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The first bit of financial aid was announced in September by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss.
As the war in Ukraine, high demand in Asia and low supply from Russia sent gas prices soaring, she revealed all households would receive a £400 rebate as a discount off bills – paid in six instalments between October and March – whatever your circumstances.
At the time, Josh had £246 in his Octopus account.
Like many, he postponed turning his heating on until temperatures really dropped to save some cash.
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But when his first amended bill arrived on December 11, he discovered he had spent £140 – which, after a £200 contribution from the government, left him £60 better off.
"I was sitting pretty on £301 and starting to enjoy this winter more than I expected. I began to relax," he said.
The same thing happened the following month when he was granted an "unsolicited" £67 so he's back up to £292, above where he started more than three months ago.
Now, married Josh, who lives in a "small" flat in Kilburn, north-west London, with his wife, feels confident enough to keep his radiators on most of the time.
While others shiver in their own homes, he is able to work from his living room wearing just boxer shorts and a t-shirt.
"It's like a Finnish sauna," he added.
Josh, who has no children and describes himself as earning an "above-average salary", now donates some of the excess money to the charity National Energy Action, which tackles fuel poverty.
Other energy bill help, which Josh does not qualify for, is available with the household support fund, winter fuel payment and pensioner cost of living payment, cold weather payment, energy grants and fuel vouchers.
What to do if you can’t pay your bills
FALLING behind on your energy bills can be extremely stressful.
If you’re struggling to pay what you owe, contact your supplier as soon as possible.
Your provider has to help you come up with a solution, and you should be able to negotiate a deal that works for you both.
One option is to agree a payment plan where you pay off your debts in affordable instalments.
You may be able to pay off your debts directly from your benefits through the Fuel Direct Scheme.
A fixed amount will automatically be taken to cover what you owe plus your usage.
To be eligible, you must be getting one of the following benefits:
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- income-related employment and support allowance
- Pension credit
- Universal Credit (but only if you’re not working)
If you cannot come to an agreement with your supplier, they may try to force you to get a prepayment meter installed.
In very rare cases, where you refuse to negotiate, your supplier might threaten you with disconnection.
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