Martin Lewis pledges £100k of his own money to help vulnerable customers over fears energy bills will rocket 51%

MARTIN Lewis is funding a web chat service to help vulnerable customers cope with the rising energy costs crisis.

The money saving guru has donated £100,000 to fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) to set up the advice service ahead of expected price hikes in April.

Martin has warned that bills could rise by as much as 51% without government intervention.

The NEA estimates the hikes will leave six million Brits in fuel poverty.

Martin says his donation will help ease pressures on NEA hotlines as vulnerable people seek urgent help to cope with massive energy bills.

He tweeted: "I vowed to myself to do this after last Thurs show (it’s taken a few days to arrange) when in near tears as the reality dawned that millions will be thrown into fuel poverty.

"We can't let that happen. Our vulnerable need protecting as they don't have a financial buffer."

Martin is also urging the government to provide more help for vulnerable energy customers, saying that otherwise people will be forced to choose between heating and eating.

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He added: "While my core reason to do this is to try and help more people avert potential tragedy, a side aim is to deliberately raise awareness & pressure on for proper policy intervention."

The NEA will provide the web service to vulnerable Brits in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Help will also be available for people in Scotland via Energy Action Scotland.

The plan has just been announced, which means that details around when exactly the service will go live and how to access it are not yet available.

The Sun has asked NEA for an update on how the webchat will work and where people can find it, and we will update this story when we know more.

National Energy Action chief executive Adam Scorer says, “We know the Energy Crisis will cause more financial harm to vulnerable households than almost any other single event.

"Martin is someone who gets the scale of the problem and the impact on actual people. He's also someone who takes action wherever he can to make a difference.

"We are thrilled that we are working with him to offer advice and support to help the most vulnerable keep their homes warm and safe.”

How to keep your home warm as prices rise

If you're worried about the rising cost of energy bills, there are steps you can take now to try and protect yourself.

  • Contact your energy supplier to see if you are on the cheapest tariff or discuss energy debt – If you are worried you are falling into energy debt, contact your energy supplier as soon as possible, they are required to work with you to find a solution. For example, they can help you to set up an affordable repayment plan.
  • Maximise your income – Make sure you are claiming the correct benefits to boost your income and access other assistance with heating bills.
  • Check if you can receive any energy discounts or payments – These include the warm home discount, winter fuel payments and cold weather payments.
  • Take a meter reading Taking regular meter readings and submitthing them to your energy supplier will help you keep bills accurate and avoid shocks.
  • Make your home energy efficient – Here's our list of ten gadgets that could save you hundreds.
  • Make small changes – Simple things like turning the thermostat down one degree can help save you money.

Why energy prices are rising

Suppliers have warned that household energy bills will double to £2,000 next year unless the government intervenes.

Extreme cold weather in parts of the world, nuclear outages in France and lower gas flows from Russia are raising prices.

The surge in wholesale prices has already caused 27 energy providers to collapse, affecting more than 1.8million customers.

According to Cornwall Insights, an energy sector specialist, bills could rise from £1,277 a year under the current price cap to £1,865 a year when the next revision is announced, a rise of 46%.

They also predict it could spike to £2,240 a year at the following quarterly revaluation in August 2022 without a significant fall in energy prices globally.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of the Ovo energy company, said Britain is hurtling towards a massive cost-of-living disaster.

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