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A mum from Northern Ireland says her and her children are having to wear “extra clothing to go to bed” because she still hasn’t received her £66 towards her energy bills promised by the Government in October. She told Good Morning Britain she can’t afford to heat her home because she hasn’t received the energy bill support despite the fact it has been sent to millions of others to help them through the cost of living crisis.

Co-founder of energy comparison site, Choosewisely.co.uk, Tara Flynn said energy firms need to bear in mind many people will be reducing usage before increasing direct debits.

She said: “Energy providers must review how they’re working out customers’ direct debits and let them know how to claim credit back if they wish to. Your money should never be held at ransom – if you’ve built up enough credit, you should be able to request your money back anytime.

“I empathise with the reasons why energy firms charge more than customers are using each month, to spread the cost of heating during the winter, but with so many customers choosing not to turn the heating on or dramatically changing their habits to reduce their bills, there should be a simple way to request or automatically receive a refund if credit reaches a certain amount.

“£200 credit sitting in a customer’s energy account this December could make all the difference to a family’s Christmas”.

The most expensive household appliances are:

Dishwasher – £1.12 per 90-minute cycle – but still cheaper than hand washing

Washing Machine – 75p per hour cycle – people could opt for shorter cycles and lower temperatures

Fridge and freezer – £3.26 per day

Oven (Gas/Electric) – 34p per 20 minutes – Britons may wish to consider an air fryer and slow cooker.