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Friday 30 September: Three deadlines you can’t afford to miss

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It’s the end of the month today and this date is significant for energy billpayers, anyone with notes lying around and holidaymakers impacted by Covid.

There are three deadlines you need to be aware of for Friday 30 September 2022 so make sure you act as soon as possible:

1) Energy price guarantee: Submit your meter reading

The government confirmed the energy price guarantee will come into effect on Saturday 1 October, cutting average bills by £1,000 a year to £2,500 over the next two winters.

This guarantee doesn’t cap bills at £2,500 a year. It caps the unit rate and standing charge so you could face bills which are higher or lower than this headline figure, based on the actual energy you use.

As the unit rate and standing charges are updated by energy firms effective from 1 October 2022, it’s vital you note down your meter readings ahead of then – ideally late in the day on Friday 30 September.

Even though energy prices won’t rise as much as many were expecting, they’re still increasing, nonetheless.

For billpayers without a smart meter, submit your readings as at 30 September so that your energy use from earlier months at the lower unit rate and standing charge is used by suppliers to calculate bills.

But if you’re tempted to provide a false, inflated reading to benefit from the lower, pre-guarantee rates, remember that’s fraud.

2) £20 and £50 paper notes: Spend, swap or deposit them

Raid your piggy banks, search coat pockets, bags and behind the sofa as Friday 30 September is the last day you can use paper £20 and £50 banknotes as legal tender.

Around 250 million individual £20 paper notes – worth £5bn – and 110 million paper £50 notes worth £6bn are kicking around.

After 30 September, they will be withdrawn from circulation so you can’t use them to pay for goods or services as just the polymer notes will be accepted.

But if you do find a paper note after 30 September 2022, all is not lost. You can deposit them into your bank account while some Post Offices may also accept withdrawn notes as payment or as a deposit to an account accessed via them.

You may also be able to exchange certain withdrawn paper banknotes for polymer notes at a limited number of Post Office branches.

And the Bank of England will continue to exchange all withdrawn notes. You can attend in person at the premises in London or send by post (at your own risk) to: Dept NEX, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH.

3) Travel credit notes: Redeem or get a refund

Millions of pounds remain unspent on refund credit notes with holidaymakers urged to spend them or request a refund by 30 September 2022 to prevent putting their money at risk.

During the pandemic, many travellers opted for refund credit notes when bookings were cancelled in the hope they could use them when the sector opened up for business, while airlines kept more of their cash reserves during the financial difficult time for the industry.

The industry watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed that ATOL protection would apply to notes issued between 10 March 2020 and 19 December 2021 for flight inclusive packages.

However, this ATOL protection on refund credit notes expires at the end of Friday 30 September which means if the travel company goes bust from 1 October 2022, they will lose the remaining value.

For example, if you book an ATOL protected trip for £3,000 on 10 October and you have a refund credit note lying around with £500, if the firm went bust after this date, you would only be able to claim for £2,500 under the ATOL scheme.

An estimated £30m remains unused and while individual expiry dates will vary, the protection stops so the CAA is urging holidaymakers to request a cash refund or book another ATOL protected trip.

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