You’ll have probably heard in the news that the energy price cap has increased again. But what does it actually mean?
What is the price cap?
The energy price cap is the most that you can be charged per unit of energy and is set by Ofgem, the energy regulator.
For an average household, Ofgem announced today that the price cap will increase to £3,549 per year for those paying by direct debit and £3,608 to people using prepayment. This means the amount your energy bills will increase will depend on how much energy you use.
This means that most of us will see an increase to energy bills from 1 October.
The price cap will only affect you if you’re on a default tariff or a tariff where the rate you pay changes and not if you’re on a fixed tariff deal or a standard variable green tariff. If you’re not sure what tariff you’re on you should check your bill or contact your supplier.
What support is available if I’m struggling to pay my energy bills?
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bill, you should speak to your supplier and let them know. They have to help you find a solution. They can put you on a payment plan which takes into account what you can afford.
There are different grants and benefits available if you’re struggling to pay.
Energy Bills Support Scheme
Every household will get £400 off their electricity bill. You won’t need to do anything to get the money and you won’t need to pay it back.
The £400 will be automatically added to your energy account over 6 monthly payments starting from October.
If you have a smart prepayment meter, the £400 will be added to your meter automatically. If you’re on a traditional prepayment meter (where you top up at a Post Office or shop), you’ll get the £400 in vouchers through email, text or post during the first week of each month. Make sure your supplier has your up-to-date contact details so you can receive the vouchers.
Watch out for scams! In all cases, no household should be asked for bank details at any point. Ministers are urging everyone to stay alert of potential scams and report these to the relevant authorities where they are suspected. You also won’t be asked to make any payments.
Warm Home Discount
You might be able to get £150 off your electricity bill or £150 added to your prepayment meter.
If you’re eligible for the scheme, the Department for Work and Pensions will send you a letter in November or December. You won’t need to apply, you should get the payment automatically.
If you’re on a prepayment meter or if you don’t use gas or electricity for your heating you might be able to get a fuel voucher.
This is a code given to you in a letter, text or email and you use it to add credit to your gas card or electricity key.
You might be able to fuel vouchers from your local council, but if you’re struggling you can speak to your local Citizens Advice.
Winter Fuel Payment
This is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating. You can usually get this if you were born on or before 26 September 1956.
This year you’ll also get an extra £300 with your usual Winter Fuel Payment — normally in November or December.
Cold weather payments
These are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s really cold. You’ll only be eligible if you already get certain benefits including Pension Credit or Income Support.
Grants from energy suppliers
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
Extra help from your supplier
You might be able to get extra help and support from your energy supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register.
You can sign up if you’ve reached state pension age, you’re disabled or sick or if your energy network considers you vulnerable. Your energy supplier can help you with things like reading your energy meter, or getting your bills sent or copied to someone else.
You can read about all of the extra support available on our website.
There are some simple ways that you can make your home more energy efficient.
- Switching your appliances off standby can save £55 a year
- Save £28 a year by using your washing machine more carefully — wash at 30 degrees and reduce your washing machine use by one run a week
- Turn down your thermostat by one degree and save £105 a year. Just be sure to keep your home at a comfortable temperature — for most people this is between 18°C and 21 °C
- Draught-proofing and blocking cracks throughout your home can save you around £45 a year
- Insulating your hot water cylinder could save you £35 a year
You can read more tips about being more energy efficient on the Energy Saving Trust website.
These savings are for a typical three-bedroom, gas-heated home in Great Britain, using a gas price of 7.4p/kWh and electricity price of 28.3p/kWh (based on April 2022 price cap).