What is the energy price cap?

The energy price cap, designed to make standard bills more affordable, will increase in April.

Peter Earl From the Energy team
minute read

What is happening to the cap?

The energy price cap, which came into effect on 1 January 2019, puts a ceiling on the unit (kWh) price of energy, and on the standing charge. However, it doesn't cap your total energy bill, it just puts a price limit on each unit of energy you use, and on your standing charges. The more energy a household uses, the higher its bill will be.

The cap currently stands at £1,137 a year for typical users but will increase to £1,254 a year in April 2019 for the six months until October, according to the energy market regulator, Ofgem, which sets the cap. The price cap for pre-payment meter customers will increase by £106 to £1,242 a year for the same period.

what is the energy price cap?

What does the energy price cap mean for you?

Energy providers have started to announce price increases for their standard variable rate (SVR) tariffs in response to the increase in the cap.

Suppliers who raise their prices from April have to write to inform affected customers – those on SVR tariffs – 30 days before the price rises take effect. This serves as a timely reminder to compare energy prices and see if you can find a better tariff.

SVRs are usually more expensive than the main alternative – fixed rate tariffs. These last for a set amount of time, usually 12 or 24 months, with the price per unit of energy fixed for the duration of the deal. You’re not affected by the cap if you’re on a fixed tariff.

Your tariff details will be on your latest bill. If you’ve never switched from one energy company to another, or haven’t switched for two or three years, it’s likely you’re on a standard tariff.

How will the cap work?

The current cap of £1,137 applies to standard tariff customers who get their gas and electricity from the same supplier, pay by direct debit and use an average amount of energy each year. The figure varies if you use a different payment method. 

The actual size of your bill depends on your energy consumption, so you could end up paying more than the level of the cap.

Ofgem reviews the cap every six months, so it will change again in the autumn. Whether it goes up or down will depend on price movements in the wholesale energy markets.

How will the cap work?

How do I find the right tariff for me?

We estimate that someone with a standard dual fuel (gas and electricity) tariff who uses an average amount of energy could save £322** a year by switching energy supplier.

It’s quick and straightforward to run an energy comparison at Compare the Market. We’ll show you a range of tariffs, and once you’ve chosen your new tariff, your switch should be completed within three weeks, with no interruption to your supply.

**Where a saving can be achieved 40% of people could achieve a saving of £322 on their dual fuel energy costs based on Compare the Market data in November 2018. 

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