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What is the Ofgem energy price cap and how much are bills going down? What is the Ofgem energy price cap and how much are bills going down?
(2 days later)
The new energy price cap means gas and electricity bills are dropping by an average 12% in England, Scotland and Wales. The new energy price cap means gas and electricity bills have dropped by an average 12% in England, Scotland and Wales.
From 1 April, the typical annual energy bill will fall to £1,690 - the lowest price in two years. From 1 April, the typical annual energy billfell to £1,690 - the lowest price in two years.
What is the energy price cap?What is the energy price cap?
The energy price cap covers 29 million households in England, Wales and Scotland and is set every three months by the energy regulator Ofgem.The energy price cap covers 29 million households in England, Wales and Scotland and is set every three months by the energy regulator Ofgem.
It fixes the maximum price that can be charged for each unit of energy on a standard - or default - tariff for a typical dual-fuel household which pays by direct debit.It fixes the maximum price that can be charged for each unit of energy on a standard - or default - tariff for a typical dual-fuel household which pays by direct debit.
From 1 April until 30 June, gas prices will be capped at 6p per kilowatt hour (kWh), and electricity at 24p per kWh.Previously, gas was 7.42p per kWh and electricity 28.62p per kWh. From 1 April until 30 June, gas prices will be capped at 6p per kilowatt hour (kWh), and electricity at 24p per kWh. Previously, gas was 7.42p per kWh and electricity 28.62p per kWh.
When prices soared after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, the government introduced a temporary Energy Price Guarantee to limit bills. However, Ofgem is again responsible for deciding how much customers can be charged.When prices soared after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, the government introduced a temporary Energy Price Guarantee to limit bills. However, Ofgem is again responsible for deciding how much customers can be charged.
The cap does not apply in Northern Ireland, which has its own energy market. Prices are also falling there.The cap does not apply in Northern Ireland, which has its own energy market. Prices are also falling there.
How much is my bill likely to go down?How much is my bill likely to go down?
Ofgem says that, from 1 April, an average household paying by direct debit for dual fuel (gas and electricity) will pay £1,690 a year, a drop of £238 from the previous cap. Ofgem said that,as of 1 April, an average household paying by direct debit for dual fuel (gas and electricity) would pay £1,690 a year, a drop of £238 from the previous cap.
What are standing charges and how are they changing?What are standing charges and how are they changing?
Although the overall cap has fallen, standing charges - a fixed daily amount which covers the costs of connecting to a supply - have increased.Although the overall cap has fallen, standing charges - a fixed daily amount which covers the costs of connecting to a supply - have increased.
Standing charges are 60p a day for electricity and 31p a day for gas, although they vary by region.Standing charges are 60p a day for electricity and 31p a day for gas, although they vary by region.
Ofgem said more than 20,000 customers responded to its recent consultation about how standing charges work.Ofgem said more than 20,000 customers responded to its recent consultation about how standing charges work.
The regulator is also adding £28 to everyone's bill over the year to cover the cost of dealing with £3.1bn of debt that customers owe to suppliers.The regulator is also adding £28 to everyone's bill over the year to cover the cost of dealing with £3.1bn of debt that customers owe to suppliers.
What is a typical household?What is a typical household?
Your energy bill depends on the overall amount of gas and electricity you use, and how you pay for it.Your energy bill depends on the overall amount of gas and electricity you use, and how you pay for it.
The type of property you live in, how energy efficient it is, and how many people live there, are also relevant.The type of property you live in, how energy efficient it is, and how many people live there, are also relevant.
The Ofgem cap is based on a "typical household" using 11,500 kWh of gas and 2,700 kWh of electricity a year with a single contract for gas and electricity, which they pay by direct debit.The Ofgem cap is based on a "typical household" using 11,500 kWh of gas and 2,700 kWh of electricity a year with a single contract for gas and electricity, which they pay by direct debit.
The vast majority of people pay their bill this way, to help spread payments across the year.The vast majority of people pay their bill this way, to help spread payments across the year.
Those who pay every three months by cash and cheque are charged more. Their typical annual bill from April will be £1,796, which is £106 more a year than that of a direct debit customer.Those who pay every three months by cash and cheque are charged more. Their typical annual bill from April will be £1,796, which is £106 more a year than that of a direct debit customer.
In March, Ofgem said it was considering a range of options for changing the current energy cap system.In March, Ofgem said it was considering a range of options for changing the current energy cap system.
This could see a more "dynamic" price cap which might charge customers more during periods of peak demand. Prices could also drop when, for example, more energy is available from renewable sources such as when the wind blows.This could see a more "dynamic" price cap which might charge customers more during periods of peak demand. Prices could also drop when, for example, more energy is available from renewable sources such as when the wind blows.
What is happening to prepayment customers?What is happening to prepayment customers?
From 1 April, households with prepayment meters will pay the same as those on direct debit. Previously they were charged more. As of 1 April, households with prepayment meters pay the same as those on direct debit. Previously they were charged more.
About four million households had prepayment meters in July 2023, according to Ofgem.About four million households had prepayment meters in July 2023, according to Ofgem.
Many have been in place for years, but some meters were installed more recently after customers struggled to pay their bills.Many have been in place for years, but some meters were installed more recently after customers struggled to pay their bills.
New rules mean suppliers must give customers more opportunity to clear their debts before switching them to a meter, and they cannot be installed at all in certain households.New rules mean suppliers must give customers more opportunity to clear their debts before switching them to a meter, and they cannot be installed at all in certain households.
Should I fix my energy prices?Should I fix my energy prices?
The fall in energy prices raised hopes that suppliers would offer cheaper, fixed-price deals.The fall in energy prices raised hopes that suppliers would offer cheaper, fixed-price deals.
These offer certainty for a set period, but if prices drop further people, could find themselves stuck at the higher price. These offer certainty for a set period, but if prices drop further, people could find themselves stuck at the higher price.
Energy market analysts at Cornwall Insight predict the price cap will see a small fall in July, but increase again slightly in October.Energy market analysts at Cornwall Insight predict the price cap will see a small fall in July, but increase again slightly in October.
When considering switching to a fixed-price deal, Ofgem says people should seek independent advice and "consider what is most important for them, whether that's the lowest price or the security of a fixed deal".When considering switching to a fixed-price deal, Ofgem says people should seek independent advice and "consider what is most important for them, whether that's the lowest price or the security of a fixed deal".
Price comparison website Uswitch says it expects "increased competition" from suppliers, but warns that people to check any exit fees if they want to leave a fixed deal early.Price comparison website Uswitch says it expects "increased competition" from suppliers, but warns that people to check any exit fees if they want to leave a fixed deal early.
What support is available for energy bills?What support is available for energy bills?
Certain groups - such as pensioners and those on some means-tested or disability benefits - received extra cost-of-living payments when bills soared.Certain groups - such as pensioners and those on some means-tested or disability benefits - received extra cost-of-living payments when bills soared.
But much of that extra support has now finished.But much of that extra support has now finished.
The £500m Household Support Fund, which the government introduced to help with costs in September 2021, had been due to end in March 2024.The £500m Household Support Fund, which the government introduced to help with costs in September 2021, had been due to end in March 2024.
However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a six-month extension in the spring Budget.However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a six-month extension in the spring Budget.
The Warm Home Discount scheme continues to offer a discount to eligible pensioners and low income households.The Warm Home Discount scheme continues to offer a discount to eligible pensioners and low income households.
The government's Fuel Direct Scheme can help people to repay a debt from their benefit payments.The government's Fuel Direct Scheme can help people to repay a debt from their benefit payments.
In addition, energy suppliers must offer customers affordable payment plans or repayment holidays if they are struggling to pay bills.In addition, energy suppliers must offer customers affordable payment plans or repayment holidays if they are struggling to pay bills.
Most suppliers also offer hardship grants.Most suppliers also offer hardship grants.
What can I do if I can't pay my energy bill?What can I do if I can't pay my energy bill?
Ofgem: Help with billsOfgem: Help with bills
What help are businesses getting?What help are businesses getting?
The energy support scheme for businesses, which offered firms a discount on wholesale prices expires at the end of March 2024. The energy support scheme for businesses, which offered firms a discount on wholesale prices, expired at the end of March 2024.
The scheme offered a larger discount to heavy energy-using sectors, like glass, ceramics and steelmakers.The scheme offered a larger discount to heavy energy-using sectors, like glass, ceramics and steelmakers.
Rising bills mean chip shop is not viable - ownerRising bills mean chip shop is not viable - owner
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