Energy price cap to increase by 5% from January

Energy price cap to increase by 5% from January

The price of energy for a typical household that uses gas and electricity and pay by Direct Debit will go up by £94 after Ofgem announced it will increase the price cap by 5% on the previous quarter from 1 January 2024.

For an average household paying by direct debit for dual fuel, this equates to £1,928, a rise of £94 over the course of a year - around £7.83 a month.

For a typical user paying by direct debit, the unit rate will be 29p/kWh for electricity and 7p/kWh for gas. The average daily standing charge will be 53 p/day for electricity and 30 p/day for gas.

Ofgem said the increase is driven almost entirely by rising costs in the international wholesale energy market due to market instability and global events, particularly the conflict in Ukraine.

The regulator said it will continue to use all levers available to ensure costs are spread fairly and customers struggling with bills are supported. It has today further developed plans to permanently remove the so-called ‘prepayment meter premium’ to ensure that prepayment customers are charged the same standing charge as direct debit customers. Ofgem has already launched a ‘Call for Input’ on standing charges running until 19 January, 2024.

Jonathan Brearley, CEO of Ofgem, said: “This is a difficult time for many people, and any increase in bills will be worrying. But this rise – around the levels we saw in August – is a result of the wholesale cost of gas and electricity rising, which needs to be reflected in the price that we all pay.

“It is important that customers are supported and we have made clear to suppliers that we expect them to identify and offer help to those who are struggling with bills.

“We are also seeing the return of choice to the market, which is a positive sign and customers could benefit from shopping around with a range of tariffs now available offering the security of a fixed rate or a more flexible deal that tracks below the price cap.

“People should weigh up all the information, seek independent advice from trusted sources and consider what is most important for them whether that’s the lowest price or the security of a fixed deal.”

Responding to the announcement, Citizens Advice Scotland social justice spokesperson Matthew Lee said: “Millions of people in Scotland are worried about their energy bills this winter, and an increase in the price cap in January will be a Hogmanay hangover from hell for many.

“We’ve faced the worst cost of living crisis in living memory and people have had their financial resilience worn down. Bills going up after Christmas, as usage is higher due to the cold weather, will create really difficult spending choices for many.

“Citizens Advice Scotland wants to see a social tariff in the energy market which targets support at those on the lowest incomes. Until then, people from any background should know that the Citizens Advice network is here for them.

“Lots of people may not realise that they don’t have to go to a CAB to get advice and information from our network. We have online self-help tools and advice pages that can help you see where you can cut your costs, boost your income, and understand your rights with your energy supplier.

“We get real results for people, last year the average gain for energy advice was more than £400. People who saw a gain from advice more broadly were £3,700 better off.”

Hazel Knowles, energy lead for Advice Direct Scotland, added: “Energy price rises at the coldest time of the year will alarm many people grappling with household bills.

“Costs are already hundreds of pounds higher than pre-pandemic levels, pushing people into debt and having to make difficult decisions about spending on even essential items.

“Given the challenging situation for many, it’s shaping up to be an incredibly tough winter.

“We urge people across Scotland not to struggle alone – our expert advisers can provide free advice on the support available and ensure that households are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to.

“With an upcoming hike in electricity standing charges from April, Ofgem’s review could benefit some of the most vulnerable consumers.

“Energy affordability also needs a long-term solution, and we support calls for a social tariff to protect people from spending excessive amounts on their bills.”

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