Friday, 23 August, 2019

Five million households face energy price rise

Average price of Ofgem cap is now just £35 lower than a Standard Variable Tariff Average price of Ofgem cap is now just £35 lower than a Standard Variable Tariff
Russell Knight | 08 February, 2018, 00:06

Around four million people with pre-payment meters already have their bills capped and Ofgem extended the safeguard tariff to an extra one million households who now receive the warm home discount earlier this week.

Ofgem's cap, the so-called safeguard tariff, which stops suppliers from charging customers too much, has been extended to a total of 5m homes after being first introduced previous year.

The regulator has blamed the increase on rising wholesale energy costs and says consumers will still be better off with the cap.

From April 1, the level of the safeguard tariff will rise by approximately £57 a year from £1,031 to £1,089 for a dual fuel customer who uses a typical amount of energy.

Consumer groups warned that the safeguard tariff was not the cheapest on the market. The government is working on a general cap for household energy prices and the change in approach has put Ofgem on the back foot.

But the four million already on the tariff, which was introduced last April, will see prices rise by 5.5 per cent.

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'Even when energy costs rise, people on the worst deals are better off under the safeguard tariff as they can be sure that they are not overpaying for their energy and any rise is justified.

Draft legislation for a cap for all customers with a standard tariff is now being created, and it's expected this will be rolled out at some point this year. "Our aim is to protect those who do not switch, while making it easier for those who do get a better deal".

The cap was set at £1,031, but from April it will be hiked to £1,087, meaning millions of households' savings will fall from £115 a year on average to £66.

Meanwhile Adam Scorer, chief executive of fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), welcomed the move to protect vulnerable customers but said the cap should be extended to a greater number of low-income families: "The UK government, Ofgem and suppliers know who these additional consumers are".

Nearly 1 million vulnerable households on poor value deals will make big savings on their energy bills from this month after Ofgem extended the prepayment safeguard tariff. It said this is due to "higher wholesale and regulatory gas and electricity costs".

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