The price cap will increase to £1,928 from 1 January until 31 March 2024, so you may want to consider locking in your rates now. Run an energy comparison to see deals that are currently available by entering your postcode below.
Although the price cap level is set to rise to £1,928 from 1 January 2024, energy suppliers have been able to reintroduce some fixed deals to the market. This is good news for 14 million households wanting to switch to a fix, according to Uswitch research. However, it's difficult to predict whether choosing one or sticking with a standard variable tariff will save you money in the long run. Consider your options carefully and stay up to date with energy market news to help you decide what to do.
Do consider exit fees. You may change your mind about your fixed deal and want to switch. If this happens after your 14-day cooling-off period, you might have to pay an exit fee. Not all tariffs have them but most do, so make sure you know whether yours does.
Do consider the length of the deal. Most deals are for 12 or 24 months. During this time the price cap could rise or fall depending on market conditions, so consider how long you would like to stay locked in for.
Do stay informed. It’s important to keep a close eye on the market and run regular comparisons to see what deals are on offer. By signing up to alerts, you will be able to stay close to what’s happening in the energy market and be informed when a good deal comes along.
Don’t get a deal you can't afford. Make sure you can afford the deal you choose to take and do not feel pressured into taking one that you will struggle to pay for.
Don’t just look at the direct debit amount. The price you pay through Direct Debit each month is usually based on the estimated amount you will use over a year and may not be the actual cost. Make sure you look at the unit price and standing charge so you can understand how much you will be charged for your energy usage and how it differs from what you are currently paying.
Find out more about fixing your energy deal here.
Wholesale gas prices significantly increased in September 2021 as a result of various factors combining to put pressure on supply and demand. This meant that there was a knock-on increase to the energy prices that customers were being charged by suppliers.
Ofgem ultimately announced that, due to the wholesale market situation, the level of the energy price cap would rise to £3,549 per year for an average use household paying by direct debit in October 2022. It then increased again to £4,279 per year.
Recognising the financial pressure that such high bills would put on households, the government introduced the Energy Price Guarantee, which froze energy prices at £2,500 until the end of June 2023.
The price cap, which continued in the background, fell to £3,280 in April 2023 and then to £2,074 in July. This means the Energy Price Guarantee is no longer being used and the price cap is in effect again. The price cap level fell again to £1,834 in October, though it will increase to £1,928 for the period from 1 January to 31 March 2024.
With energy deals beginning to return to the market as the wholesale energy market settles down, it's worth brushing up on how the process of comparing energy prices and switching energy works.
If you’re looking to switch energy, think about what’s most important to you when running an energy comparison and choose the one that ticks those boxes - but make sure the deal it’s offering works for you as well.
It's difficult to predict what will happen to energy prices in the next few months. Cornwall Insight, the energy analyst, predicts that after March next year, energy prices should drop enough to see the price cap decrease as a result.
You can see the latest predictions below, along with context that should help you decide on the best course of action for you.
Ben Gallizzi - Uswitch Energy Expert
Fixed deals are starting to return to the market but, if you're interested in signing up to one, it's important to check all the details before you commit. When you compare energy with Uswitch you can see all the information you need to judge whether a new deal could work for you, including unit rates, daily standing charges and exit fees.”
If you’ve got a smart meter, Utrack is a free mobile app that connects to your smart meter and can help you track your home energy usage and help you find ways to use less energy to keep your bills as manageable as possible.
You can get:
Detailed insights about energy usage throughout your home
Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reports and data
Energy-saving tips and advice.
If you’re struggling with your energy bills, there is help available. At the very least, energy suppliers are required to have plans in place to help customers who need it - these could include reducing or waiving payments for a while or switching over to a prepayment meter.
The government also announced a package of relief measures designed to help the most vulnerable.
£900 for those on certain means-tested benefits to be paid in spring 2023, autumn 2023 and spring 2024
£300 for pensioners (in addition to the Winter Fuel Payment) to be paid in winter 2023-24
£150 for those on disability benefits to be paid in summer 2023
Financial help from the Household Support Fund (via local councils).
With the cost of living crisis affecting households across the UK, you can’t switch energy but you can still compare and save across Uswitch’s other products, including broadband, mobiles and insurance.