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How to prepare for a price cap update

With the energy price cap level now being updated four times a year, Uswitch has released a checklist of actions for households to take before their energy rates change.
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Energy meter

Uswitch is encouraging customers to get into a "Check, Track and Change" mentality before every price cap update, whether the level is going up or down.


Check if any new deals are available to you by running a comparison

As of November 2023, there are fixed deals on offer that may be priced close to or slightly higher than standard variable tariffs - they offer peace of mind that your rates will not change for 12 months. Compare energy prices by entering your postcode below.

Run an energy comparison

Enter your postcode below to compare energy prices and get started on your energy switch.

Check what energy support schemes or grants you, or any vulnerable friends or relatives, may qualify for 

If you are struggling with your bills, there may be help available depending on your circumstances. The government runs the Warm Home Discount scheme, where those eligible can receive £150 to help with bills during the winter, in addition to the Great British Insulation Scheme. Councils are also offering help through the Household Support Fund, and many suppliers also have their own customer support funds.

Keep your meter readings up to date 

If you don’t have a smart meter, regularly take meter readings (especially the day before the new price cap level comes into effect) and submit them to your supplier. This makes sure your bill is accurate, and lets your supplier modify your direct debit to match your usage. 

Check that your monthly direct debit payments reflect your actual use and inform your provider if not 

This ensures you’re paying the right amount for your usage. Any credit you’ve built up over the summer can be used over the winter months, which tends to be when your usage exceeds your monthly direct debits. 

Check if your boiler is working

It's not ideal to discover your boiler isn’t working once the temperature drops suddenly. Consider getting it serviced if you haven’t had done so in the last 12 months. If you have an older boiler, you may want to consider boiler cover.


Track your usage 

Although bills are generally lower in the summer, energy prices are still extremely high. It’s worth monitoring how much energy you’re using by downloading Utrack, Uswitch's free mobile app that connects to your smart meter to provide regular insights into your energy spend. It also includes useful tips on how to cut usage.

Keep track of what’s happening in the energy market

The energy market remains volatile, so it’s wise to keep an eye on your energy tariff options. Whether you’re offered a tariff from your supplier – or you find a new fixed deal – it’s worth running an energy comparison to see if it’s the best option for you. You can also sign up to deal alerts from Uswitch when you compare energy prices.


Change your thermostat and boiler settings

Check the temperature on your thermostat and adjust it if required. The World Health Organisation suggests most healthy people should heat their homes to 18°C. Reducing the flow rate on combination boilers to around 60°C can cut heating bills, and you won’t notice the difference. 

Change your radiator settings

Get ahead of the first cold spell by checking if your radiators are up to scratch. Bleeding your radiators will prevent cold spots, and you may want to consider turning radiator valves down – or off – in the rooms you use less often. Keep your radiators free from obstructions, like furniture, for maximum heat.

Change the way you use your appliances

Tracking your usage may help you see how changing some habits can make a difference in your home. Whether that’s setting your wash cycle at a lower temperature or eco mode, ditching the tumble dryer, or running the dishwasher only with a full load, small changes may have a big impact on your next meter reading.

Change your door seals and window dressings

Draught-proofing is a quick and cost-effective way to prevent heat escaping, which could save you around £50 a year. Fitting door seals between doors and frames, attaching brushes under draughty external doors and using chimney balloons all keep the heat in. Thermal and lined curtains also prevent heat loss.

Read more:

Average gas and electricity bills in the UK - Uswitch

What does the average UK gas and electricity bill look like? See how your energy usage and bills compare against Ofgem's averages for 2023.

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What is Ofgem's energy price cap 2023? - Uswitch

Information on the energy price cap set by Ofgem, set at £1,834 from October until January 2023 and from £1.928 from January to April 2024.

Learn more

How to read your gas and electricity meters - Uswitch

Find out how to take meter readings from any type of gas or electricity meter in this Uswitch guide to reading energy meters.

Learn more