Why are energy prices rising?
Energy prices have been rising worldwide for a variety of reasons. There were already pressures on supplies, starting last year. This means that there is less gas stored globally than normal. There’s also been increased demand from Asia, and around the world as economic activity increased after lockdowns. These have combined to push up gas prices; since January the price has risen by 250%.
Will the UK have enough gas?
Yes. While global wholesale gas prices are currently high, the Government are confident that the UK’s security of energy supply is secure now and over the winter.
What happens if my supplier goes bust?
If your supplier stops operating, Ofgem – the independent energy regulator - will automatically switch you onto a new supplier so there will be no interruption to your supply of energy. There is a well-planned system in place to protect households and ensure your gas and electricity keeps running.
Will my bills go up if that happens?
All customers will still be protected by the energy price cap. This limits suppliers on how much energy suppliers can charge for standard variable rates.
The energy price cap is going up in April. Will it go up again soon?
The energy price cap is reviewed twice a year based on the latest estimated costs of supplying energy. The cap is going up in April and will be reviewed again in October.
What should I do if my supplier goes bust?
You will be moved to a new supplier, but this may take a couple of weeks. Citizens Advice have lots of information about what to do, including taking meter readings and how to get back any money you are owed.
What if I can’t afford my energy bills?
Contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about paying your energy bills. They have to work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford under Ofgem rules. This includes reviewing a plan you have agreed to before.
You can ask for:
- a review of your payments and debt repayments
- payment breaks or reductions
- more time to pay
- access to hardship funds
Priority Service registration – a free support service if you are in a vulnerable situation.
Is there an option to refuse the £200 for those who would prefer not to have it?
News of the repayable discount of £200 can be found here.
I understand why some people may prefer not to receive the £200 as, ultimately, this will need to be paid back over the next five years. It is hard for the Treasury, who have made these decisions, to do things on an individual basis because if that were to happen, the system would be more complicated and, therefore, the measures would be slower to reach those who would benefit from them most. Because of this, there is no option to refuse the £200 off your bill.
I would stress that the £200 that you will receive should not be viewed as debt; it is £200 off of your bill and there's no interest charged on it. You can always put the £200 to one side for now too.