This winter fuel prices are rising, but there is help and support available.
Why are energy prices rising?
Energy prices have been rising worldwide for a variety of reasons. A cold winter in Europe last year put pressures on supplies, so 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 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 they can charge for standard variable rates.
The energy price cap went up on 1st October – will it go up again soon?
The Energy Price Cap is reviewed twice a year based on the latest estimated costs of supplying energy, and the next time the price cap is due to be updated is April 2022 which means customers who it protects needn’t worry about it increasing before then.
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 https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/problems-with-your-energy-supply/your-energy-supplier-has-gone-bust/
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 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.