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Nearly 150 tariffs are cheaper than the energy price cap

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
16/01/2020
There are more than 100 tariffs which are cheaper than the energy price cap which came into effect a year ago.

The energy price cap limits how much suppliers can charge for each unit of gas and electricity for customers on standard variable (default) tariffs and pre-payment meters.

The current level for default tariffs is £1,179, while for pre-payment meters (known as the ‘safeguard’ tariff), it’s £1,217.

While it sets a maximum price that suppliers can charge, it’s not a maximum bill. The amount customers pay is based on estimates of a typical household’s use.

Research from MoneySupermarket reveals that there are scores of tariffs which come under the default cap, meaning customers could save up to £300 by switching supplier.

The five cheapest include:

  • Green Network Energy: GNE Snow Surprise, average annual cost £880, £299 lower than the cap
  • British Gas: Energy Plus Protection Feb 2021v3, average annual cost £885, £294 lower than the cap
  • So Energy: So Acorn – Green – Seasonal Payments, average annual cost £890, £289 lower than the cap
  • Tonik Energy: Go Green Exclusive v2, average annual cost £892, £287 lower than the cap
  • Octopus Energy: Exclusive Octopus 12M Fixed January 2020 v1, average annual cost £892, £287 lower than the cap.

Its research also found that a year on since the price caps came into effect, nearly half of people surveyed do not believe it will lower their bills.

A quarter of the 2,000 polled said their bills actually increased. Doubt about the effectiveness of the price cap is highest among older billpayers. The comparison site found 58% of over 55s don’t believe the cap will lower bills, more than double the number (27%) aged 25-34.

A third (36%) are unaware that the price cap exists.

‘Don’t rely on regulation to reduce your bills’

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “The price cap was intended to protect consumers by ensuring a ‘fair price’ for energy that would result in savings for millions of people.

“Although awareness and 2019 switching levels are up, confidence in the price cap is low and our data shows that there are almost 150 tariffs that are cheaper than the cap. Despite this, not enough people are shopping around for a better deal when their current one comes to an end, even though doing so only takes minutes and could save them hundreds of pounds per year.

“The cap appears to have added confusion for consumers, rather than savings. Our message is clear – don’t rely on regulation to reduce your bills. Take matters into your own hands and shop around for the best deal for your needs.”

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