Prepayment energy price cap kicks in (top up as soon as you can)
On Saturday 1 April, a price cap for British prepayment energy customers kicked in.
The cap was introduced by industry regulator Ofgem after the Competition & Markets Authority found the UK’s six million prepayment customers were more likely to be in a vulnerable condition and couldn’t access the cheapest deals.
It’s hoped it will save households £80 a year, with energy firms expected to slash prices on prepayment tariffs to meet the new limit.
The changes to the cap will only be applied to your meter when you next top up, not on 1 April when the cap comes into force.
If your supplier is dropping prices, top up as soon as you can to take advantage of the new prices, no matter the amount.
Customers on Npower’s standard prepayment deal – previously the priciest on the market – will see bills fall by £105 a year.
Some Co-op Energy, Extra Energy, Spark Energy and Utility Warehouse dual fuel customers will see price cuts of over £100.
Ovo Energy and Utilita, though, have announced modest price hikes. Dual fuel prepayment customers with Ovo will see bills rise by an average of £16 a year, while those with Utilita could see them rise by £30.
The price cap is coming into force as new research by Which? reveals 35% of prepayment customers have had a problem with their supplier, compared to just 20% with a standard meter.
The five most common issues were: inaccurate billing; problems with the amount of price increase; lack of meter readings; inaccurate meter readings and customer service problems.
For faulty billing, contact your supplier with up-to-date meter readings. And if you’re hit with a standard tariff price rise, switch provider or tariff to avoid it (you won’t have to pay any exit fees).