Why have they been introduced?
Energy is an essential service and some households are badly impacted by unexpected price increases and struggle to afford the cost of energy.
Prepay customers in particular have fewer energy tariff choices and pay disproportionately more than customers who pay in other ways, like direct debit or credit. They are also more likely to be in vulnerable circumstances and in debt and so the pre-payment meter cap was introduced to protect this group of customers. Through the safeguard tariff, Ofgem extended this price protection to a further one million vulnerable customers receiving the Warm Home Discount.
Does this mean I don't need to shop around for cheaper prices?
Absolutely not! The pre-payment meter cap, safeguard tariff and energy price cap just allow customers to pay a fairer price based on the real costs of energy.
Householders should still shop around for different tariffs or suppliers to help reduce their bills.
Will everyone be better off because of these new initiatives?
These measures will protect many people from unexpected increases in their energy bills but there are still some people who will not benefit.
It's really important that all householders continue to shop around for their energy and still take up wider support that may be available from energy suppliers.
I'm on the safeguard tariff with my energy supplier so am I on the best deal?
Not necessarily, the safeguard tariff only ensures you don't pay over a certain amount per unit of energy. There could well be tariffs and/or other suppliers that are cheaper than the safeguard tariff.
You should shop around to get the best deal, however, if you switch to a smaller supplier who doesn't provide the Warm Home Discount you won't continue to receive the safeguard tariff or your energy rebates via the Warm Home Discount. Make sure you check before you switch.
Where can I find out more information?
Start by asking your energy supplier if you could benefit from being on a cheaper tariff or could be eligible for further assistance.