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This briefing looks at the Energy Price Guarantee and how it works in Great Britain alongside the existing energy price cap. It includes data on price caps and wholesale prices for gas and electricity.

What is the Energy Price Guarantee?

Following concerns over the effect of a proposed 80% increase in energy prices energy price rises, then Prime Minister Liz Truss announced that the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) would be introduced from 1 October 2022 and last two years.

The EPG was to reduce the extent of price increases for domestic customers. Under the scheme, the Government sets maximum prices for gas and electricity and compensates energy suppliers for providing these at below cost prices.

Maximum energy prices for customers on standard variable tariffs are set by the lower of the EPG or the energy price cap. The EPG was lower during the period October 2022 to June 2023. The price cap for July to October 2023 will be lower than the EPG, so prices will fall to the cap level during this period.

How much will customers pay?

The EPG sets maximum unit costs. Maximum daily standing charges are set by Ofgem’s price cap. The EPG level is normally expressed as an annual figure. This is the annual bill that dual fuel (gas and electricity) direct debit customers with typical consumption levels would face if these prices remained constant across a year. It was originally set at £2,500 for two years from October 2022 to September 2024. It was later changed to £2,500 for the first nine months (October 2022 to June 2023) followed by an increase to £3,000 for the following nine months (July 2023 to March 2024).

The price cap for July to September 2023 is £2,074. As this is lower than the EPG, customers on standard variable tariffs with typical consumption will see bills fall in line with this cut in prices.

Annual bills are not capped. Households which use more energy will pay more, those which use less will pay less.

Chart titled "EPG limits price increases in winter and spring '22/23 to below price cap levels" showing EPG and price cap levels in recent years

Prices vary by region and are currently higher for prepayment meter customers and those paying quarterly bills.

The price increases under the first six months of the EPG were softened by the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payment which was being paid in six separate monthly instalments from October 2022 to March 2023. The Government announced on the morning of the Spring Budget 2023 (15 March 2023) that the planned 20% increase in the EPG would be delayed from April to July 2023.

Without the EPG, customers would have paid more under the price cap between October 2022 and June 2023.

Will energy prices fall?

Wholesale energy prices have fallen from their summer 2022 peaks but there is a substantial lag before these feed through to consumers. The reduction in the price cap in April 2023 was not large enough to take it below the EPG level, so customers did not see their bills fall.

Series of charts illustrating the time lag between changes in wholesale prices and changes in retail prices under the energy price cap

The fall in the price cap in July 2023 takes it below the EPG level, so customers on standard variable tariffs will see a fall in their bills. The cap is forecast to fall to just below £2,000 in October 2023, before increasing to just above £2,000 in January 2024. While lower than current prices, these levels are considerably higher than the price cap, and fixed tariffs from 2021 and earlier.

Forecasts of the price cap are uncertain so there is no guarantee that prices will further or at all in September 2023.

Chart titled "The EPG protected customers from extremely high prices in late 2022 and early 2023. The fall in the price cap in July 2023 will see lower customer bills." showing price cap, EPG and forecasts from 2021 to 2024

Lower wholesale prices may also lead to suppliers offering cheaper fixed tariffs, however it’s likely that suppliers will be cautious in their pricing and any return of competition to the market is likely to be slow. Prices in July-September 2023 will still be more than 60% higher than in winter 2021/22.

Further information

The latest Government guidance on the EPG can be found on the Energy Price Guarantee page.

The Library briefing Domestic Energy Prices includes more analysis of the causes of recent prices rises, historical data and information on prices of other domestic fuels.

The briefing Introduction to the domestic energy market explains key concepts in the domestic energy market and looks at how the market is structured, how bills are calculated and the challenges facing energy supply.

The briefing Constituency casework: Government support for energy bills includes answers to frequently asked questions about Government help with energy bills.

The data dashboard Local area data: fuel poverty provides fuel poverty statistics for constituencies in England and local authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Timeline of changes to the Energy Price Guarantee

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