The history of Ofgem's energy price cap


From April to June 2024, the Ofgem energy price cap is £1,690 for customers paying by direct debit.

Is It Time To Fix Your Energy? 12% Decrease As of April 2024

Industry regulator, Ofgem has announced a 12% decrease in the price cap for April to June 2024. This is the maximum amount energy suppliers can charge for their gas and electricity usage. 

This means that a typical UK household will pay £1,690 for their energy annually. This price cap will be in place until June 2024 and will be reviewed again for the July to September period. From January to March 2024, the cap was set at £1,928 and has decreased by £238 for a typical UK household that uses gas and electricity and that pays by direct debit.


Remember that the price cap is set on unit prices, meaning that if you use more, you pay more.

There's no certainty around energy prices and until Ofgem makes their next announcement in 2024, prices could increase as they did in January compared to October, or come down some more. For those seeking security around the price they pay, they are choosing to get a fixed-rate deal now.

So, what does this mean for the switching market for home energy and business energy?

Is it time to grab a fixed-rate deal? 

What Does This Mean For Energy Switching? 

Energy switching is well and truly back. There are deals for business energy and some great options for households too. It is arguably one of the best times in recent years to grab a fixed-rate deal, but each circumstance is different. Either way, there’s no harm comparing energy tariffs now in case you can get a better deal than you’re currently on. 

Compare our best energy deals and switch in minutes

Are Energy Prices Increasing In 2024? 

According to analysts at Cornwall Insights, this isn't unexpected and is a direct result of the fluctuations in wholesale energy prices. Dr Craig Lowry at the group has highlighted that we cannot assume that prices will continue to fall, and it is very possible that higher prices are becoming the new “normal”. 

Interested in finding out what you could be paying? Take a look at our live online prices to see if we can help you grab a better deal. 


What Does This Mean For Business Energy?

There is no price cap for business energy customers, however prices are really competitive for commercial energy. Many business owners are securing great business energy rates and locking in a great deal to avoid any future price fluctuation.

Energy Price Cap in p per kWh


Charge April - June 2024 (Current) January - March 2024 (Previous)
Electricity unit rate 24.50p per kWh 28.62p per kWh
Electricity Daily Standing Charge 60.10p per day 53.35p per day
Gas unit rate 10.31p per kWh 7.51p per kWh
Gas Daily Standing Charge 31.43p per day 29.60p per day


How has the energy price cap unit rate changed?

As you can see from the table above, The April to June 2024 price cap unit price has dropped in terms of p per kWh for both electricity and gas.


However, don't be fooled by headlines, as the standing charge has increased from 53p per day to 60p per day compared to January-March 2024. That means households that use very little electricity will see a disproportionately smaller saving, no matter how efficient they are in their energy usage. Empty houses, or households that use very, very low amounts of electricity and gas may see their bills increase.


The price cap is managed by the energy regulator Ofgem to ensure that suppliers charge fairly in accordance with wholesale costs. The price cap is on the unit rate per kWh used and your bill will be based on how much gas & electricity you use.


Remember this is the maximum tariff you should be paying - you can compare energy deals to see if you can get an even cheaper unit rate. 

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How Does Ofgem Calculate The Price Cap? 

As this is basically putting a cap on energy supplier profits, calculating the price cap has a variety of factors that must be considered. Ofgem has released some information on how they set the price cap:


Wholesale energy costs - the baseline consideration is how much the supplier pays for the energy it later provides UK households


Network upkeep costs - the costs relating to the maintenance of energy buildings and maintaining the network that delivers the energy to each home. This includes any operating costs


Government policies - any government schemes are considered when applying the price cap


5% VAT is added


Energy price cap costs

There are also other costs that go into the price cap, such as adding a direct debit uplift to ensure that customers that pay by pre-payment do not pay more that those that pay by direct debit.


The full breakdown of energy price cap costs for the April to June 2024 energy price cap as provided by Ofgem is as follows:


  • - Wholesale costs: £720.00 (42.83%)

  • - Network costs: £368.00 (21.89%)

  • - Operating costs: £223.00 (13.27%)

  • - Policy costs: £188.00 (11.18%)

  • - VAT: £81.00 (4.82%)

  • - Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT): £40.00 (2.38%)

  • - Adjustment allowance: £28.00 (1.67%)

  • - Headroom allowance: £18.00 (1.07%)

  • - Direct debit payment method uplift allowance: £15.00 (0.89%)


Source: Ofgem - Costs included in price cap level: payment by Direct Debit, January 2019 to June 2024

What Is The Energy Price Guarantee? 

This is a scheme introduced by the government on energy prices from October 2022 through June 2023. The guarantee sets the maximum UK households pay for their energy regardless of wholesale costs.


Can I Switch Energy Suppliers In 2024? 

Energy suppliers have started offering fixed-rate deals. This means you might be able to lock in a great deal in 2024. 

Ofgem's Energy Price Cap History 

From the day it was first set in January 2019, it’s fair to say the energy price cap has seen its fair amount of fluctuation. The table below looks at each time the cap was set over the last few years, for a typical medium household paying by direct debit.


Price Cap Period Ofgem Energy Price Cap Price Cap Change vs Previous Month Price Cap Change vs Previous Month
April - June 2024 £1,690.00 -£238.00 -12%
January - March 2024 £1,928.00 £94.00 5%
October - December 2023 £1,834.00 -£142.00 -7%
July - September 2023 £1,976.00 -£1,140.00 -37%
April - June 2023 £3,116.00 -£943.00 -23%
January - March 2023 £4,059.00 £688.00 20%
October - December 2022 £3,371.00 £1,494.00 80%
Summer 2022 £1,877.00 £661.00 54%
Winter 2021/22 £1,216.00 £132.00 12%
Summer 2021 £1,084.00 £91.00 9%
Winter 2020/21 £993.00 -£80.00 -7%
Summer 2020 £1,073.00 -£16.00 -1%
Winter 2019/20 £1,089.00 -£70.00 -6%
Summer 2019 £1,159.00 £106.00 10%
Winter 2018/19 £1,053.00 - -


Source: Ofgem data, April 2024.

When Was The Energy Price Cap Introduced? 

The first price cap for default energy tariffs, or standard variable tariffs (SVTs) as they’re often referred to, was established on 1 January 2019 by Ofgem - the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.


Since 1 April 2017, there has also been a price cap protecting customers on prepayment meter tariffs, which covers around 4 million energy consumers.


Why Was The Price Cap Introduced? 

The aim of establishing the default tariff price cap was to provide protection to some 11 million energy customers across the UK, ensuring they paid a fair price for the energy they used to power their homes.


The price cap is set so energy suppliers can’t charge their customers whatever they want per kWh of energy they use, while also reflecting on the wholesale energy market so suppliers aren’t buying energy at a more expensive rate than they’re selling at.


How Often Does The Energy Price Cap Change? 

Ofgem reviews the energy price cap every three months. This has changed due to fluctuating energy prices as they only used to review it twice a year.


Deep Dive Into The Price Cap History

January 2019

When the price cap was first established suppliers could set the rate of their standard variable tariffs as they wished. The average annual price of an SVT was set to £1,137, which worked out at £94.75 on average per month. However, this was then adjusted in February 2019 to £1,254 - a monthly SVT average of £104.50.


August 2019

The next price cap announcement saw the annual SVT average drop to £1,179 with a monthly average cost of £98.25.


February 2020

It dropped again in February 2020 to £1,162 and a monthly average of £96.83.


Ofgem changes average usage


Between the February and August price cap announcements, Ofgem changed how they calculated the price cap by lowering the household average energy usage of electricity to 2,900 kWh from 3,100 kWh.


August 2020

Due to wholesale energy prices plummeting from lack of demand during the first Covid-19 lockdown, the price cap dropped to its lowest-ever recorded price of £1,042 with a monthly average of £86.83.


February 2021

As the lock down began to ease and people started to venture out, wholesale energy prices started to climb, which caused the price cap announcement of February 2021 to increase by £96 to £1,138 and a monthly average of £94.83.


August 2021

With wholesale prices still climbing, the price cap rose again to £1,277 with a monthly SVT average of £139 - the highest price cap to date.


April 2022 

Wholesale energy prices continued to surge to £1,971 with a monthly average cost of £164,25.


October 2022 

Wholesale prices continued to rise further to a staggering £3,549, averaging a monthly cost of £295.75. The government introduced the Energy Price Guarantee to bridge the gap of rapidly increasing energy costs. This was set at £2,500 per year for typical household usage.


April 2023 

The Energy Price Guarantee was scheduled to end. This was extended until July 2023. It was extended as predictions had the price cap increasing hitting £3,280 for typical households.


July 2023 

Energy switching coming back? Yes! Ofgem announces the price cap drops to £2,074 and becomes active once again under the temporary price guarantee.


October 2023 

Ofgem lowers the price cap drops to £1,923. 


January 2024

For January to March 2024, Ofgem the price cap for a typical gas and electricity using customer that pays by direct debt is £1928, an increase of 5%.


April 2024

For April to June 2024, the Ofgem price cap for a typical customer that uses gas and electricity paying by direct debit lowers to £1690, a 12% decrease on the previous quarter.

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