What will Ofgem’s winter price cap show?

On Friday 25th August at 0700, Ofgem will announce the energy price cap which will apply to household bills from 1 October 2023.

In a major change, the values which the regulator uses to calculate the “average bill” will change (known as TDCVs, typical domestic consumption values). Due to better energy efficiency and rising energy costs, average energy consumption has fallen.

But this means that in order to compare this winter to last, households will need to look at unit costs and standing charges.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has compiled average unit costs and standing charges for direct debit customers over previous years to enable a true comparison with the data Ofgem will publish.

The figures below are based on price cap prices in effect on 16 August, forecasts are that these will vary slightly from 1 October and the figures will be updated after the Ofgem announcement.

Looking back to before the energy bills crisis started in winter 2020/21:

  • Gas unit costs are up 115% and daily standing charges are up 6% in comparison to winter 2020/21
  • Electric unit costs are up 141% and daily standing charges increased 117%

Compared to winter before Russia invaded Ukraine in winter 2021/22:

  • Every unit of gas is 85% higher today than in winter 21/22 and the gas standing charge is 11% higher.
  • Every unit of electricity is 45% higher today than winter 21/22 and electricity standing charge is 113% higher.

For winter last year, the prices are compared with the Energy Price Guarantee rate which was in effect.

Energy UNIT costs have come down from last winter (-24% for gas and -7% for electricity). However, STANDING CHARGES have increased from last winter (+2% for gas and +14% for electricity).

In addition, the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme has ended. This kept the average bill 16% below the Energy Price Guarantee rate. Therefore, people will not feel any reduction in unit costs as the EBSS money has been taken away from them this winter.

Of course, households are also battling record prices for all other essentials and facing record household energy debt levels.

The prepayment meter (PPM) premium which added around 10% to these people’s bills will be eradicated for some customers and PPM users will be paying roughly the same as DD customers. But for those on standard credit, the price premium continues and these customers will pay about 10% more than DD and PPM customers this winter.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

“Even after next week’s Ofgem announcement, energy unit costs will still have more than doubled since winter 2020/21 with standing charges also rising. For electricity, the situation is even worse thanks to Britain’s broken energy system which fails to pass on the cheaper cost of renewables to the customers and daily electricity standing charges have doubled.

“Looking at a year on year comparison, any declines in wholesale costs are almost cancelled out by the end of the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme which means bills stay at similar levels to last year while people have less ability to pay these stubbornly high prices.

“This coming winter will not feel any better than last.”


Data applies to England, Scotland and Wales only. GB averages. Where an Energy Price Guarantee Rate superseded an Ofgem Price Cap rate, this has been taken into account. Figures for winter 2022/23 do not include the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

Updated text on 24 August 2023. New evidence from the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford have revealed errors in Ofgem’s data sets for the winter 2020/21 unit costs so these prices have been revised. It means that both electricity and gas unit costs have more than doubled. Full data is available on request.

Coalition comments on new Winter Household Support Fund

The Government has announced an emergency Winter Household Support Fund to be delivered via local authorities.

However, a spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

This panic response to negative headlines about rising levels of fuel poverty is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed.

The fund has the potential to provide some short-term relief. But it is no replacement for a comprehensive investment and spending plan to end this winter’s fuel poverty crisis and improve the energy efficiency of our homes in the long-term.

Coalition members National Energy Action have called on the Government for comprehensive emergency provision to help fuel poor households to stay warm at home this winter, including:

  1. Providing additional funding towards the Warm Home Discount scheme this winter as an emergency provision to guard against significantly increased gas prices
  2. Supporting more households with the Winter Fuel Payment, especially for those eligible for the Cold Weather Payment in Northern Ireland
  3. Helping accelerate the repayment of utility debts across the UK by enhancing Fuel and Water Direct
  4. Continuing the Winter Grant Scheme through this winter

Additionally, through the Spending Review, it is proposed that the following longer-term actions to ensure that fuel poor households can be warm at home for years to come:

  1. Fully implement the Conservative Manifesto for the Home Upgrade Grant Scheme (HUG) and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF)
  2. Ensure the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) helps end cold homes across the UK
  3. Extend and strengthen the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit for low-income households.  

Hundreds of thousands set to be forced into fuel poverty

Over 200,000 households are set to fall into fuel poverty as the economy struggles to recover from lockdown, according to new estimates. [1]

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition is warning that as the numbers in fuel poverty soar, a future wave of COVID-19 striking during colder weather could be catastrophic for individuals and health services.

Public Health England have declared that there is “clear evidence on the links between cold temperatures and respiratory problems. Resistance to respiratory infections is lowered by cool temperatures and can increase the risk of respiratory illness.” [2]

The Coalition has launched a petition calling on the government to build on announcements in the Economic Statement and take urgent action to save lives and help address the financial impact of the current crisis.

Fuel poverty is caused by low income, high fuel prices, poor energy efficiency, unaffordable housing and poor quality private rental housing. At least 2.4m households in England are already in fuel poverty, affecting 10% of the population. [3]

William Baker, from Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty and member of the Coalition, commented:

It has never been more important for the government to fix the roof while the sun is shining.

While it is summer now, colder temperatures are on the way and hundreds of thousands more people will feel the harsh reality of fuel poverty. In just a few months we could see a perfect storm of cold homes, high winter fuel bills and a future wave of COVID-19 hitting the NHS during winter – a period when it always struggles to maintain services.

The Coalition wrote to the Prime Minister on 23 June setting out four steps for the government to take to tackle fuel poverty before the winter.

The Chancellor’s Economic Statement of 8 July introduced partial measures to help improve energy efficiency, but the Coalition argues that the government must go further.

Jacky Peacock, from Advice4Renters, said:

Ending fuel poverty is a public health priority, but it can only be solved through economic measures.

The government must deliver its full manifesto pledge to invest £9.2 billion in building energy efficiency, extend the Warm Home Discount and introduce wider Home Upgrade Grants. It must also take further steps to improve energy standards in the private rented sector, alongside improved security and affordability for private tenants.

Finally, we must see a Fuel Poverty Debt Relief, not deferral of payment, programme introduced to ensure fewer people will have to choose between heating and eating.

Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action added:

The Chancellor’s £2 billion for energy efficiency retrofits could have done wonders to relieve fuel poverty.  Instead, targeted at homeowners and landlords, it will do very little for renters. And without clear protections, homeowners will be at the mercy of high-pressure sales teams and unskilled retrofitters, who can leave them colder, and poorer, than before.

The public have been asked to show their support for steps to tackle fuel poverty by signing the petition https://www.change.org/EndFuelPoverty.

[1] End Fuel Poverty Coalition calculations. Unemployment is predicted to rocket from 1.29m to 3.08m people by late 2020, with the OECD predicting even higher figures. 3.08m people equates to 1.17m households. 148,000 or 30% of households with an unemployed HRP were fuel poor in 2018 (Government data). This will increase to 351,000 households in late 2020, assuming the fuel poverty rate for the unemployed is still 30% – a growth of over 200,000 households. Furthermore, many more households are likely to be forced into fuel poverty due to both reduced income and higher fuel bills arising from fewer working hours and spending more time in the home. 

[2] PHE, 2014. Warm homes enable immune systems to better fight off viruses, improve the likelihood of people with viruses only suffering ‘mild’ symptoms and help improve the recovery process. See: Baker, Ambrose et. al. https://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/stuck-home-cold-covid-19-fuel-poor.pdf

[3] https://www.endfuelpoverty.org.uk/latest-fuel-poverty-data-published/