Liz Truss announces energy price freeze – what does it mean for your bills?

How will the energy bill freeze work and when will it come into force? Here’s what we know so far

Liz Truss next to car in purple dress
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

New Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced an energy bill freeze to help tackle soaring energy costs. 

Around 24 million households were set to face average annual energy bills of £3,549 when the increased energy price cap came into effect on 1 October 2022. That's an increase of about 80% on the current cap of £1,971. 

While the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme was announced to help households cope with rising bills through the winter months, there had been criticism that it wasn't enough, especially with the prices predicted to rise even further in 2023. 

Liz Truss had promised to focus on energy bills and energy supply as an urgent priority once she was made Prime Minister. 

Boiler in cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole)

How will the energy bill freeze work?

The energy price cap announced by Ofgem at the end of August will be reduced from £3,549 to £2,500 for a typical household, as announced by Prime Minister Liz Truss. The energy price freeze will be effective from 1 October 2022. 

Editor's Note: New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed on 17 October 2022 that the Energy Price Guarantee will only be in place until April 2023 instead of the end of September 2024. No specifics have yet been announced regarding what will happen in April 2023. 

With this new scheme, the average unit price for dual fuel customers who pay by direct debit will be limited to 34p per kWh for electricity and 10.3p per kWh for gas. 

You don't need to apply for the scheme or contact your supplier - it will be applied to your bills automatically. 

It's important to remember that the £2,500 figure stated is an average based on typical use. If you use more energy than the average household, you will likely pay more, so finding ways to save energy at home is important. 

You may also pay more if you are on a prepayment meter or if you pay for your energy by cash or cheque. 

With wholesale energy prices still rising, the government is borrowing money to help energy companies cover the discrepancy between what they pay for the energy they sell, and what they are allowed to charge customers. But how the energy bill freeze will be funded will be confirmed by new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng later this month. 

Liz Truss next to car in purple dress

(Image credit: Getty / Carl Court)

Alice Haine, Personal Finance Analyst at Bestinvest, the DIY investment platform and coaching service, commented: 'While £2,500 is over £1,000 less than Ofgem’s energy price cap of £3549, set to come into force on October 1, it is still 23% more than the previous level of £1,971. 

'However, with the £400 rebate on top, it means bills will remain around their current level – but that does not take away all the pain for consumers. Energy prices are still significantly higher than they were a year ago, with some households already struggling to absorb the rising costs and food prices are high too. It means household budgets are not completely out of the woods yet. 

'Plus, it is also wise to remember the price cap is not a cap on the maximum bill a household can be charged as what you pay depends on your usage. This means that those using more energy than average will pay higher bills and those using less will pay less, so not everyone is looking at the same bills.'

If you have fixed your energy prices...

If you have fixed your energy prices at a higher rate, then don't panic, you won't miss out. Your supplier will adjust your fixed tariff automatically. For those who have fixed at a higher rate, your unit prices will be reduced by 17p per kWh for electricity and 4.2p per kWh for gas. 

For those who have fixed in the last 14 days, you will still be in the cooling off period and could cancel without any penalty. 

Sarah is an experienced journalist and editor with more than 10 years of experience in the Homes industry, working across brands such as Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes. After segueing into the world of personal finance, acting as launch editor of Ideal Home's sister brand, Sarah became Editor in Future’s Wealth division with a focus on property-related finance and household bills, working across brands including GoodtoKnow and Ideal Home. She is passionate about helping people cut through confusing jargon to make the right financial decisions when getting on the property ladder and turning a house into a home.