We understand that lots of our customers are feeling worried about the rising cost of energy. That's why we've pulled together some information here to help you understand what's happening – and find out how we can help.

What the price cap is and why it's rising

The energy price cap is set by the regulator Ofgem, and puts a limit on the prices that energy companies can charge for variable tariffs.

These tariffs are priced in line with the cost of wholesale energy (the price we pay to buy energy from the companies that generate it).

Wholesale prices have risen significantly – high above the price cap. Which means suppliers have had to buy energy for a much higher price than they’re able to sell it for.

On 1 April 2022 Ofgem raised the price cap to reflect the rises in wholesale prices.

What’s causing energy prices to rise

Over the last year, the average cost of wholesale energy has more than doubled. This huge rise has been driven by a number of things, including:

  • An increase in global demand for energy as countries return to normal after lockdowns
  • And a decreased gas supply coming from Russia into Europe

These factors are really complex, and unusual. We’ll be keeping our customers updated on how it affects them as the situation develops.

Payment schemes and benefits that can help

These government-run schemes could also help you with your energy bills

Useful steps to take in managing your energy account

Here we’ve included some other information that might help you. It’s easiest to manage these steps through your online account. If you don’t have one you can register for one now.

Switching to Direct Debit

You could save up to £129 per year if you switch from paying On Demand (when you get your bill) to paying by Direct Debit. Our prices are lower for Direct Debit customers.

(Saving based on the difference between Direct Debit prices and On Demand prices and using Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) for a dual fuel customer. TCDV are 2,900kWh of electricity, 12,000kWh of gas, and 4,200 kWh of Electricity on Economy 7 rates)

Send regular meter readings

Without meter readings, we have to estimate your bills and this can mean they aren’t 100% accurate. You could be paying too much or too little for your energy.

Get a smart meter

Smart meters send readings for you, which means we know exactly how much energy you’re using – and your energy account is always up to date. They can also help you track your energy use in real-time.

Keep an eye on fixed deals

Many of our customers prefer to choose fixed contracts. These tariffs fix the price you pay, offering you peace of mind that your energy prices won't change for at least a year.

Find more answers here

We’ve put together these questions and answers – to help you get all the latest information about what’s happening.

How the price cap affects you

How does the price cap affect my bills?

The price cap is set by Ofgem, and it puts a limit on the rates energy suppliers are able to charge on standard variable tariffs. The amount you pay will also depend on how much energy you’re using.

Ofgem announced that the energy price cap would increase on 1 April 2022. On the same date, we increased the prices on our Standard variable tariff and Pay As You Go tariffs in line with the cap.

We sent letters and emails to our customers whose prices would be changing, so you'd be able to see how the changes would affect your bills. If you’re on a variable tariff, or your fixed tariff was about to end, you should have received yours already. This included your new energy prices and a personalised projection of your future bills based on your exact or estimated energy use.

We aimed for all customers to have received their new prices by 12 March 2022. And the new prices came into effect on the 1 April.

How do I know what my new prices are?

We sent out letters and emails to our customers whose prices have changed. If you’re on a variable tariff, or your fixed tariff was about to end, you should have received yours already. This included your new energy prices and a personalised projection of your future bills based on your exact or estimated usage.

All customers should have got their new prices by 12 March. And the new prices came into effect on the 1 April.

I’m on Pay As You Go, when will the prices be updated on my meter?

It depends on the type of meter you have:

  • If it’s a smart meter, there’s nothing you need to do – we’ll have updated your prices automatically on 1 April
  • If it's a traditional meter, your prices will update the moment you top up with your electricity key or your gas card, on or after 1 April
Will my Direct Debit need to increase?

If your Direct Debit needed to change, we'll have been in touch. If you’re worried about this, we’ll be able to help.

Other factors that can also affect your Direct Debit are how much energy you’re using and how much credit you have in your energy account.

We base your Direct Debit payment on your energy prices and how much energy we think you’ll use (by looking at how much you’ve used in the past).

We’ll ask you to increase your Direct Debit, if it looks like your current Direct Debit won’t cover your energy usage.

We always put aside credit on your account, usually about the cost of one month’s energy. This amount helps with any changes in usage and costs over time. Any remaining credit (more than £5) will be automatically refunded through your Direct Debit at your next review, providing it’s based on an actual meter reading.

Will I ever pay more than the price cap?

We’ll never charge you more than the price cap, if you’re on a variable tariff. It’s worth knowing that fixed-rate tariff aren’t affected by the price cap.

It’s also important to be aware that the figure of £1,971 (which is often used by Ofgem when talking about the price cap for pay monthly tariffs) is the average yearly cost of energy per household. If your home uses more energy than that, then the yearly cost will be higher.

The price cap is there to set the maximum rate you can be charged per per kWh of energy, on a variable tariff. This is known as the unit rate. The price cap also sets the standing charge – this is the amount you pay per day to stay connected to the grid (covering the costs for things like power lines and pipes).

Using more energy will also cause bills to go up – whichever type of tariff you're on, whether it's variable or fixed.

If you’re worried about the cost of energy, we’re here to support you.

Does this price change affect customers on fixed-rate energy tariffs?

No, it only affects customers on our variable tariff. But if you’re coming to the end of your fixed-rate tariff, then you might be affected by the price cap. This is because you’ll be automatically moved to our variable tariff if you don’t fix your prices again. We’ll be in touch about your options, giving you all the information you need to decide what’s right for you.

If wholesale prices go down, will you change your prices before the next energy cap is announced in October?

We understand that lots of our customers are feeling worried about changes to the energy price cap. We regularly review our prices to make sure they’re fair. If we decide to change prices, we’ll give you plenty of notice.

Gas prices are rising, but I only buy electricity from you. Why are my electricity prices going up?

This is because gas is also used to generate a lot of electricity. The UK government states that in 2020, 35.7% of the electricity produced in the UK was created by burning natural gas.

Even if you only buy electricity from us, wholesale gas is still used to produce that electricity. Since the price of wholesale gas has gone up, this means that electricity is more expensive to produce. Unfortunately, this means the price of your electricity has also gone up.

What happens if I want to switch to another energy supplier?

While we’d love for you to stay with us, we understand if you decide to switch. If your new energy supplier tells us you’re switching within 20 working days of 1 April, then you’ll stay on your old rates until you leave us.

You’ll need to pay off any debt you might have in your energy account before you go, to make sure your switch goes smoothly. We’ll let you know if there’s anything left to pay – and you can always get in touch if you’re worried about this.

If everything’s paid off within 30 days, your switch can go ahead and the new price change won’t affect you.

What can I do to help manage my energy?

Here’s some information that might help, when it comes to managing your energy account. It’s easiest to manage all this through your online account. If you don’t have one you can register for one now.

  • You could save by paying by Direct Debit1. Price cap rates for Direct Debit payments are less expensive than for On Demand payments (where you pay your bill by cheque, for example). If you don’t have a one already, you can set up a Direct Debit now.
  • Sending regular meter readings. Without meter readings, we have to estimate your bills and this can mean they aren’t 100% accurate. You could be paying too much or too little for your energy. To stay up to date, you can submit your readings online if you’ve got a traditional meter.
  • Getting a smart meter. Smart meters send readings for you, which means we know exactly how much energy you’re using – so your energy account is always up to date. They can also help you track your energy use in real-time. You can book your free appointment to get one installed online.
  • Keeping an eye on fixed energy deals. Many of our customers choose a fixed tariff, for the peace of mind that comes with knowing prices are fixed for at least a year. If you’re interested in finding out more, take a look at our fixed tariffs. We’ll always tell you on your bill if you could switch to a cheaper tariff with us.

  1. Actual savings will vary according to how much energy you use.

How can I set up a Direct Debit to get the lower prices?

If you pay monthly or quarterly, our Direct Debit set-up guide walks you through all the steps.

What the price cap is and why it’s rising

What is the price cap?

The energy price cap is set by Ofgem, the energy regulator, to put a limit on what energy suppliers can charge on variable tariffs. The cap takes into account costs energy suppliers are facing, while making sure prices are fair. It can go up or down – depending on the cost of wholesale energy.

As of 1 April 2022, the new price cap is £1,979.

It’s important to be aware that the figure of £1,979 (which is often used by Ofgem when talking about the price cap for pay monthly tariffs) is the average yearly cost of energy per household. If your home uses more energy than that, then the yearly cost will be higher.

The price cap sets the maximum rate you can be charged per kWh of energy, on a variable tariff. This is known as the unit rate. The price cap also sets the standing charge – this is the amount you pay per day to stay connected to the grid (covering the costs for things like power lines and pipes).

Using more energy will also cause bills to go up and it’s the other main factor that affects costs – whichever type of tariff you’re on, whether it’s variable or fixed-rate.

If you’re worried about your energy costs, we’re here to support you.

How long will prices stay this way?

Prices will stay this way from 1 April to 30 September 2022.

We’ll always give you plenty of notice, whenever your energy prices are going to change.

Why have energy prices risen so much?

The main cause is the rising cost of wholesale energy (this is the price we pay to buy energy from the companies that generate it). It’s more than doubled over the last year, and that huge rise has been driven by a number of things, including:

  • Countries returning to normal after lockdowns
  • And a decreased gas supply coming from Russia into Europe
How is the price cap decided?

Ofgem sets the energy price cap by looking at the wholesale energy market. When wholesale energy prices go up, the cap goes up too. And when prices go down so does the cap. The aim is to keep prices fair for both customers and energy suppliers.

The calculations behind the cap are based on how much Ofgem thinks it will cost energy suppliers to buy the energy they need for their customers. Ofgem also factors in things like operating costs. This is the money energy suppliers spend on things like billing and installing meters, and network costs (the price of maintaining the pipes and wires that transport gas and electricity to your home).

To work out how much customers should be billed, Ofgem uses Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCVs). These are statistics that Ofgem produces every two years, showing what the average low, medium, or high energy use per household is.

What’s happening with standing charges?

The standing charge covers the extra costs of supplying your home with energy. These include connecting your home to the energy network and maintaining the wires and pipes that carry gas and electricity to your home. The cost of keeping the network running has gone up, which means the standing charge has risen too.

Will prices continue to rise?

It’s tough to say how prices will change in future – nobody knows for certain. The changes in the wholesale energy market have been driven by a number of things, including:

  • An increase in global demand for energy as countries return to normal after lockdowns
  • And a decreased gas supply coming from Russia into Europe

These factors are really complex, and unusual. We’ll be keeping our customers updated on how it affects them as the situation develops.

Can you tell me more about the government’s £200 loan and how it will affect me?

Like all energy suppliers, our customers will be part of October's £200 energy loan scheme. We're actively planning with the government on how best to roll it out to our customers.

What is SSE Energy Services doing about these price rises?

This is an industry-wide issue and it’s clear that more drastic and longer term action is needed. We’ve been working with the government, Ofgem, and our charity partners, because reform needs to happen as quickly as possible. We promise you, we won’t stop until energy is fairer for all.

If you’re moving to OVO Energy

I’m about to move over to OVO Energy. Will my prices be different?

Your prices should be exactly the same.

If you’re on a variable tariff, your prices will be exactly the same as they were with SSE Energy Services.

If you had a fixed-rate tariff with us and you’ve now moved to OVO, you’ll be on the same tariff with the same prices, as well as the same terms and conditions.

If your fixed-rate tariff is coming to end, you’ll move onto a variable tariff automatically – unless you choose a new fixed-rate tariff. We’ll be in touch about the different options available, to make sure you have all the information you need to choose a tariff that’s right for you.

I’ve been told I’m going to move to OVO Energy, will my tariff change?

The only change you’ll see is that you'll be on an OVO named tariff. Everything else will stay the same. When the time comes, we'll send you a letter with all the details about your current tariff and the tariff you’re moving to so you can easily compare them.

  • If you pay by Direct Debit – your gas and electricity will be combined into one simple account. So instead of having two Direct Debit payments on your bank statement, you’ll see that both will be collected in one go, making it easier to keep track of your payments.
  • If you don’t pay by Direct Debit – your gas and electricity will be combined into one simple account. So instead of making two bill payments, you'll be able to make just one. You’ll receive new account details to make payments to OVO in your first OVO bill.
I’m moving to OVO, but my SSE Energy Services fixed tariff is ending soon – what will happen after that?

Once you've moved, if your current tariff is coming to an end, you can switch to another OVO tariff. OVO Energy have plenty of tariffs​​, which they call “plans”, to cover your needs. These include one and two year fixed-price plans, just like SSE Energy Services.

Managing your account

I’m trying to reach you by phone, but I can’t get through. How can I contact you?

We’re sorry if we haven’t answered your call in time. Unfortunately, news about the energy price cap has meant we’re getting a lot more calls than normal at the moment. We expect it to be busier than usual over the next few weeks.

That’s why we’ve put together these helpful FAQs – to make sure you can get answers fast. In most cases, it’s quick and easy to do things online:

I’m having trouble contacting you to give you my meter reading. What do I do?

It’s easiest and fastest to submit your meter reading online.

And you could also think about getting a smart meter - they send us your meter readings automatically. Book your appointment.

I received my new prices, but some details about my energy account aren’t correct. What should I do?

We’re sorry that your information wasn’t right in your recent letter.

These letters were based on the information we had for you on Saturday 12 February. If any of your details changed after this date, they weren’t included. When you update your details, we need a little time to update them in our system – so we might not have had your latest information when we sent the letter.

I’ve had to increase my Direct Debit a couple of times recently – why?

Having more than one Direct Debit increase in a short amount of time is rare, and we’re sorry if this has happened to you recently.

We need to make sure your payments cover your future energy use and your prices. Because energy prices are going up, your energy use is likely to cost more in future – and your Direct Debit will need to cover it.

If you have an online account, it can be useful to log in at least once a month to keep an eye on energy usage and payments. If you don't have one, you can register for one online.

If you have any excess credit (more than £5) at your next annual review, we’ll refund it automatically.

I’m on a fixed tariff, but my Direct Debits keep changing. Why?

With a fixed tariff, the price you pay per unit of energy is fixed for the length of your contract. Your monthly bills can still vary, depending on how much energy you use or if you’ve purchased any monthly add-ons.

If you use more energy than we expected, or we think you might have a negative balance by the end of your annual billing cycle, we'll let you know that your Direct Debit needs to increase.