Most households are “in the dark” about the government’s energy price cap, according to energy auto-switching service Weflip.
Weflip found that many people are completely unaware of the price cap, with nearly a quarter (23 per cent) saying they had never heard of the price cap.
Its research revealed that 37 per cent said they were aware of the measure but did not understand how it might affect them while 14 per cent said they had “no idea” how the cap would work.
In total 24 per cent said they knew about the price cap while 5 per cent said they knew how much the cap will save them.
Just under one-fifth (19 per cent) of people were happy with the amount they currently pay for their energy and 81 per cent were looking to cut their bills.
Of those surveyed, 16 per cent said they thought the cap “represented a fair price” for gas and electricity.
Sally Jaques, head of energy at Weflip, said: “It’s clear from our research that cutting energy bills is going to be a top priority for many households in 2019, with most people looking for savings of almost twice the amount that the new energy price cap is predicted to bring.
“It’s also clear that most people are either unaware of the cap or uncertain about how much it will benefit them.
“We already know that the level of the cap is set to rise in April, to reflect wholesale price rises over the last six months, and now Centrica plans to apply for a judicial review against the regulator Ofgem, saying it has set the threshold too low.
“As a result, customers are likely to be even more confused about the cap and whether or not they are getting a good deal.”
In response to the findings, Matthew Vickers, chief executive and chief ombudsman at the Energy Ombudsman, said: “Ofgem has done a lot to raise awareness of the price cap.
“As the ombudsman we will work with the regulator and other stakeholders to ensure there is clear, consistent and transparent information available to consumers.
“It is important that pricing in the sector is fair and transparent for consumers.
“It is also important that we have a vibrant and sustainable energy sector which can invest in the technology and innovation that we all need for the future.”
The price cap came into force on 1 January 2019. Ofgem set the level of the cap at £1,137 on 6 November 2018, just £1 higher than the proposed level it announced in September.
According to the regulator, 11 million households on poor value default tariffs are set to save around £76 on average, while a typical consumer on the most expensive tariffs would save more than £120.
Dermot Nolan, chief executive at Ofgem, said: “Under the cap, Ofgem will protect consumers from being overcharged and ensure they pay a fair price to heat and light their homes. Consumers can have confidence that any rise in prices in the future will only be down to genuine increases in energy costs rather than supplier profiteering while falls in energy costs will always be passed on to them.
“Households who are protected by the cap will be able to save even more money by shopping around for a better deal. In the meantime Ofgem will continue with reforms which aim to deliver a smarter, more competitive energy market which, combined with protection for those who need it, works for all consumers.”
Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said the introduction of the price cap “marks the end of unjustified price rises on energy bills”.
She said: “For too long, suppliers have failed to pass on any savings to their customers, who deserve to pay a fair price for their gas and electricity. Switching supplier is still the best way to find a better deal, but that doesn’t mean customers should be punished for their loyalty.
“Bill payers can now be confident that any change to the price cap will be a fair representation of the actual costs of energy, rather than suppliers passing on inefficiencies to their customers or as excess profits.”