One in four SVT customers in the dark about price increases  

More than a quarter (27%) of bill payers on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) say they have not seen any communication from their suppliers about price increases, new research has found.

Uswitch conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,000 energy bill payers to ask about the price cap, which will increase to a record £1,971 on Friday (1 April).

Following massive spikes in wholesale gas costs, many customers have automatically rolled onto their supplier’s SVT and Ofgem figures show nearly 80% of households are now SVT customers, up from around 53% prior to the crisis.

Uswitch found that despite being introduced in January 2019 there is still some confusion among customers about how the cap works, with almost half of those surveyed (47%) wrongly believing the cap is the maximum they will pay for their energy when it actually limits standing charges and the unit cost of energy.

A quarter (25%) believe the price cap changes just once a year.

Meanwhile 14% mistakenly believe the cap is decreasing this week, a belief particularly strong among younger consumers aged 18 to 34, with a third (32%) believing the price cap is going down.

More than a third of customers (35%) were offered a fixed deal by their supplier when they were contacted about upcoming increases to their bills.

One in four (24%) were offered a tariff costing more than £2,000, and half of those offered a fixed tariff decided to take one.

Since January this year, one in three (30%) have taken or considered taking a fixed deal, despite the majority of tariffs costing more than the price cap. In the same period, 15% of bill-payers decided to sign up for one.

Consumers who have seen a notification from their provider feel they have been kept well-informed about upcoming price hikes, with a third (33%) saying the information provided was clear, and 23% believing it came in a timely manner.

Just under a quarter (23%) felt their supplier explained what they could do if they struggled to pay their bills, and 15% said it helped them budget for price rises.

Justina Miltienyte, energy policy expert at, said: “Consumers are going to see significant increases in their energy bills in a few days’ time and many are trying to figure out what it means for them and what they can do to reduce the impact.

“It is hard to prepare for the shock of energy bills rising by 54% on average, but it is more important than ever that people stay engaged with the energy market and sign up to alerts to inform you when better deals become available.”