That’s a huge relief – with the way things were going there would have been very widespread hardship with winter. Now it will still be tough for many households, but not the disaster it might have been. After all, a bill of £2,500 is still twice what it was just last winter.
But when is a cap not a cap?
When it is a cap on the cost per unit of energy, not a cap on the size of people’s bills. In the small print it says that the £2,500 cap will apply to an “average household”.
So, if your energy use is average, your bill will come in at around £2,500, but by definition, half of properties are above average, and will have above average energy bills.
Cap applies to cost of units of energy
This is because the cap applies to the cost of the units of energy that we buy, which will be 10.3p/kwh for gas and 34.0p/kwh for electricity (a kWh is what we also call a unit).
Back in 2020 they were just 3p and 17p/kWh. As the majority of home are heated by gas, this means their heating bills will increase more than three times.
What influences energy use
We need to be as frugal with the energy we use, but these prices mean that even the most conscientious will be faced with substantial cost increases.
Many things influence the energy use in a house, but there are three that matter most: the size of the house, whether it is terraced, a semi or detached and the EPC rating.
What’s an EPC rating?
The EPC rating is a standardised measure of the energy efficiency of a house and ranges from A (the best) to G, the worst.
The difference in energy bills between A and G is very large. For example, a G rated detached house may have bills that are more than six times those of an A rated house.
Great majority of IW houses rated mostly D or worse
Now, A rating is very rare – it is very high-end eco-house level, but a C rating is readily achieved in many properties, and B is possible.
Unfortunately, the great majority of houses on the Island are much lower rated, mostly D or worse.
What does this mean?
It means that two outwardly identical houses in the same street can have widely different energy bills, depending on how much the householder has invested in energy efficiency.
A C rated 3 bed terraced house might have bills of around £2,000, less than the average, but if E rated the same house will have bills of £3,000 or more. For a large 4 bed semi detached house with an E rating, bills may climb to more than £4,000. For a 5-bedroom detached house they could exceed £5,000!
The trends are clear
These are very much average figures, and will vary from house to house depending on occupancy, lifestyle and concerns about energy saving, but the trends are clear.
The lower the EPC rating, the higher the energy bills, and most D or lower rated properties are likely to have bills that are higher than the “price cap”.