Even before Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement, consumers were aware that the cost of living was on the rise, from petroleum to inflation to prices in the supermarket. But despite spring weather, finally, starting to emerge, arguably the biggest impact on people’s bank balances this year will be the increase in energy costs.
Consumers have already seen their bills rise considerably over the winter, and April 1 will see further increases as the energy price cap increases by another 54%. The price cap, which is set by industry regulator Ofgem, sets the maximum amount that all UK energy suppliers can charge for each unit of gas and electricity.
Ofgem estimates that an average household will see £693 added to their bills as a direct result of this increase, although this depends on your provider and energy usage.
Energy firms are able to set their own pricing up to the Ofgem cap and customers with Shell Energy received emails earlier this month explaining what their price rises will be.
A relative newcomer to the energy market, Shell Energy has become more of a well-known player in the last few months because it has, alongside Eon, British Gas, Octopus, EDF, Scottish Power and Yü, been designated as a ‘safe pair’ of hands’ by Ofgem and therefore has inherited customers from suppliers who have gone bust as energy prices spiraled.
So whether you chose Shell Energy as your supplier or are one of their 600,000 new domestic and business customers inherited after GOTO Energy, Daligas, Pure Planet, Colorado Energy and Green Supplier Limited ceased trading, here’s everything you need to know about the energy crisis.
Which Shell Energy customers will be impacted by price rises?
Any Shell Energy customers on a standard (variable) tariff, pay as you go tariff or any default tariff will see their bills increase in line with the new energy price cap. Shell Energy has contacted these customers directly with full details of their new prices, along with details of the support on offer to help reduce the impact of the rising prices.
How much will Shell Energy prices go up by?
Currently Shell Energy’s default tariff is known as Flexible 6. But from April 1 this will be adjusted and renamed Flexible 7. Under the new tariff electricity go from 20.871p to 29.239p per kWh with a 37.92p standing charge (up 13p a day) while gas goes from 4.055p to 7.344p per kWH with the gas standing charge from 26.11p to 27.22p.
According to Shell’s own figures, in a typical household, credit customers will pay £693 more on their annual energy bill, which will work out at £60 per month. Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 per year, or £59 per month. Neither of these figures include VAT which is usually charged at 5% for domestic energy.
Will any customers not be affected?
The price cap increase doesn’t apply to fixed price tariffs, so Shell Energy customers who have fixed their rate will see their prices remain the same for the duration of their tariff. Once the tariff comes to an end, these customers will be moved to Shell Energy’s default tariff, unless they move to another supplier.
If you want to stick with Shell Energy for now though you’ll definitely be moving over to a variable tariff when your fixed rate ends. The firm has temporarily removed all fixed tariffs from their website and are not allowing customers to fix their bills currently. Shell says: “Because wholesale costs are so high, providing a fixed tariff right now would mean setting a price that’s higher than the price cap. That’s why we’ve temporarily removed fixed tariffs from our website.
“When wholesale prices stabilize, we’ll go back to offering fixed tariffs online with 100% renewable electricity as standard.”
How is Shell Energy helping its customers?
Shell Energy has released a raft of measures to customers who are struggling via their online support hub, which not only explains how to contact Shell directly for help but also gives information on government schemes and debt support that might help.
For any customers who are struggling with their bills, they urge them to contact is able to arrange a repayment plan to pay any arrears over a period of time with a regularly agreed amount based on affordability.
A Shell Energy spokesperson said: “Many families are worried about what rising energy prices will mean for their finances, particularly when the prices of so many other goods and services are also increasing.
“Our priority is to provide help for our customers. We would urge any customers that are struggling, to get in touch with us. We have a dedicated Payment Advice Team on hand who can put in place supportive measures including payment holidays and reduced payment amounts , and we will help ensure that customers are receiving all the support available to them.”
Shell Energy also runs a Priority Services Register which provides a range of services to help vulnerable customers manage their energy.
How you can help control your energy costs
Shell Energy also has a section on their website with a list of energy saving tips and advice. These include:
- Installing a smart meter as it allows you to see exactly how and where you’re using energy and makes sure you only pay for the energy you use. Customers can book a free installation appointment here.
- Making small changes throughout the house. Breaking it down from room to room, Shell explains how reducing the temperature of your washing machine loads, cutting down tumble dryer use and making your heating efficient by bleeding radiators.
- Download the Shell Energy app: the app allows customers to monitor their energy usage, enter meter readings and manage payments via their phone.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.