Susanna Reid has condemned the government’s £2,599 energy price guarantee as “misleading” amid confusion over the figure.
The Good Morning Britain presenter tweeted that she had recently spoken to a photographer who “rang his energy company in despair” because his bill had increased from £3,000 to £5,000
According to her, the photographer asked his energy company “why it wasn’t capped at £2,500 like we’d been told”.
Reid said the anecdote showed how the “government trotting out the £2,500 figure is misleading”, adding: “The cap is per UNIT of energy NOT per bill.”
Prime minister Liz Truss announced on 8 September that a typical household in Britain would pay no more than £2,500 a year for energy bills until October 2024, in a bid to ease the cost of living crisis.
On Thursday morning (29 September), during her morning broadcast round, she repeatedly told radio programmes that “nobody is paying fuel bills of more than £2,500” because of the guarantee.
But many Britons are confused about the impact of the price cap on their monthly bills, with Truss urged to “publicly correct her mistake”.
Consumer champion Martin Lewis called on the government and media to clarify what the energy cap means to “stop confusion”.
“There is no £2,500 cap on energy bills,” he tweeted on Wednesday (28 September). Instead the new 1 October guarantee, like the old caps, limits daily charge (28p gas, 46p electricity) and unit rates (10p/kWh gas, 34p/kWh electricity.
“So use more, pay more. £2,500 is just what someone with average use would pay,” Lewis said.
He added in a separate tweet: “The reason it is so important not to communicate that there is a £2,500 cap is it risks some people, possibly vulnerable elderly people, thinking they can keep the heat on max all winter, and they won’t pay more than a certain amount.”
Lewis appeared on GMB on Thursday to talk about the cap. During the show, Reid reiterated her story and asked Lewis to “dispel that figure once and for all”.
The reason it is so important NOT to communicate that there is a £2,500 cap. Is it risks some people, possibly vulnerable elderly people, thinking they can keep the heat on max all winter, and they won't pay more than a certain amount. https://t.co/3GDoWYYaG0
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) September 29, 2022
The Money Saving Expert founder replied: “There is no £2,500 in any figures that has meaning to anybody – there is no cap of £2,500 on what you can pay for energy bills.
“If that was the statement the prime minister made, it’s a miscommunication that I’ve seen repeated in many areas of the media as well.”
He continued: “What there is is a cap on the standing charges, the daily charge you pay, and the unit rate, how much you pay for each unit of gas and electricity you use.
“The £2,500 figure is what someone on the OfGem-noted typical use would pay on that cap. But if you use more, you will pay more. It’s a cap on unit rate, it will limit how much you pay for each unit of gas and electricity [you use], it is not a cap on total costs.
“The old price cap wasn’t and the new price guarantee, which is effectively a two year-long price cap, isn’t either. This new price cap is more expensive than the current one, 27 per cent more expensive on average – it is a lot less than it would’ve been had the new price guarantee not come in... but it is still going to go up and it is still double what it was last winter."