A typical household in Liverpool pays £84 more for the same amount of energy than one in Newcastle.
It is one of the quirks of the energy price cap, which is in reality a series of regional caps. Those who pay over the national average include people living in London, southern England, Wales and Merseyside.
The cost-of-living crisis means the price cap is the amount many households currently pay, unless they are on a fixed deal. It is set by regulator Ofgem, which takes into account the cost of transporting gas and electricity to people’s homes.
This is a more expensive business in some parts of Britain than others, so Ofgem sets regional caps for different areas. The price cap for the ‘typical’ consumer, which is then published, is simply an average of these regional rates.
Currently, the highest price is paid by people in North Wales and Mersey, at £2,015 a year for a typical household.
They pay £84 a year more than those in the ‘Northern’ energy region, which covers North-East England, and has Britain’s lowest bills at £1,931. The average for Great Britain is £1,971.
From October, the price cap is set to rise to a staggering £3,549 on average, with those in North Wales and Mersey set to pay £3,615 - a full £121 a year more than those in the North East.
New Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to announce a freezing of the energy price cap to help people with crippling bills this winter, but the details of the scheme are yet to be announced.
How much is the energy price cap in my region?
Here are the current price caps for each region of Great Britain for a typical consumer, which is based on someone with typical energy usage on a dual fuel tariff paying by Direct Debit. If you are not sure which energy region you live in, you can check using this postcode tool.
- North West £1,948
- Northern £1,931
- Yorkshire £1,944
- Northern Scotland £1,972
- Southern £1,980
- Southern Scotland £1,968
- N Wales and Mersey £2,015
- London £1,978
- South East £1,985
- Eastern £1,967
- East Midlands £1,938
- Midlands £1,968
- Southern Western £2,009
- South Wales £1,989
- GB average £1,971
And here is what the prices will be from October 1, unless any changes are made to the energy price cap in the meantime.
- North West: £3,521
- Northern: £3,494
- Yorkshire: £3,521
- Northern Scotland: £3,531
- Southern: £3,563
- Southern Scotland: £3,550
- N Wales and Mersey: £3,615
- London: £3,573
- South East: £3,568
- Eastern: £3,549
- East Midlands: £3,506
- Midlands: £3,550
- Southern Western: £3,578
- South Wales: £3,565
- GB average: £3,549
People in northern Scotland pay an amount very close to the British average, while people in southern Scotland, Midlands, East of England, Yorkshire, the North East and much of the North West enjoy lower than average bills.
Why is the cost of electricity and gas different across the country?
Some areas of Britain are more expensive to get electricity to, while others are more expensive to get gas to.
Transmission and distribution are the two stages of getting power to people’s homes. For example, with electricity, transmission involves getting power from the source to local sub-stations, while distribution then feeds this power into individual homes.
According to Ofgem, electricity and gas transmission charges are higher in the south of England and lower in Scotland. Electricity distribution charges are higher in North Scotland, Merseyside and North Wales and the south-west of England. They are lower in London and Eastern England.
Gas distribution charges are higher in London and the south of England and lower in Scotland and the north-east of England.
Do any areas get help with the cost of transporting energy?
The north of Scotland receives help with the high cost of distributing electricity in the area, through a special scheme. A charge on all suppliers is passed on to Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution Ltd, so distribution charges in the North of Scotland can be reduced.
This scheme protects consumers in the North of Scotland from the high costs of electricity distribution in that area. The UK government has launched a consultation proposing the arrangement be continued.