Discover how to compare energy prices so that you can choose the best tariff for your home and start saving on your energy bills today!

Why should I compare energy prices?

When was the last time you switched your energy tariff? If it wasn’t within the past year, it could be quite likely that you're on your provider’s standard variable tariff – which also often tends to be the most expensive plan.

The best way to save money on your gas and electricity bills is to compare energy tariffs every 12 to 18 months and switch to a cheaper tariff.

When looking for the best deal, there’s no one cheap energy plan for all. Pricing can significantly vary depending on your location and usage. It’s important to compare energy prices using your own details in order to find the best tariff for your home.

What you’ll need to compare

To compare energy tariff prices, we recommend you first gather a few details.

1) Annual consumption

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You’re going to need to know your annual gas and electricity consumption. This is expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

You can find this information on your utility bills. According to UK energy regulator Ofgem, the median annual usage is 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas annually.

Not sure how much energy your household consumes? Try using our consumption calculator to find out your gas and electricity usage.

2) Current energy tariff

Using your current tariff rates to compare energy prices, you’ll be able to see exactly how much you could save.

It is important to understand that energy tariffs include two different types of costs: unit rates and standing charges. The unit rate is the price you pay for the energy you use. It is expressed in pence per kWh. The standing charge is the price you pay per day just to be connected to your energy supply.

You will have different unit rates and standing charges for the gas supply and the electric supply. Electricity rates are almost always higher than gas rates.

It’s okay if you don’t know what energy tariff you’re on – many people don’t know. You should be able to find your tariff details on your latest utility bill.

Are you with one of the Big Six energy suppliers? Check out our tariff guides for more information about your current rates.

How do I compare energy prices?

To compare energy prices among different suppliers, you need to understand how to calculate your projected spend.

First, multiply the electricity unit rate by your annual energy consumption rate in kWh. Then multiply the electricity standing charge by 365 days (a year). Next, multiply the gas unit rate by your annual gas usage and the gas standing charge by 365.

Add these four rates together to find the projected energy spend per year.

Calculating your energy bill: an example Let’s say your household consumes 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year. How much would you spend on the following tariff? The electricity unit rate is 15p per kWh and the standing charge is 23p per day. The gas unit rate is 4p per kWh and the standing charge is 18p per day.

Answer: (0.15 x 2,900 kWh) + (0.23 x 365) + (0.04 x 12,000 kWh) + (0.18 x 365) = £1,064.65 per year

Once you understand how to calculate the projected spend for your energy bills, you can compare energy tariffs in your area to find out which offers the best deal for your home.

Find out how much you could save with Selectra

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Which is the best deal?

Determining which is the best deal for everyone is really not so simple since it depends on your location and your household’s energy needs.

With constantly fluctuating variable tariffs, as well as the introduction of new tariffs, the best plan today may not have the cheapest price next month.

How much can I save?

For more insight regarding gas and electricity prices, check out the following Selectra guides:

It’s not just about price

When comparing energy tariffs, the cheapest one may not actually be the best choice. It’s also important to choose a supplier that provides high-quality customer service and support.

In the table below, you’ll find the top energy suppliers in terms of customer service, according to the latest research from Citizens Advice. The organisation compares UK energy suppliers on a quarterly basis across the following six categories:

  • Average call centre wait time
  • Number of complaints per 10,000 customers
  • Customers who had an accurate bill in the past year
  • Bills and statements sent on time
  • Switches completed within 21 days
  • Customer guarantees
Citizen's Advice Customer Service Ranking: Top 10
Rank Energy Supplier Rating
1 Igloo Energy 4.4
2 M&S Energy 4.4
3 Outfox the Market 4.4
4 Co-operative Energy 4.15
5 Octopus Energy 4.15
6 Goto Energy 4.06
7 Green 4.05
8 EDF Energy 4
9 Affect Energy 3.85
10 Zebra Power 3.75

Information from Citizen's Advice Last Updated May 2021

Prepayment can be expensive

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When you compare energy tariffs, you’ll find that plans for prepayment customers are generally among the most expensive.

We know it may seem cheaper to put a tenner on your gas or electric meter whenever it’s running low rather than pay a larger sum once a month. However, the rates that make up pay-as-you-go energy plans can actually turn out to be more expensive in the long run.

Over the course of the year, prepayment customers can typically end up spending more for the same amount of energy in comparison to customers who pay via a monthly direct debit.

Time to switch

Once you’ve been able to compare energy tariffs and select the one that suits you best, it’s time to switch your provider.

To switch, you can contact your chosen provider’s customer service or make the switch through a third-party service.

We recommend you have the following details ready when you get in touch.

  • The account holder name and address.
  • Your meter type.
  • The name of your current energy supplier and tariff.
  • Your annual energy consumption and/or spend.

Find answers for all your energy queries

We are constantly staying on top of the UK energy industry and how it affects British households. We make all our research available to you for free so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to your energy supply.

Get started with our handy energy guides