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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’s likely that you’re on your provider’s standard variable tariff – which also 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 significantly varies 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
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
If you use your current tariff’s 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 – most people don’t know. You should be able to find your tariff details on your latest utility bill.
Our advisors can also compare against your provider’s standard tariff rates to give you an idea of how much you can save by switching suppliers. Call us on 0170 433 5575 for a free comparison.
Are you with one of the Big Six energy suppliers? Check out our tariff guides for more information about your current rates.
- British Gas tariffs
- Scottish Power tariffs
- Eon tariffs
- Npower tariffs
- SSE tariffs
- EDF Energy tariffs
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 the number of kWh of electricity that you consume annually. 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 products 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.
Does that seem like too much of a hassle? Don’t worry – our energy experts are here to help. Give us a call and one of our advisors will be able to compare energy prices in your area.
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.
In the table below, you’ll find the cheapest energy deals as of July 2020. We used the national consumption averages to compare energy tariffs for a medium-sized home in London that uses both gas and electricity.
All of the plans below happen to be paid via a monthly direct debit. This payment method is the most effective when trying to cut back on your energy costs.
|Provider||Cheapest tariff||Estimated annual spend||Exit fee||Our insight|
|Green Network Energy||GNE Exclusive Green 12 Month Fix V9||£791||£25/fuel||This may be the best deal, but the supplier has received a high number of complaints in comparison to other companies.|
|Outfox the Market||One Green Flex 2.0||£798||£0||This is the cheapest plan with no exit fee. Unfortunately, the supplier has received a high number of complaints in comparison to other companies. The rates are also variable, so they are likely to increase over the course of the year.|
|Igloo Energy||Igloo Pioneer||£800||£0||This is a variable tariff, so prices are not guaranteed to stay the same.|
|Green||Cherry Blossom||£803||£30/fuel||Another good price, but this is also a variable tariff.|
|Yorkshire Energy||Green Ribblehead||£809||£30/fuel||While this is one of the cheapest fixed-rate plans on the market, many customers have complained it is difficult to get in touch with the provider.|
How much can I save?
To give you an idea of how much you can save if you compare energy prices, the most expensive dual-fuel tariff comes out at £1,348 for the same location and consumption used in the calculations above. At the moment, that’s well over £500 pounds more than the cheapest option!
To find out exactly how much you can save, give us a call on 0170 433 5575 or request a free callback. We will compare energy prices in your area so that you can start saving hundreds on your gas and electricity bills each year.
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
|9||Outfox the Market||3.9|
During this second quarter of 2020, more top-ranked energy suppliers scored above a 4.0 in comparison to the previous quarter. This overall increase in ratings is certainly good news for consumers.
Are you interested in joining a supplier that guarantees high-quality customer service? Give us a call on 0170 433 5575 to get a free quote today!
Prepayment is expensive
When you compare energy tariffs, you’ll find that plans for prepayment customers are almost always 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 makeup pay-as-you-go energy plans are actually more expensive.
Over the course of the year, prepayment customers typically end up spending hundreds of pounds more for the same amount of energy in comparison to customers who pay via a monthly direct debit.
The prepayment tariff with the lowest price would cost the average household in London around £960 annually. That’s almost £170 more per year than the cheapest plan on the market!
If you’ve got a smart meter, you’ll need to contact your provider and ask to have the meter put in credit mode. Then you’ll be able to switch to a tariff with a direct debit payment method.
In the table below, you’ll find the five providers that offer the cheapest prepayment tariffs on the market as of July 2020. We used the national consumption averages to calculate the projected annual spend for a house in London.
|Provider||Cheapest tariff||Estimated annual spend||Exit fee||Our insight|
|Omni Energy||Prepay Variable||£959||£0||This new energy supplier only has one tariff. It’s a variable tariff, meaning that your rates could increase.|
|People's Energy||The People's Prepay||£978||£0||This supplier does not take prepayment customers with smart meters.|
|Bulb Energy||Vari-Fair Prepayment||£979||£0||Like Omni Energy, this supplier also offers just one tariff that has variable rates.|
|Nabuh Energy||Lizzy||£1,031||£0||This is the cheapest fixed-rate prepayment tariff. The company ranked last out of the 41 suppliers in Citizens Advice’s quarterly ranking.|
|Bristol Energy||Standard Variable||£1,083||£0||Bristol Energy receives a high number of complaints in comparison to other providers.|
Even though paying via a direct debit for your gas and electricity is often the cheapest option, we can still help you find the best deal in your area for a prepayment meter. Call us on 0170 433 5575 for a free comparison and start saving today!
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. Most suppliers also allow customers to register either online or through a third-party service, like us here at Selectra.
We recommend you have the following details ready when you call.
- 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.
For customers currently living or thinking of moving to Ireland you can also compare suppliers on our Irish partner site where you can find all the cheapest deals available.