Cheapest electricity supplier: compare prices & save

cheap electricity

With so many different options, it can be quite difficult to distinguish which is actually the cheapest electricity supplier in the UK. We’ve analysed electricity providers across the country to help you find the best deal for your home.

There are currently around 60 electricity suppliers in the UK. Many of them claim to be the cheapest electricity supplier in the country, but that position can only be held by one provider.

In this guide, we break down how to calculate your electricity bill so that you can compare different tariffs and find the cheapest electricity deals in your area.

We also list the cheapest electricity providers and their best offers that are currently on the market.

Get free energy advice and switch to a great offer!Our trained advisors can find you a cheaper offer in just a few minutes. Call 01704 335 575 or get a free callback now.

Understanding your electricity bill

We know it can be intimidating trying to understand how your electricity bill is calculated, but it’s actually not as complicated as energy providers would like you to think it is.

There are just a few components that make up your electricity bill. Let’s first take a look at the different types of tariffs, then we will explain the factors that make up the price.

Types of electricity tariffs

We break down the main types of electricity tariffs. It’s important to understand the different types of tariffs so that you can select the type that best suits your electricity needs.

  • Variable tariffs
  • Variable tariffs do not have fixed rates. The rates can fluctuate with the wholesale price of energy. This means that the cheapest variable tariff today may not be the cheapest one tomorrow if the price increases.

    In general, variable tariffs do not have exit fees. Customers are able to change to a different tariff if they find a cheaper option without being penalised for terminating the agreement.

  • Fixed tariffs
  • If your electricity is on a fixed-rate tariff, it is guaranteed that the rates will not change for the length of the agreement. We recommend going on a fixed tariff in order to ensure that the price you pay does not increase.

    Most fixed-rate tariffs have exit fees. This fee is usually around £30 per fuel. If you decide to cancel your tariff agreement and move to a cheaper electricity supplier, you will have to pay a fee.

  • Economy 7 tariffs
  • This type of tariff has different rates for on and off-peak hours. In exchange for paying a higher price for electricity during the day, customers can get cheaper rates for seven hours at night.

    Economy 7 tariffs can have either a variable or a fixed rate. We recommend signing up for this type of tariff if you use electric storage heaters to heat your home.

What costs make up my electricity bill?

electricity calculator

Your electricity bill generally consists of three different charges. The type of tariff you are on influences how these prices fluctuate.

  1. Electricity standing charge
  2. The standing charge is the price you pay per day just to be connected to the electricity supply. Some energy companies do not charge this fee. However, these are unlikely to be among the cheapest electricity suppliers overall because in exchange for not having to pay a standing charge, you’ll be charged a more expensive unit rate.

  3. Electricity unit rate
  4. The unit rate is what you pay for the electricity that you actually use. It is measured in pence per kilowatt-hour(kWh). For Economy 7 tariffs, consumers have two different unit rates - one for the day and one for the night.

  5. VAT
  6. Electricity is taxed at a rate of 5% for domestic customers. Remember to check if the VAT has been included in the offer when comparing electricity tariffs.

How do I calculate my electricity bill?

Now that you understand what makes up your electricity bill, let’s see how to calculate the total cost of the bill. This will allow you to compare offers so that you can determine which is actually the cheapest electricity supplier.

Take a look at your latest electricity bill to find out your individual household’s yearly electricity  usage. If you don’t know how much electricity your home consumes, try using our consumption calculator.

Multiply the tariff’s unit rate by the amount of kWh of electricity that you consume annually. Then multiply the daily standing charge by 365 days in a year. Add these two products together to find the projected electricity spend per year.

Calculating your electricity bill: an example If your household consumes 3,100 kWh of electricity annually, how much will you spend per year if your tariff's unit rate is 15p per kWh and your standing charge is 23p per day? The VAT is already included.
Answer: (0.15 x 3,100) + (0.23 x 365) = 548.95 pounds per year

If the rates do not include the VAT, remember to multiply the total by 1.05 to find the price you will actually have to pay.

If it sounds like too much of a hassle for you, don’t worry. We’ve crunched the numbers so you can see which is currently the cheapest electricity supplier.

Who is the cheapest electricity supplier?

Unfortunately, determining the cheapest electricity supplier is not so simple. Not only does your location influence what you pay for electricity, but with constantly changing variable tariffs, as well as the introduction of new tariffs, the cheapest electricity supplier today may not be the cheapest one next month.

The table below breaks down the cheapest electricity-only deals per supplier as of May 2020. Calculations are based on the average electricity usage for a mid-sized household in London.

Find out now how much you could save by switching.Speak to one of our trained energy advisors for free! Call 01704 335 575 or get a free callback now.

We have calculated the annual electricity spend for households that are electric only, as well as for the average dual fuel household that also uses gas. Households with electricity only use, on average, 4,200 kwh of electricity per year, while dual-fuel households use around 3,100 kwh of electricity annually.

If your home is connected to the national gas distribution network, we recommend comparing dual-fuel tariffs. It’s not only convenient to have your gas and electricity supplied by the same provider, but some suppliers even give customers an additional discount for registering both fuels.

All of the following tariffs are paid via a monthly direct debit. We did not calculate for Economy 7 tariffs because the spend depends on peak and off-peak usage.

Cheapest electricity tariffs
Supplier Cheapest tariff Tariff type Annual spend (electric-only households) Annual spend (dual-fuel households) Exit fee
Symbio Energy Low, Fair and Green 15 M Fixed £500.94 £393.16 £25
Green Watt Fixed £529.57 £409.99 £36
Neon Reef Aqua One Variable £540.36 £411.01 £0
Green Network Energy GNE Family Green v7 Fixed £576.16 £424.63 £25
Together Energy Green Together Fixed £590.71 £458.13 £30
Outfox the Market Clean VE 3.0 Variable £592.99 £455.59 £0
Utility Point UP Support V2 Fixed £595.05 £450.06 £30
Nabuh Energy Zara Fixed £602.53 £456.77 £0
Igloo Pioneer Variable £603.92 £456.66 £0
Gulf gas and power Gulf Home Renewable 12 Fixed £615.26 £467.54 £30

Cheapest deal for prepayment customers

Prepayment customers almost always end up spending more money on electricity than customers who pay via direct debit or on receipt of a bill.

If you have a traditional prepayment meter, you will need to have a new meter installed in order to go on a different tariff with a cheaper payment method. You should contact your energy provider and request to book an appointment to have a smart meter installed.

Energy companies are aiming to install smart meters in every home across the UK over the next couple of years, and the installation is typically free.

If you are a pay-as-you-go customer and you already have a smart meter, you just need to contact your current provider and ask to have your meter put in credit mode so that you can save money by switching your payment method to direct debit. This can be done quickly and easily without an engineer having to come out to your home. 

The table below breaks down the cheapest electricity suppliers for prepayment customers as of May 2020.

Cheapest electricity tariffs for prepayment customers
Supplier Cheapest tariff Tariff type Annual spend (electric-only households) Annual spend (dual-fuel households) Exit fee
Omni Energy Standard Variable £547.53 £503.25 £0
Bulb Energy Standard Variable £668.30 £518.06 £0
Nabuh Energy Lizzy Fixed £678.78 £526.25 £0
Bristol Energy Standard Variable £784.33 £599.53 £0
EDF Energy Prepayment total service Nov 21 Fixed £800.43 £617.82 £0
Green Network Energy GNE Prepayment V1 Variable £812.99 £626.41 £0
Tonik Energy PAYG Green Variable £816.63 £624.72 £0
SSE Standard Variable £817.76 £626.25 £0
Ecotricity Standard Variable £833.99 £642.59 £0
Spark Energy Move in saver v9 Variable £834.39 £642.89 £0

Can’t change to the cheapest electricity supplier because of debt? If you are currently in debt with your electricity provider, you can still change to a different supplier. Contact your provider and ask to set up a repayment plan for the debt. You will then be able to switch to another supplier.

Is the cheapest the best option?

Choosing an electricity provider should not just be about which one offers the cheapest price. It’s also about the quality of the company and its service. Having your electricity supplied by the cheapest electricity supplier may not be worth the hassle of dealing with an unstable company or low-quality customer service.

Don't sign up before checking our supplier reviewSwitching to the wrong supplier could cost you hundreds of pounds a year. Talk to one of our energy advisers to find the right offer for your home. Call us for a free assessment today. Call 01704 335 575 or get a free callback now.

Let’s take a look at Symbio, the cheapest electricity supplier at the moment. The company only provides electricity, so dual-fuel homes have to look elsewhere for their gas supply.

In March 2020, energy regulator Ofgem temporarily banned Symbio from acquiring new customer accounts. The provider received the final order after it failed to register with the Data Communications Company (DCC). 

Had the supplier not eventually registered with the DCC, it may have been forced to close down, and its customers would have had to go through the process of being switched to a different electricity supplier.

When it comes to choosing the best electricity supplier for your home, we recommend considering all aspects of the service, rather than just focusing on which company offers the cheapest price.

For customers looking to find the cheapest electricity tariffs in Ireland you can also compare suppliers on our Irish website.

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