Cheapest gas suppliers compared: switch & save!
Working out the cheapest gas supplier in the UK can be a tough task. With so many factors at play, it can sometimes seem difficult to know where to start when seeking out the best energy supplier for your home. Here at Selectra, we've simplified things by comparing the cheapest gas suppliers on the market, so you don’t have to.
Understand Your Bill to Find The Cheapest Gas Supplier
Looking at your latest gas bill is the first step to finding the cheapest gas supplier. Before you can compare the best gas prices, you need to know what to look for in your gas tariff comparison and understand the various charges that make up your energy bill.
- Unit Rate
- Standing Charge
Once you understand what these charges are, you will find it easy to compare and find the cheapest gas provider for your home. Let's look at these charges and what they mean in a little more detail.
Are you Moving House? If you've recently moved house, you probably won't have a recent gas bill - and we do not recommend that you use the consumption of the previous occupant, as your usage may be different and could result in incorrect bills. Instead, you can use our free Estimated Consumption Calculator.
This is how much you will pay per unit of energy. The unit rate is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and will make up the largest percentage of your gas bill. Even though the unit rate is fixed, The final charge at the end of the month is based on how much energy you use. Therefore you’re likely to see higher bills in the winter and lower costs in the summer.
Gas unit rates tend to be a lot lower than their equivalent electricity units. This is because it takes a lot more gas than electricity to achieve the same result. While the average household electricity consumption is 2,900kWh per year, it’s 12,000kWh for gas.
On your bill, you can compare your annual consumption by looking for something that says annual estimated consumption or consumption for the last 12 months, you will often find this on the second page of your bill. This annual figure is the number that you will when you start comparing the cheapest gas supplier.
Convert Gas Units to kWh Whilst your bill should be provided with your consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh), your gas meter might read in cubic metres (m3) or cubic feet (ft3). You can read our How to Convert Gas Units to kWh Guide to understand the difference.
The second thing to look at when preparing to look for the best gas prices is your standing charge. This is a daily fee to cover energy supply and maintenance costs, therefore keeping you connected to the National Gas Grid.
Unlike the unit price, the standing charge remains the same, regardless of how much gas you use - even if you don't use any gas, you must still pay the standing charge.
How Much Are Gas Standing Charges? The gas standing charge can vary from as little as 20p per day up to 80p per day, depending on the supplier and tariff you have chosen. There are some suppliers such as Utilita that don't have a standing charge on its tariffs, however you will find the unit rates are more expensive to offset it.
The final charge applied to your gas bill is Value-Added Tax (VAT). In 2022 this stands at 5%, and is applicable to both gas and electricity costs. Some providers and energy comparison sites will not include this when giving you a quote, so make sure you take this into consideration when comparing gas prices and looking for the cheapest gas supplier.
What Types of Gas Tariffs Are There?
Now you know what charges make up your gas bill, let’s move on to the types of tariffs you’re likely to come across when comparing gas suppliers and how they differ from one another.
Fixed Gas Tariffs
A fixed tariff guarantees the same standing charge and unit rate locked in for the duration of your contract. When wholesale gas prices fluctuate, your rates will remain the same. Although these charges remain constant, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you will be billed the same amount each month, your bill will vary depending on the amount of energy you have used.
An exception to a variable bill is if you have a budget direct debit set up. In this instance, your supplier will have estimated your annual usage and will bill you the same amount every month. However, at the end of the year you will have to pay the difference if you've used more than what was estimated, or you may have a refund if you've used less than estimated.
Usually, fixed tariffs are guaranteed for a period of one or two years and include a penalty charge if you decide to change tariff or switch provider during your contract, known as an exit fee. These can range from £15 up to £100, so it’s always worth checking this first if you are thinking of switching to a cheaper gas supplier.
When Can I Switch Tariffs Without Being Charged? With a fixed-rate tarfiff, you are obligated to stay with the supplier for the duration of the contract and may be penalised for switching early. However, you can switch without being charged an early exit fee in the final 49 days of your contract.
The cheapest gas suppliers usually offer fixed-rate tariffs and these can often work out as the most affordable option.
Variable Gas Tariffs
Rates on a variable tariff, on the other hand, can change from one month to the next as the wholesale cost of gas fluctuates. While you might think you’ve signed up for the cheapest gas tariff on the market initially, that may not always remain the case a few months down the line.
If your contract has ended, your supplier will have transferred you onto its default standard variable tariff automatically. This tariff is protected by the Ofgem Price Cap.
If the rate does change, your provider is required to notify you of significant increases at least a month before, which means you have time to change tariff or switch provider.
One way you can end up on a variable tariff without even knowing is if you let your gas supply plan come to an end without taking any action. In this case, your supplier will automatically move you on to a standard variable tariff.
These are usually among the most expensive rates your supplier will offer, so we recommend doing some research ahead of time and having a new tariff or energy provider lined up before your contract ends. Remember that you can switch suppliers without incurring an exit fee in the last 49 days of your tariff.
Prepayment Gas Tariffs
Prepayment Tariffs allow the customer to pay upfront for their gas, either online if you have a Smart Meter or by using a key or card. The main advantage of these tariffs is never receiving unexpected charges or bills in the post, as you only pay for the energy you use.
However, this type of plan generally comes with more expensive unit rates, as well as a standing charge which is also expected to be covered up front. You also run the risk of running out of gas if you forget to top-up before your credit runs out and unlike a prepayment electricity tariff, there's no grace period for prepayment gas.
Calculating your gas bill To calculate your annual gas bill and see how it compares against other tariffs, simply multiply your energy consumption by the unit rate and add 365 days worth of standing charges. For a more detailed breakdown and examples, see our guide on How To Compare Gas Prices.
Green Gas Tariffs
One of the considerations when you're looking for a cheap gas provider is its green credentials, its more important than ever that we try to do our bit for the environment and having a gas tariff that uses Green Gas or Offsets Your Carbon Emissions for an easy way to saving the planet.
The good news is that a green tariff is about the same price as a regular tariff, and in some cases cheaper. You can also look at switching from paper bills to digital bills as another way of cutting down your carbon footprint and saving money as suppliers may offer a small discount for receiving your bills this way.
Compare Guides Don't forget to read our other comparison guides to learn more ways to save money on your energy bills.
Which is The Cheapest Gas Supplier in The UK?
Now we have a better understanding of our energy bill and the types of gas tariffs available, let’s get down to working out which is the cheapest gas supplier on the market.
As location and energy use are the key factors in relation to how much you should be paying, it can be difficult to determine the exact cost of a particular gas tariff. However, to give you an idea of what an average UK spend may be, see below for the average energy consumption figures in the UK, according to industry watchdog Ofgem. You can also use our Energy Consumption Calculator to get a clearer picture based on your own energy usage habits.
|Fuel||Level of consumption||Consumption|
|Gas||Low (1-2 bedrooms/flat)||8,000 kWh|
|Medium (3-4 bedrooms)||12,000 kWh|
|High (5+ bedrooms)||17,000 kWh|
You should compare prices based on your own location and consumption for the most accurate price projection.
Cheapest Prepayment Gas Tariffs
While prepayment can be a good option for those who need to budget ahead of time, customers on pay-as-you-go tariffs generally end up paying more money for the same amount of energy as those on Direct Debit plans.
For example, the April 2022 Price Cap is set at £2,017 for prepayment customers whereas customers on a direct debit tariff will pay just £1,971, based on the average usage of 12,000kWh for gas and 2,900kWh for electricity. Whilst the difference in the cost per kWh is minimal, it's about 10p per day more expensive to be on a prepayment gas tariff.
Customers who prefer not to switch to a Direct Debit plan or those with debt may find it helpful to have a smart meter fitted to keep track of their gas usage. Energy providers are currently installing these at no additional charge for eligible customers as part of the Government’s Smart Meter Rollout.
Switching to a smart meter can also save a lot of hassle if you choose to move on to a Direct Debit plan further down the line. Instead of having a new credit meter installed, you can simply contact your energy provider and ask them to remotely switch your smart meter from prepayment to credit mode or vice versa.
Does Choosing The Cheapest Gas Supplier Mean Worse Customer Service?
When choosing a new gas supplier you’ll want to take more than just cost into account - after all, what’s the use in being with the cheapest gas supplier if its customer service is terrible?
Many of the cheaper tariffs are offered by smaller suppliers. The reason they are able to do so is that they tend to operate with far lower overhead costs than traditional large energy providers, such as British Gas, E.ON and Scottish Power.
Fortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on customer service. You may be surprised to learn that many of these smaller suppliers actually rate higher on trusted consumer websites such as Which? and Trustpilot and in Citizens Advice's quarterly customer satisfaction survey.
|5||Outfox The Market||3.75|
Information from Citizens Advice Last Updated March 2022
To learn more about which gas supplier could be right for your home, take a look at our energy provider guides, where you’ll find customer reviews, contact information, tariff prices and more.
Cheapest Gas Supplier FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Will UK Gas Prices Go Down?
It's highly unlikely that the gas prices in the UK will go down in the near future as wholesale gas prices are at a historical high and are expected to stay that way. The Ofgem Price Cap may help to keep the gas price as affordable as possible for millions of customers, however the price cap is likely to increase significantly again in October 2022.
Is it Cheaper to Use Gas or Electricity 2022?
With the rising cost of gas and electricity, you're probably keep to know if it's cheaper to use an electric heater instead of putting the gas radiator. Whilst electricity heaters can be efficient at heating a small area quickly, the higher the wattage the more it will cost to use.
For example, a 2,000W electric heater uses 2kWh's of electricity per hour - if you pay 25p per kWh, that's 50p per hour. Also, once you switch it off, you are reliant on the insulation of your home to retain any heat.
Using gas to heat your home is likely to work out cheaper as it is much more efficient at heating your home and retaining the heat after you switch it off.
Our recommendation is to continue using gas to heat your home. But be efficient, use it for a few hours in the morning and evening to warm-up your home and turn the radiators down in the rooms you're not using.