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Man comparing gas tariffs

With hundreds of energy providers serving the UK, it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to compare gas prices and save on your bills. Here at Selectra, we make things easy by comparing tariffs across the market, so you don’t have to.

How to compare gas prices and suppliers

When it comes to cutting everyday costs, many don’t realise that they could get a better deal on their energy bills just by doing a little shopping around. We’ve listed some of the cheapest tariffs around below, but first let’s take a look at how you can compare your current bills to what other providers have on offer.

Understanding your gas bill

To get the most accurate estimates yourself and to understand if they’re good value for money, you need to know what to look for on your bill so that you can compare gas prices you’re being charged now to what you could be paying if you switch suppliers.

Your gas bill can depend on a number of factors, such as how much energy you use and where in the country you live, along with the type of tariff you’re on. Let’s be honest though - the vast majority of us don’t really understand a lot of the jargon when we receive our monthly bills. So let’s firstly look at the difference between unit rates and standing charges before moving on to how to calculate and compare different tariffs.

Looking for the best tariff on the market?Look no further! Our energy advisers can help you find the best offer on the market. Call 020 3966 4692 or Get a free callback now.

Unit rates

The energy you use in your home is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is known as the unit rate. Each supplier will offer a different rate per kWh, according to the tariff conditions.

Gas and electricity unit rates were not created equal, with gas being significantly cheaper per unit than electricity, sometimes by as much as three quarters. However, you’ll usually get through more gas than electricity for an equivalent result.

Standing charge

Along with the unit rate, your gas bills will also include a standing charge, which is a daily fee to cover energy supply costs, such as maintaining the national gas grid and other related charges.

The good news is that this part of the bill remains the same no matter how much gas you use, so it has less of an impact on your final charge.

You’ll find detailed information on energy providers and the gas prices they offer in our energy guides, but if you’re pushed for time, one of the quickest ways to find out which provider works for you is by giving a Selectra energy expert a call on 01704 320332.

Compare gas prices

Magnifying glass and energy bill

When comparing gas prices, you’ll want to firstly have an idea of your average energy usage. We recommend using our energy consumption tool to get an estimate of how much gas you use so you can compare your current rates against those of other providers.

For our gas price comparison example, we’ll be basing our energy usage on a three bedroom house in London with an average annual gas consumption of 12,000kWh. It’s worth keeping in mind that energy prices vary from one region to another, with London being among the most expensive in the country.

To calculate our annual bill, we need to consider:

  • Unit rate
  • Standing charge
  • VAT

In this example, we’ve used a fixed price gas tariff where the unit rate is 3.61p per kWh, while the standing charge is 25.7p per day. For our final total we have also included the standard 5% VAT applicable to energy costs.

 
Gas Annual cost
Unit rate £0.0361 x 12,000 = £433.20
Standing charge £0.257 x 365 = £93.805
Total gas used in this period £527.00*
VAT of 5% £26.35
Annual gas price £553.35*

*Final costs are rounded.

At a final sum of £553.35, chances are we’re paying far over the odds for our gas supply. Now you know how to work out your annual estimated bills, let’s take a look at what other providers have to offer and compare their cost against our current supplier.

As an example, Ebico offers its Prime 24 v5 tariff with the following conditions:

  • Unit rate: 2.615p per kWh
  • Standing charge: 25.179p per day

Now let’s do the same calculations as above, but this time based on our new unit rate and standing charge.

 
Gas Annual cost
Unit rate £0.02615 x 12,000 = £318.80
Standing charge £0.25179 x 365 = £91.90335
Total gas used in this period £410.70*
VAT of 5% £20.535
Annual gas price £431.23*

*Final costs are rounded and do not include any potential exit fees from previous supplier.

As we can see, by switching gas suppliers in this instance you could save £122 a year. In other cases you may even be able to save up to several hundred, depending on which type of tariff you’re currently on.

Of course, not everybody has the time to compare gas prices on offer from so many different energy providers. At Selectra, our team of energy experts scour the market for you to find the best gas tariff for your personal situation, freeing up time - and money - for more important things than worrying about your energy costs. Why not give us a quick call on 01704 320332 to see how much you can save.

Which is the cheapest gas supplier?

It’s almost impossible to give a definitive answer to this, as not everybody’s situation, location or needs are the same. The comparisons below are to give a general idea on how much you could save, based on an average household in the south of England.

Cheapest gas tariffs comparison

Let’s take a look at some of the cheapest gas tariffs around at the moment, based on unit rate and standing charge.

 
Supplier Tariff Unit rate Standing charge Discounts
So Energy So Alder 2.55p per kWh 22.05p per day None
Bristol Energy BE Simply Green 2.835p per kWh 18.62p per day £12 per year online discount
Green Network Energy Family Green 12 Months Fixed V7 2.604p per kWh 24.47p per day None

*Information correct as of April 2020. All quotes are fixed tariffs paid monthly by Direct Debit and based on comparison for a three bedroom house in London with an average annual gas consumption of 12,000kWh. Gas prices shown have been rounded and do not include 5% VAT.

Estimated gas costs for an average household

To give a clearer idea of how much you could save, let’s take a look at what this could amount to for the average household. We’ve included annual and monthly estimated costs, so you can compare with your bills from your current energy provider.

 
Supplier Tariff Estimated monthly cost Estimated annual cost (with discounts applied)
So Energy So Alder £32.20 £386.48
Bristol Energy BE Simply Green £33.02 £396.24
Green Network Energy Family Green 12 Months Fixed V7 £33.48 £401.79

*Information correct as of April 2020. All quotes are fixed tariffs paid monthly by Direct Debit and based on comparison for a three bedroom house in London with an average annual gas consumption of 12,000kWh. Gas prices shown have been rounded and do not include 5% VAT.

As we can see, So Energy comes out on top in our comparison tests. Although its standing charge is slightly higher than Bristol Energy’s Simply Green tariff, its unit rate cost takes some beating when it comes to value for money.

Gas meter

However, although So Energy puts an emphasis on its green credentials, its commitment to 100% renewable energy only applies to electricity production, and doesn’t yet stretch to its gas. Bristol Energy, on the other hand, offsets 50% of the carbon emitted from gas produced on its Simply Green tariff.

Meanwhile, Green Network Energy - despite its name - makes no mention of its gas being sourced by sustainable means. Therefore, if you’re looking for a supplier that offers exclusively renewable energy, it’s worth keeping this in mind, as there are plenty of green tariffs on the market that don’t cost the earth.

Although So Energy comes out top in our test, it may not necessarily be the best value for money for your personal circumstances. Because of this, we recommend giving one of our energy experts a call on 01704 320332 to find out the best deal that works for you.

What types of gas tariffs are there?

When comparing gas prices, it’s good to have an idea of the type of tariff you’re looking for. Generally, these tariffs will fall into either the fixed, variable price or pre-paid category.

Is your energy tariff too expensive?You can save hundreds of pounds on your energy bill just by switching supplier. Call us and see how much you could save on 020 3966 4692 or Get a free callback now.

Fixed-rate gas tariffs

A fixed-price tariff charges the same standing charge and unit rate over the duration of your contract. What this means is that, although the wholesale price of gas can fluctuate, yours will stay the same, no matter what happens to market prices.

Something to keep in mind is that, although the standing charge and unit rates remain the same, this doesn’t mean your bills will be the same every month and will depend on how much energy you use.

Variable gas tariffs

Variable tariff costs, on the other hand, vary from month to month depending on how the gas market price fluctuates. This means that both the unit rate and standing charge can change over time, though your provider will notify you a month in advance before significantly increasing gas prices.

When your gas tariff comes to an end, you will often be automatically moved on to what is known as a standard variable tariff - regardless of if you were on a fixed or variable plan before. This is usually the most expensive option your energy provider will offer, so we recommend planning a switch before your contract ends, to avoid paying over the odds for your gas.

Prepaid gas tariffs

Prepayment tariffs allow the customer to pay in advance for the gas they use, either online or by using a meter key, card or token. Although generally you’ll find the unit rate more expensive, one advantage of a prepayment gas tariff is that it allows you to manage your energy use if you’re on a budget.

Smart Prepay MetersPrepay Smart Meters display close to real-time gas consumption information and will also allow you to top up your prepayment tariff using an online account on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Dual fuel: gas and electricity tariffs

Dual fuel tariffs give you the benefit of combined gas and electricity from the same energy provider.

With a dual fuel tariff, you pay just one bill for both types of fuel, with one company covering all of your energy costs. Oftentimes, the supplier will offer a discount if you sign up for both fuels with them, so as well as being more convenient, it can also work out cheaper.

However, as this isn’t always the case, it’s still a smart idea to speak to an energy expert to see what works best for you.

How to switch gas suppliers smoothly

We make switching gas suppliers a hassle-free experience by pairing customers with energy providers that have both competitive rates and solid customer service. Ready to make the switch? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Give one of our friendly energy experts a call on 01704 320332. We’ll need some basic information, such as your postcode and relevant details from your latest gas bill, so make sure you have these to hand.
  2. We’ll search the market for a fixed or variable tariff that suits you and explain how it works. We’ll also give advice about whether direct debit billing or prepayment may be a better option for you.
  3. That’s all! We’ll arrange a switching date with the new supplier. In the meantime, your new supplier will need a meter reading to figure out your initial bill. We’ll take care of letting your current supplier know you’re leaving them, so you won’t notice any changes or be left without gas. Now put your feet up, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be spending less on your energy bills from now on!

How long will the switch take?

Changing gas supplier should take no longer than 21 days, including a 14-day cooling-off period, in which you are free to cancel the switch if you change your mind.

Will I need to install new pipes or any other equipment?

Switching your gas supplier doesn’t require installing any new equipment, so you don’t need to worry about your gas pipes. You won’t even notice a change until your bills come in and you’re paying less.

A technician may be called in if you’re switching from a prepayment tariff to direct debit or vice versa, though this is something your new gas supplier will handle for you, in most cases for free. The only other meter change that could occur will be if your company upgrades you to a smart meter, which also won’t cost you a penny.

Smart Meters - What’s the big deal?
A smart meter automatically sends your gas consumption to your energy provider. This avoids the hassle of having to send in meter readings yourself or rely on estimated bills from your supplier. As part of the government’s smart meter rollout, by 2024 an estimated 53 million homes are expected to have the devices installed.

Can I switch to a green gas provider?

Green gas is produced from biodegradable materials decomposing and releasing natural gas that can then be harvested and used as fuel.

Not every energy supplier includes a renewable option as part of its tariffs, but there are plans available from providers such as Green Energy UK and Ovo Energy, so be sure to mention if you’re interested in green gas tariffs when speaking to one of our energy experts.

What other ways can I save money on my gas bills?

In a lot of cases, switching suppliers will instantly bring your costs down, but there are other ways you can increase those savings.

1. Reduce heat loss

Roughly 25% of household heat is lost through poor wall insulation, single-glazed windows and gaps around doors. One easy way to prevent this is by installing loft and wall insulation, double-glazing, thicker curtains and using draft excluders. The initial cost may be off putting at first, but these measures will pay for themselves over time when you see the savings roll in.

2. Make your home a smart one

House

With a smart meter, you can view close to real-time energy consumption in the home, allowing you to see which devices are drawing the most energy. Most suppliers will now cover the costs of smart meter installation when you switch, so you’ll be on your way to savings in the smart home.

You can complement this with other smart devices, such as energy-efficient smart light bulbs and a smart thermostat. To take your smart home to the next level, you could even install a smart dashboard such as the Google Nest Hub to control all your smart devices either by voice control or the tap of a screen.

Compare the cheapest energy tariffs on the marketOur trained advisors can find you the cheapest deals in just a few minutes. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

3. Government and energy company schemes

Finally, there are many government-backed schemes out there to tackle fuel poverty. Programs such as the Winter Fuel Payment and Pension Credit give financial assistance to those who qualify, while many energy suppliers also have their own schemes in place to help vulnerable customers.

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