Affect Energy was bought by Octopus Energy in 2018. The supplier continues to operate and sell energy tariffs under the Affect Energy brand name.
UK Energy Providers: Your Complete Guide
With more than 50 domestic energy providers in the UK, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, with so many providers, it can also be difficult to decide which is the best one for your home. In this guide, we analyse the different gas and electric suppliers in the UK so that you can make an informed decision about your energy options.
Energy Providers: A Brief History
According to a recent report from energy regulator Ofgem, there are over 50 domestic energy providers in Great Britain as of the third quarter of 2020. These gas and electric suppliers can be broken down into the following categories:
- Dual-fuel energy providers (both gas and electricity)
- Electricity-only providers
- Gas-only providers
The electricity sector was privatised in Great Britain in the early 1990s.The aim was to promote competition among companies and protect consumer interests. By 2005, just six electricity providers supplied 99% of households.
This hold of 99% of the electricity market lasted until 2014 when smaller energy companies first started to operate. In the years that followed, these smaller companies have continued to enter the market.
For the third quarter of 2020, energy regulator Ofgem reported the electricity market shares as follows:
Note that Npower has since been absorbed by the E.on Group. All Npower customers will be transferred to Eon Next (a subsidiary of Eon) over the coming months. This acquisition makes Eon the second-largest electricity supplier in Great Britain, just behind British Gas.
National gas supplier British Gas was created in 1972. It was then privatised in 1986 under Margaret Thatcher. The 'Tell Sid' campaign encouraged individuals to buy shares in the company. With an IPO of 135p per share, British Gas was valued at £9 billion. At the time, this was the highest equity offering ever.
The same energy companies emerged to dominate the gas market in the UK. As with the electricity market, these gas companies supplied 99% of the gas market share until 2014. As of the third quarter of 2020, there are 53 gas providers in Great Britain. We display their market shares in the chart below.
Who are the larger energy providers?
These are some of the larger energy providers involved in the UK energy market:
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
These larger energy providers dominated the energy market until the end of 2019. In 2005, they held a combined market share across both the gas and electricity markets of 100%. In the third quarter of 2019, they had a combined electricity market share of 70% and a combined gas market share of 69% in Great Britain.
At the end of 2019, Npower was acquired by fellow large provider Eon. In January 2020, SSE was acquired by OVO Energy.
The UK energy market is still evolving. These are some companies that have more than 5% of both the electricity and gas market shares.
Which are the best-rated energy providers?
While price is often the most important factor people examine when choosing an energy provider, it’s also a good idea to consider the quality of the company’s customer service.
Citizens Advice compares UK energy providers in terms of customer service on a quarterly basis. The organisation rates suppliers across the following categories:
- Average call-wait time
- Number of complaints per 10,000 customers
- Customers that received an accurate bill during the past year
- Bills and statements issued on time
- Switches completed within 21 days
- Customer guarantees
You can find the best-rated energy companies according to the latest survey in the following table.
|3||Outfox the Market||4.4|
Information from Citizen's Advice Last Updated May 2021
Renewable Electricity Providers
Each year, all energy companies are required to disclose the different fuels from which they source electricity.
Being with a renewable energy supplier does not mean that the actual electricity you consume is 100% renewable. All of the electricity that is generated is put into the same grid before being distributed to individual homes. However, energy companies that have green or renewable electricity tariffs available purchase Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin (REGO) which show that they have supported an equivalent amount of green electricity production when compared to what their customers have used.
Prepayment Energy Providers
There are just over four million households with prepayment meters in Great Britain. This represents about 15% of all households.
Some examples of electricity and gas companies that offer PAYG tariffs for new customers:
- EDF Energy
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
- Orbit Energy
- London Power
- Shell Energy
- People’s Energy Company
- E Gas and Electricity
Business Energy Providers
In addition to domestic energy, there are also several providers that supply business energy. Unlike domestic providers, business energy providers don’t always publish their rates online. You will often need to contact the supplier to get a personalised business quote.
For more information on the most popular business energy providers, head to their relative guide:
- BES Utilities
- British Gas Business
- British Gas Lite
- Corona Energy
- Gazprom Energy
- Opus Energy
- Pozitive Energy
- Total Gas and Power
- Valda Energy
- Yu Energy
Who is my current energy supplier?
Your energy supplier is the company you pay either your power or gas bill to. You can find out who your energy provider is in the following ways:
- Take a look at your energy bill — You’ve likely received bills (or a welcome pack for prepayment customers) from your energy provider. It’s name should be on the documents.
- Check your email — If you signed up for paperless billing, your provider will send you all your information via email. Try searching for “energy” in your inbox to find an email from your provider.
- Contact your DNO — Your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) varies depending on where you live. Head to our DNO guide to find out who yours is.
- Check your bank statements — Whether its online or paper statements, your energy providers name should appear on your bank statements.
If you’re still having troubling, head to our dedicated guide on finding your energy supplier.
How do I choose a gas and electricity supplier?
When choosing an energy provider for your home, there are a few different factors we recommend you consider. While some of these factors may seem obvious, others (that are just as important) can easily be overlooked.
- Cost — Is it a good deal? To decide, always take into account your own energy use.
- Customer service — Can you count on the energy company to provide high-quality customer support?
- Energy sources — Are you interested in doing your part to help save the planet? Choose an energy provider that has 100% renewable tariff options.
- Exit fees — Will you be charged a fee for terminating your contract early? You may want to find an energy tariff without any exit fees if you’re only planning to stay at the property for a limited time.
Before starting to compare plans, we recommend you establish your priorities so that you can find the best energy provider to suit your needs.