We always tend to see averages and estimates thrown around when we enquire about switching energy providers, hearing that through X tariff we will save X amount of money. However, this amount of ‘saved’ money is based on an average consumption that doesn’t represent a majority of UK households, whether that be higher or lower than what is stated.
These estimations are made based on the two most recent years of data available using a median average. This is called a ‘Typical Domestic Consumption Value’ (TDCV). The most recent figures that we have available are those of 2015, which categorise energy consumers in the UK as follows:
There is one sure way to check how much money you are really going to save and that is through using your actual annual usage. If you do not know your actual energy use, the figures above are reasonably reliable; however, you should budget to spend a little bit more just to be sure there are no surprises.
Average kWh per day
The exact amount of gas and electricity that you use per day will vary depending on the appliances that use within that day. This will also change depending what day and season it is, as usage varies wildly between summer and winter.
People generally use more energy on a weekend, due to them being at home for longer amounts of time. That said, however, it can be useful to budget based on a daily average across the board. You can look at these figures as a point of reference instead of an absolute limit.
Here's what we think, based on the medium average usage:
- Electricity: 8.5 - 10 kWh per day
- Gas: 33 - 38 kWh per day (higher in winter, lower in summer)
How much is the average electricity and gas bill?
Gas and electricity bills are going to vary with every residential customer we look at. Energy suppliers charge different rates based on your postcode. Also, different lifestyles lead to varying home energy uses, meaning that no two gas or electricity bills look the same.
However, OFGEM (the UK energy regulator), in their most recent estimate from 2017, found that average yearly energy costs are right around £1,123 for both gas and electricity, also known as a dual fuel tariff.
If we break the average dual fuel energy bill down, it comes to around £487 a year for electricity and around £636 a year for natural gas.
These averages do not tell the whole story as your energy price can change depending on the tariff your energy provider has you on. You may well find that you are not with the cheapest supplier at all, especially if your tariff is variable. For example, you could easily find a tariff that is £300 cheaper than that average for the same quoted consumption.
If you go with a different energy provider, your actual gas and electricity supply will remain the same, only the name (and price!) on your bill changes. This also applies to people who do their bit for the environment and have chosen an electricity provider that prioritises renewable sources, since all energy companies draw from the same energy market.
The best way to see how your energy use and bills and meter readings compare to the rest of the UK is to take a close look at your bill. In the next section we take a deep dive into what to look for in your bill.
How much is my energy consumption costing me?
These are the essentials to find out how much energy you are using and how much it is costing you:
Both gas and electricity use is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) and the unit rate is the same thing as the price per gallon of petrol if you own a car. Gas and electricity prices are never the same with gas being much cheaper per unit. However if you have both in your home, you will end up using more gas than electricity because of heating and cooking.
Just keep in mind that the unit rate determines the cost of your usage which is the main part of your bill. Just like when you fill up your car and you try to find the petrol station with the best price per gallon, it’s worth going the extra mile to find a supplier with lower unit rates.
Unlike your car, however, you don’t go out and fill up on electricity or natural gas, it’s delivered to you through the national grid instead. The standing charge is just that, a delivery fee for your energy, like an 'Amazon Prime' subscription that keeps your lights on for one flat daily fee.
While standing charges don’t increase with the number of kWh, they do accumulate daily so you should definitely keep an eye out for them.
Be wary of membership feesSome newer energy suppliers are repackaging traditionally daily standing charges into monthly membership fees. While those are easier to understand for most people, they also tend to be more expensive than the 'unhip' standing charges.
When you are moving home, knowing what to expect in terms of energy cost in the new place can be tough but not impossible. Aside from using the averages above, you can also rely on EPC’s, or Energy Performance Certificates, to see how energy efficient your new home actually is and whether it will perform above or below average in terms of the given estimates.
The other thing you can do is speak with one of our energy experts who estimates usage for countless different homes and are best placed to give you a realistic expectation of what your gas and electricity bills will be.
Tariff Comparison Rate
Using your usage figures or most relevant TDCV (see above), you can use the ‘Tariff Comparison Rate’ (TCR) to estimate more accurately what you are likely to spend with your new tariff. A TCR is a quick and easy way to compare energy prices according to any desired time period. Each tariff should contain one of these figures that are expressed in a price per kWh format, combining standing charge, making it easy for you to compare tariffs with one simple figure. For example:
13213 kWh (annual gas usage) x 4.4 p/kWh (TCR) = £581.37 (estimated yearly cost)
How do we compare to other countries?
Although it is rather difficult for us to compare gas consumption with other parts of the world due to differentiating alternatives, electricity mayorly remains a constant. As such we have been able to compare a number of European and worldwide countries to see how much electricity we consume per average household in comparison. Bear in mind that climates and technological advancement (etc.) can affect a country’s general consumption habits. In the below graphs we are using information provided via the World Energy Council for the year 2014.
Average electricity consumption per household - Europe (2014)
In this graph we can see that there are countries in Europe that are both lower and higher in average consumption than the UK. We could say that in terms of the countries that we have compared here, we are about average, and as we know, our average consumption has dropped to around 3,100 kWh since 2014, which is extremely positive.
Average electricity consumption per household - World (2014)
In relation to to the countries compared in this graph, the UK have a rather low consumption, joining just Argentina and South Africa in the 3,000s. As we can see here the United States consumes around three times as much as we do; however, Saudi Arabia consumes almost twice as much as the United States!
See more information about how the UK compares in terms of European electricity consumption by clicking the link below: