In 2020, both the gas and electricity markets will have been open to competition for a huge 30 years. We were the first European country to introduce deregulated energy, and as a result, we have been able to save money on our energy bills for almost three decades. The issue is that many people are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice that we have on the market: who are we meant to choose? That’s where we come in. We’re here to walk you through your options and help you find your ideal energy supplier. On this page you’ll find advice on how to prioritise, how to save money and who our favourite supplier is.
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What Are Your Options?
In the United Kingdom we have what you would call an ‘oligopoly’, a market domination of six companies. These companies are collectively called the ‘Big Six’ and are named as such because they by far have the most customers, profits and overall business throughout the UK market. These companies are EDF Energy, British Gas, Npower, Eon, Scottish Power and SSE and they currently hold a collective market share of around 85%. This has changed quite drastically, however, as the independent suppliers outside of this grouping have begun to rise to popularity. In early 2011, the Big Six had a near 100% complete domination; however, due to the progress of such companies as First Utility, Utility Warehouse, Ovo Energy, Co-operative Energy, who have managed to claw back a 15% portion of the market share, the landscape of the UK energy market is beginning to change considerably. This is improving market conditions for consumers in a number of ways, including:
- Now that more competition exists and people aren’t as afraid to choose independent suppliers, the Big Six are having to be much more competitive with tariff prices.
- The smaller, more intimate structure of the independent energy suppliers has meant that much of the customer service has been considerably higher than that of the Big Six, meaning the larger companies are having to put in a much bigger push towards customer satisfaction.
- Big Six companies can no longer assume that they will always have mountains of custom, meaning they are having to reinvent their untouchable corporate image a little.
If you’d like to learn more about energy suppliers in Great Britain, click the link below.
Green & Low Carbon Electricity
As our world gets smaller in our minds, the population still continues to grow, seeing the global energy demand grow exponentially. As such, renewable energy is become quite the hot topic. Generating energy in a way that allows us to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and cause less damage to the environment is, and should be, at the forefront of all energy consumers’ minds. Most energy suppliers, not just in the UK, now offer part-renewable supply in many of their tariffs; however, some are actually offering tariffs that consist of nothing but 100% renewable electricity.
In the UK, EDF Energy are the largest producers of electricity, accounting for around a fifth of all electricity generated. They are also the largest producers of low carbon electricity in the country. Although their electricity is not 100% renewable, their carbon intensity is extremely low in comparison to the UK average. As you can see in the image below, nuclear is their main generation source, which is often argued to be, and not to be, a renewable energy source, mainly because of its usage of uranium.
The debate on nuclear energy is also becoming quite the hot topic amongst renewable enthusiasts. The facts are that despite uranium deposits being finite, meaning it is not a true renewable source, it’s effects on the environment are extremely less than those of fossil fuel generation.
Those providers who offer 100% renewable electricity supply are those who source from traditional renewable sources: wind; solar; biomass; hydro; and geothermal. A few of these suppliers are Ovo Energy, Co-operative Energy and Bulb, all of which are independents. These tariffs do, however, cost quite a lot more than the average tariff, so if green energy is not your absolute priority but you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint nonetheless, you may want to switch to a company like EDF Energy, who will supply you with low-carbon electricity regardless of the tariff.
Domestic gas from renewable sources is currently extremely hard to come across in the UK; however, the infrastructure does exist. In various countries such as the United States and Canada, methods such as Biomethane are being used to create a more stable and environmentally friendly gas generation mix. Independent British energy supplier ‘Ecotricity’ were the first supplier to offer a part green gas tariff in Great Britain. As it stands, their current gas supply is 5% renewable, which is made from a process using grass. Although this doesn’t sound like much of a percentage, a start has been made that will hopefully allow us to progress with in the future. It’s worth noting that renewable gas is much harder to source than renewable electricity, meaning having this as a starting point is extremely promising. If you’d like to read more about renewable energy click the below link.
It is worth noting from the outset that Economy 7 is only available for your electricity, yet can be used in a dual fuel tariff. Economy 7 is a differential tariff, which means that you will have two separate meters that measure your electricity usage using two different tariff settings. These two tariff settings are usually night and day, the night part being 7 hours, hence the name. This kind of tariff can be extremely beneficial to those people who do not mind using their high output appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines during the night. If you don’t already have an economy 7 meter fitted you will have to give you energy supplier a call to fit your home with a new, second meter. You can find out more by clicking the link below.
Before rushing into the cheapest tariff on the market, you should bear in mind that should you have problem or a query, the customer service abilities of your chosen company is going to be vital. As such, you should definitely put a little thought into the customer service ratings of each company before making a snap decision. You should note, however, that due to the shear customer numbers and corporate structure of the Big Six you will find that ratings will generally be quite a bit lower than the independents. This should not put you off choosing a Big Six company but it may be worth rating them against each other to get a true feel of their abilities and customer satisfaction. The most popular supplier in the UK, for example, is British Gas, with a customer service rating of 4.6/10 on Trustpilot, whereas Scottish Power only scored 0.3/10, which shows that the 4.6 of British Gas or 4.2 of EDF Energy is actually rather good.
Our Recommended Supplier
We all have good and bad experiences with, not just energy suppliers, but with all types of utilities and products. As such, it is pretty hard to find a company that everyone can agree on. What we have to do is go with the companies that have consistently positive reviews and cheap prices as much as possible. For us, this is EDF Energy. This company is not in the Big Six for no reason: not only is it a huge player in the UK energy market, but it is also the largest supplier in France as well. With EDF Energy you are safe in the knowledge that your carbon footprint is being reduced regardless of which energy tariff you choose, which should be something we all think about. To get a quick and simple comparison of EDF Energy tariffs and the rest of the market, give Selectra a call on 01704 325056. If you’d like to get a better idea about what you’re likely to pay before you give us a ring, click here to see averages in each area of the UK.
Send Us Your Bill
Ok, it’s time to start saving some cash. We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen us to help you find the perfect energy deal and we won’t rest until we do! If you don’t want to pick up the phone and give us a call, don’t fret, we offer a service in which you can send us your energy bill for it to be assessed by one of our skilled energy advisors. We’ll make you a personalised tariff comparison and talk you through it, seeing if anything that we have suggested tickles your fancy. If not, we’ll give you a bunch of other tariffs for you to have a look at. Click here to send us your bill or alternatively click the link below to find out a little more about how the switching process works at Selectra.