Energy comparison

Comparing gas and electricity prices can help you save money on bills

Keep energy costs down and save money on gas and electricity bills. For the best deals and lowest energy prices, here’s what to think about before you make the big switch.

Why should I switch gas and electricity?

Switching to a new energy supplier can help you save money on gas and electricity. 

But saving money isn’t the only reason for switching. If you’re not completely happy with the level of customer service you’re getting, it’s a good opportunity to find a supplier that can give you the care you expect. Not only that, if you’re worried about the impact of energy use on the environment, switching to a green energy deal can help you do your bit for the planet. 

How long does it take to compare and switch energy?

Comparing energy companies and switching providers takes just a few minutes. We’ll ask you a few questions to find out what you need and take it from there - it’s simple, quick and free. 

How much can I save by switching energy suppliers?

What you save will depend on the energy deal you’re currently on and what you switch to. Either way, it could help you make significant savings on household bills. In fact, according to energy regulator Ofgem, it could cut your energy costs by nearly £200

Which is the cheapest electricity and gas supplier in the UK?

Energy suppliers set their own prices so they can vary according to what deals are on offer. To make sure you’re getting value for money, you’ll need to compare:

  • The unit cost of energy - energy suppliers will charge you for every unit of gas and electricity you use, which is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). The average cost of electricity is currently 14.4p per kWh while gas is 3.8p per kWh.
  • Standing charge - this is usually a fixed amount that covers the cost of supplying your home with energy. The average standing charge in the UK is currently 21p per day. 

What are the different types of energy tariff?

An energy tariff is just another name for an energy plan which sets out the amount you pay for your gas or electricity, and how you pay for it (for example, every quarter or by direct debit). 

Typical tariffs include:

  • Fixed rate tariff - the price you pay for energy is fixed for an agreed length of time. These tariffs can help you budget because as long as your energy use is consistent, your bills will be relatively predictable. But remember - a fixed rate tariff only sets the unit price of energy, your bills can still go up or down depending on how much you actually use.  
  • Variable rate tariff - the price you pay for your gas and electricity can go up or down depending on the wholesale cost of energy. It means you’ll benefit if prices fall but you’ll also end up paying more if they rise. 
  • Dual fuel tariff - this is when you buy gas and electricity from the same supplier. These tariffs often provide good value for money as many energy suppliers will give you a discounted rate for buying both.
  • Green tariff - these tariffs focus on using energy from renewable sources, for instance wind or solar energy. Some energy suppliers are committed to using only renewable energy while others will use a percentage. In some cases, if a supplier can’t use renewables, they’ll donate money to environmental projects instead.  
  • Economy tariffs - with economy tariffs, you pay a different rate for your energy according to the time of day, usually this means lower rates at night. There are two types of economy tariff - Economy 7 which will give you seven hours of cheap energy, and Economy 10 which gives you ten hours of low cost gas and electricity. If you have an economy meter, your current energy bill will show two different prices. 
  • Prepayment tariff - this is like a pay-as-you-go plan where you pay for your energy upfront. To do this, you’ll usually need to load a token or key with credit and feed it into your meter, but some suppliers now use handy apps so you can top up your energy without leaving the house.

What is a standard variable rate tariff (SVT)?

An SVT is a type of variable tariff also known as a supplier’s default tariff. SVTs are often the most expensive type of energy plan to be on and prices can fluctuate according to the market. However, to keep costs affordable, the energy regulator Ofgem, sets an energy price cap on default variable tariffs, which limits what suppliers can charge per kWh.

It’s easy to find yourself on a standard variable tariff without even realising. For example, if your fixed rate tariff comes to an end and you haven’t switched to another plan, you’ll automatically roll over to your current supplier’s SVT. 

Similarly, if you move home and haven’t agreed a new contract, you could find yourself on an SVT and paying more than you need to for your energy. 

Although standard variable tariffs are pricy, they’re flexible and won’t tie you into a contract so there are no exit fees and you can switch provider at any time. 

What’s the right energy tariff for me?

The best energy tariff for you will really depend on your needs and your budget. So while fixed rate tariffs are good for strict budgets, a variable tariff offers greater flexibility - as long as you can afford potential price increases. 

In some situations, you may not have much of a choice when it comes to tariff, particularly if you have an Economy 7 or 10 meter installed. However, if you can use timers to set your washing machine or dishwasher, economy meters could also help you save money as you can use energy when it’s cheapest. 

Prepayment meters are typically the most expensive tariff to be on. They’re typically installed if households have had problems paying bills in the past. If you move into a home with a prepayment meter, you can ask to have it changed but it’ll be at the energy supplier’s discretion. 

Is it complicated to switch gas and electricity together?

Switching gas and electricity is easy, whether you switch one or both at the same time. In the majority of cases, you won’t need to do anything after you’ve made the decision to switch - just sit back and wait for lower bills. 

How does switching energy suppliers work?

Nearly all energy suppliers have agreed to the Energy Switch Guarantee, which promises to make switching as simple and stress free as possible. 

The guarantee means that after you’ve compared energy tariffs and spoken to your chosen provider, the entire switch will be managed between your current and new supplier. The only thing you’ll be expected to do is settle any outstanding bills.

Under the terms of the Energy Switch Guarantee, the process should take no more than 21 days but the average is 17 days. Some handovers happen in as little as two weeks. 

Can I switch energy supplier if I’m in debt?

Generally speaking, if you’ve been in debt for 28 days or less, switching shouldn’t be a problem. Your supplier will simply send you a bill for what you owe.

If you’ve been in debt for more than 28 days, your supplier could refuse the switch until you’ve settled your bills.  

If you’ve got a prepayment meter, and you owe more than £500 you might not be allowed to switch. Instead, you’ll need to speak to your energy supplier and discuss a way to either settle or transfer your debt to the new provider. 

Will my gas and electricity be interrupted if I switch?

Switching to a new supplier is seamless. You’ll be told when the switch will be made but you won’t notice any changes to your gas or electricity supply on the day it happens. 

Can I change my mind about switching suppliers?

Yes, by law you have a 14 day cooling off period so it’s OK to change your mind. Just let your new supplier know and they’ll stop the switch from happening. 

Which energy suppliers are the best?

Energy suppliers all have different qualities so the best provider for you will be one that meets your needs and expectations. Some of the most well known suppliers include the ‘big six’ which are:

  • British Gas
  • EDF Energy
  • E.ON
  • Npower
  • Scottish Power
  • SSE

Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s well worth comparing a wide range of suppliers and not just the biggest ones, especially if you’re particularly keen on green energy

Some smaller suppliers such as Green Energy UK, Bulb and Octopus Energy are highly rated for their commitment to renewables. All three providers offer 100% renewable electricity and offset their carbon use. Green Energy UK also offers 100% green gas too.

What to consider when comparing energy suppliers

If you’ve been with the same energy supplier for as long as you can remember, you’re in the right place to switch - comparing takes just a few minutes. Plus, the good news is that the switching process has been designed with consumers in mind. So, to ensure you get the best energy deal for your needs, just think about: 

  • Tariff - weigh up the pros and cons of each tariff but bear in mind any limitations, for instance if you’ve got an Economy 7 or prepayment meter
  • Standing charge - it’s not just the tariff and cost per kWh you need to think about. Deals that offer very low costs per kWh may have high standing charges which could inflate bills. 
  • Exit fees - you can switch energy supplier at any point but if you’re on a fixed rate tariff and want to leave your contract early, there could be exit fees. If there are, check how much they’ll set you back and work out whether it’s still worth switching early or if you’d be better off waiting until your contract ends. 
  • Fuel mix - this shows where the energy you use comes from as a percentage, for example whether it comes from renewables, fossil fuels or both. If you’re concerned about where your energy comes from, it’s a good idea to check the fuel mix which can be found on any supplier’s website. 

Can I get a smart meter if I switch gas and electricity?

Smart meters measure the energy you use which can help you keep an eye on costs as well as encourage energy efficiency. The government wants every household and business in EnglandWales and Scotland to be offered a smart meter by 2025 but it’s down to energy suppliers to manage the roll out. 

One of the main benefits you get with a smart meter is that it will automatically send meter readings to your energy supplier. It means your bills will reflect what you’ve actually used instead of being based on estimates. 

If you don’t currently have a smart meter, or you’re not sure if you have one, check with your energy supplier

If it turns out you don’t have a smart meter (or need a new one), your new supplier should provide you with one if they’re able to.

Can I still switch if I have a smart meter?

Yes, you can still switch even if you already have a smart meter but if it’s an older one it might not be compatible with your new supplier. If that’s the case, they should be able to send you a new one but you might need to take your own meter readings until then. 

Can I switch energy provider if I rent?

If you’re a tenant and you’re responsible for paying your energy bills, you can switch supplier. Be aware that you may need to switch back to the original provider when your lease ends but your tenancy contract should set this out. 

If your landlord pays for your gas and electricity and then charges you for it, you can ask them to switch supplier, but it’s their decision and they could refuse. 

Can I switch gas and electricity if I move house?

Yes, if you move house you can switch supplier but you might be asked to pay an exit fee if your contract’s still active. If you don’t want to pay the exit fee, you can always carry your existing tariff over to your new home - just let your energy supplier know and give them the date you’ll be moving.

If you decide to end your energy contract, take a note of your meter reading so you only pay for the energy you use. You should also do the same when you get to your new home. 

Although you’ll have a lot to do when you move in, choosing an energy tariff should be a priority. If not, you could find yourself on the existing supplier’s expensive default tariff

What information do I need to switch energy supplier?

Whenever you use an energy comparison service, you’ll be asked a few questions - this will help ensure the quotes you see, suit you. 

Details you’ll need to provide include the name of your current supplier, the tariff you’re on and your energy usage. Luckily, all this information will be on your most recent energy bill so having it to hand can save you time and provide you with a more accurate quote

Compare energy and start saving

If you’re ready to save money on your gas and electricity, you can start an energy comparison right here.