Comparing energy prices is essential to not overpaying on your energy bills
Thinking about switching your energy? The first thing most consider is how much money they can save. This is easy to find out – simply compare energy prices online and we'll do the hard work for you. But there's more to it than the cheapest energy deals. This guide will help you quickly understand how to run an energy price comparison.
Who's the cheapest gas and electricity supplier on average?
The below table shows the cheapest tariffs currently available based on a medium energy user paying monthly by direct debit, with bill sizes averaged across all regions:
|Premium Energy Saver||£869*||Compare now|
|Fresh Fixed Price Nov 2016||£893*||Compare now|
|SE Fixed Price August 2016||£904||Compare now|
|iSave Fixed December 2016*||£905*||Compare now|
|Clear Fixed Price Nov 2016||£913*||Compare now|
|Rate Saver 12 Month Fixed 1508||£914||Compare now|
|Thames Variable||£914**||Compare now|
*Paperless billing required
**Payments taken in advance
Price figures are based on a medium energy user and averaged across all regions. This table does not include advanced payment plans (tariffs that required payment before energy is used), or energy tariffs available solely through private initiatives such as collective switching schemes
What to consider when comparing energy prices
The above price comparison table gives you some indication as to which suppliers are now offering the cheapest tariffs, but you won't know which is best for you, and how much you'll pay, until you run your own energy price comparison.
Using a price comparison site such as uSwitch, means several factors specific to you, including your consumption and location, will be taken into account to find the best energy plan for you to switch to.
After you have run an online energy price comparison, you may find that you’re presented with a supplier as your cheapest option that you may not have heard of, or know very little about. This is particularly likely if the best electricity deal is offered by a small supplier.
So if price isn’t the only factor involved, what else should you consider before you choose a new energy supplier? You may want to consider:
- Payment options available
- Contract terms (e.g. are there cancellation fees, a tie-in period, is it fixed rate or variable?)
- Reward schemes/other benefits
- Customer service
- Online services
- Transfer process
What is most important to you?
Our research shows that when choosing a new energy supplier, price is the most important factor to most of you.
To find the cheapest supplier for you, simply compare energy prices online with uSwitch. But if you’re not all about the money, then it is important to consider the terms of the contract that the suppliers are offering you.
For example, are they going to charge you exit fees for switching early? Try to avoid signing up to any contracts that seriously restrict your ability to switch later, unless they represent a particularly good deal.
Reward schemes and other similar benefits could have a big sway on your decision, as some suppliers offer incentives such as supermarket reward points, which could represent great value to you. Each of these will be highlighted on our price comparison site.
Customer services can be a real sore spot for some customers. An energy supplier with an effective customer services team can make a massive difference to your experience with them, and may even help to retain you as a customer.
How to find the right energy supplier for you
Once you have compared energy prices online, you can also use our price comparison service to find out what other people think of your new energy supplier.
You’ll find a customer satisfaction score next to each supplier, and if you click on this, you can see what our customers rated the suppliers in each of the areas listed above.
Would a switch affect my energy supply?
No. When you run an energy cost comparison on our price comparison site there is no need to worry about potential energy outages. Should you decide to switch to a new energy provider, the latter will work through the handover with your current supplier.
When you switch energy you are only changing the company charging you for your energy, and the amount billed per kWh. The physical gas and electricity you are using remains exactly the same, so you don’t have to worry about being disconnected.
In short, you can compare energy costs without worrying about any of the issues you might associate with a potential switch.
How easy is it to switch?
Switching energy is often perceived as being far more complicated than it actually is, but using an energy comparison site like our makes things easy for you.
All you need is a recent energy bill and 5 minutes. Just enter your basic energy details onto our site, using your usage details in kWh for the most accurate results, and we’ll show you all the suppliers and tariffs available to you.
Our results table will give you a range of choices, from small suppliers to big suppliers, and from fixed plans to variable and green energy plans.
If you decide you want to switch just pick your plan, enter your details, including your payment details if you want to set up payments by Direct Debit, and sit back.
We handle the switch for you, sending your details through to your new supplier and sending your switch request to your old supplier.
The only thing you have to do is provide a final meter reading to your old supplier to close the account and receive and accurate final bill. Then you can just sit back and enjoy a cheaper, and better value, energy supply.
Read the Transcript
How do we do our calculations?
Maybe you're wondering how we calculate the cheapest energy plan for you, or perhaps you're just looking for reassurance that we've got our numbers right? I'm here to show you how we do our calculations, and show you you can have trust in our results.
Our data base contains up-to-date information on all the unit rates for all the plans in the energy market, which means we can understand your current energy profile, and see if there are any savings you could make by switching to another energy plan.
What we need to carry out a comparison
To carry out an accurate comparison we need a few pieces of information from you; your postcode, the name of your current energy supplier, and your current plan. That way we can tell you current unit rates and whether you're getting any discounts off your bill.
Next we need know how much gas and electricity you've used over the past twelve months. If you don't know this don't worry, as we can work it out from your monthly Direct Debit payments, or from how much you spent on your last bill.
If you don't have your bill handy we can estimate your annual consumption by asking you a few questions about your home and lifestyle.
Now we know how many kWh you're using. Assuming this stays the same we can work out your bill size for all available plans in the market, taking into account any standing charges or discounts that may apply. There's no rounding up or averaging out, we give you a quote based on the current profile you've given us.
How we work out how much your annual bill will be
So let's look at your gas usage first. For example, if you're using 20, 500 kilowatts, at 2.516p per kWh you pay £515.78 per year. We then add on your annual standing charge to give you a total gas bill of £650.18.
So next your electricity. If you're using 3,300 kilowatts at a unit rate of 7.655p per kWh gives a total of £252.62. We then add on a standing charge of £73.50 to give a total of £360.12.
So now we add together the gas and electricity part of your bill. Energy suppliers might give you a discount for taking a dual-fuel plan or paying by certain methods, so let's apply a dual-fuel discount of £25, and a Direct Debit discount of £21, to give a total bill size of £901.30.
We include VAT in all the unit rates and total bill sizes you see on our site, but it's important to remember that when looking at your total energy bill that the supplier may not include VAT in the rates you see as they add this on at the end instead.
So now we have the annual bill sizes for all the available plans in the market we can present you with the results table, and show you how much savings you could make compared to the plan you're on.
We earn a small amount of commission every time you switch through us, but this plays absolutely no part in the results you see, and has no effect on where a plan will be shown.
We're accredited by Consumer Focus, which means you can guarantee our energy results will be impartial and accurate, and you won't find cheaper deals on any other price comparison website.