Why compare gas and electric prices?
Paying a fair price for your gas and electricity supply should be as given in the UK but unfortunately it is not. The Big 6 energy companies in Britain have colluded to make sure you never know if you are paying too much.
I'll get into the details further on but to summarise as I know most of you just want to save money on your energy bills. So the reason you need to compare your gas and electricity suppliers prices with other companies is to find out where you can get the best deal.
Using an energy comparison site will help you find the best gas and electricity prices in your region. You don't want to spend ages researching energy suppliers which is why online comparison services offer a quick and free way to compare lots of energy prices at once. Using a comparison site will save you money getting you the best saving quickly. If you delve into the real nitty gritty like I do to research prices and companies for Safe Energy Switch you can save a bit more but the effort for most people outweighs the additional savings.
But I bet you'd rather spend 5 minutes to save a few hundred pounds rather than 2 hours to save a bit more. Comparing is free and easy and there is no obligation, 5 minutes and you can see how much you can really reduce your bills by. So click here to compare now.
Why compare energy prices?
So to answer the question more fully, why compare energy prices? Everyone likes to save money and no-one likes to overpay for something, especially when it is so easy to switch and get it cheaper.
Most of us in the UK are currently overpaying, if they weren't we'd all be on the same energy tariff with the same company. Even after you switch to a better deal and save yourself a few hundred quid, that deal will unlikely be the cheapest a year on so later so it's worth comparing gas and electricity prices once a year.
Staying with the same utility company will ensure you pay more for your gas and electric. Even if you are on a fixed deal when that runs out you will automatically be moved onto your suppliers standard variable tariff. At this point many people fail to switch to a better deal because they think it is too much to change and they don't see the benefits of changing provider.
There is also an element of inertia as the University of Cambridge's Energy Policy Research Group found that 22% of respondents to a survey said they were happy with the level of service, price and reliability of their existing supplier.
The same survey also found that 73% of those surveyed switched gas and electricity because they found a lower price elsewhere.
How much can you save by comparing?
The amount you save will depend on how much you currently spend on your gas and electric bill and how long ago your last comparison and switch was.
You are likely to save considerably more if you haven't switched at all or have been with the same supplier for years. You will also save more if you are a higher energy user. A big family in a 4 bedroom house is likely to spend more on heating than a single person in a 1 bedroom flat.
The average savings claimed by comparison sites range in the £200 to £400 (ish) a year by switching to a cheaper provider.
It is easy to compare prices in a few minutes by using a free online comparison service or if you want to know how it all works take a look at our guide on supplier switching which will give you a few tips on how to compare.
How do I know if the other energy suppliers are any good?
People are starting to realise that staying loyal to their current provider doesn't pay. Around half a million switches on average now occur every month as consumers lock in savings. If however you are worried about switching to a company you may have never heard of then you should take a look at the companies customer feedback.
At Safe Energy Switch we monitor prices and customer feedback and have found that customer favourites are Bulb, Octopus and Avro Energy. Whilst they are not the cheapest on the market they are very competitive compared to the big 6.
It's also worth mentioning suppliers such as Green which has some of the cheapest green energy tariffs having the top 10 cheapest prices for the second half of 2020. They also have a high level of positive customer feedback putting them level with customer favourites Avro, Octopus and Bulb.
Why energy prices are so complicated
OK so you are interested in the nitty gritty, that's great so lets see why it is so difficult to find out how much you should be paying for gas and electricity.
The UK is divided and run by 16 different distribution network operators which are in turn owned by 6 major operators. Each of these operators set the base regional pricing for each region of the UK. The price is based on how much it costs to get the energy to you at your location which is why you need to puppy your postcode if you want to compare and switch suppliers.
Some regions are more expensive than others, East Midlands is one of the cheapest regions and North Scotland one of the most expensive. So if there were two identical households using the same amount of energy annually but were located in different parts of the UK one would still pay more than the other even if they were both on the same tariff from the same company.
So one of the questions I get asked a lot is what is the average bill for a typical household? The answer is it is completely irrelevant as it won't reflect your energy usage patterns, how efficient your insulation or heating system is or where you live in the UK. What people really want to know is if they are paying too much for their gas and electric.
If you are still intrigued then take a quick peek at what the average gas and electricity bill for a 3 bedroom house is.
Every utility company in Britain has a myriad of tariffs, some have thousands whilst others try to keep it simple and just have a few. An energy tariff tells you the price you pay for the gas and electricity you use measured in kWh and how much you are charged each day, the standing charge which covers the cost of supplying the power to your home.
Companies release new tariffs every day and they withdraw old tariffs from the market. You can only switch to a live tariff so good deals can disappear at any time. It is very complicated to calculate which tariff is the cheapest by yourself so the only way to check is to visit each of the providers websites and tap in your details to get a price based on how much you used over the last 2 months.
Switch and you could Win £1,042
Switch with Energy Helpline before February 16th and you could win £1,042.
Clearly that would be very time consuming so consumers only visit a providers website directly on a recommendation or with the offer of some sort of cashback. The Bulb energy referral scheme is a way that Bulb lures in unsuspecting customers. It's a great for a company to acquire new customers cheaply, I'll give you £50 to join us but then charge £100 more on your bill. You might sense I'm not a big fan, neither am I a fan of the Big 6 tactics of pushing up their prices know that there older more vulnerable customers will stay with them and pay the loyalty tax.
The best way to compare gas and electricity
Over the years I have spoken to many people and to be honest most are completely clueless when it comes to getting the best deal. Most people are not interested enough and don't want to put in the time to research prices and suppliers.
The other thing I find is that people are grossly misinformed when it comes to who is the best supplier and which provider will give them the best deal. The reality is most people are not going to read through supplier websites, spend hours regularly analysing prices and comparing tariffs for different customer circumstances.
Undoubtedly the quickest and easiest way to compare gas and electric is to use an energy comparison site. These sites religiously update their price databases on a daily basis, these databases contain all of the kWh rates, standing charges, exit fees and other conditions of all of the UK energy suppliers.
You can freely use these to find out which supplier will offer you the best price based on your energy usage. If you have an unusually low usage or extremely high or you want an exact quote then it's best to have your annual kWh gas and electric usage figures to hand. These can be found on your bill from your current supplier.
If you just want to compare like for like to see which tariffs are currently the cheapest then just do a comparison based on the consumption of the average UK household. That's 2,900 kWh of electricity a year ad 12,000 kWh of gas. We compare these gas and electricity rates every month so if you are interested take a look to see who is usually the cheapest supplier.