Keeping on top of who is the cheapest UK energy supplier can be a time-consuming task. With all the various providers having slightly different offers and tariffs, comparing them to find the best energy deals can be unnecessarily complex.
Switching energy suppliers used to be difficult, however since the introduction of the energy switch guarantee in 2016, it’s made the process much more simple and easy for customers. In 2019, 6.4 million people switched energy provider which was a new record for how many people switched in a year, and this number continues to grow.
People often make the switch to move to a cheaper provider as an easy way to save money off their household bills. Throughout this post, I’m going to run through and compare the cheapest energy suppliers so you can join the millions of people that are saving money every day.
Why Compare Gas and Electric Suppliers?
Ofgem, the energy regulator, found that it can save you a significant amount of money by shopping around for your energy. They’ve highlight that customers regularly save over £300 per year, which isn’t bad for a few minutes work.
If you’ve never switched providers or compared tariffs before then you’re likely to be overpaying for your energy. The great news is that you’re very close to some mammoth savings. This can still be the case if you’ve switched before as there are a number of new providers that have grown rapidly over the past few years due to their excellent customer service and super low prices.
One of the easiest ways to compare energy prices is to use a price comparison tool and let them do the heavy lifting. Uswitch is the leading UK energy comparison site and their data shows people save an average of £387 per year, to get started, go to Uswitch here and start saving money today.
What Information Do I Need to Compare the Cheapest Energy Providers?
All you’ll need a recent energy bill so you can see what you’re currently paying for your energy and your postcode, the comparison tool will do the rest.
You can still compare your energy without your bill, although it does help as you’ll be able to see exactly how much you’re going to save and may help you choose if you are looking for other things as well as price, such as wanting the company to offer 100% green energy.
How long does it take to compare and switch energy?
The excellent thing about these comparison tools is that they can give you an answer in minutes, saving you hours of trawling through countless tariffs and providers.
For the switch itself, you’ll be switched over to your new provider in 17 days and if you go through Uswitch you’ll also be backed by the 14-day Uswitch guarantee. This gives you a 14-day cooling-off period where you can cancel if you change your mind.
Which Energy Supplier is the Cheapest?
As more energy companies enter the market, finding which energy supplier is cheapest for you can be difficult. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Big Six energy companies listed below.
- EDF Energy
- Centrica Plc (British Gas, Scottish Gas and Nwy Prydain)
- Scottish and Southern Energy
As you can probably guess, these are the largest six companies in the energy market. However, all this buying power doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest price, often quite the reverse.
Many new companies have been established in recent years who use these companies average collective price as a benchmark to beat, and many do. Some of them beat them so well in fact that they’ve exponentially grown due to their low prices and excellent customer service.
For example, Octopus Energy now serves energy to over 1.4 million homes and have created some new innovative tariffs that can save some customers a significant amount of money. If you want to know more, read the Octopus Energy review here, or go directly to Octopus Energy and get a quote, they’re currently offering a £50 free switching bonus so don’t miss out.
Octopus Energy is also featured in many of the popular comparison tools, and is definitely included in the Uswitch comparison tool. Although if you want to know what else to look out for when searching for the best energy deal, keep reading.
Fixed vs Variable Energy Tariff – Which is Better?
With a fixed energy tariff, the unit price for your gas and electricity doesn’t change for a set period of time, which is usually 12 or 24 months. On a variable tariff, the rate you are paying for your gas and electricity can change. However, most providers will give you at least 30 days notice if there are any changes, giving you the ability to switch providers if necessary.
So which tariff should you choose?
In my opinion, it all depends how much time you want to put towards managing your gas and electricity bill. If you are happy to keep looking at your gas and electric price every month or two, and switch again if you see any price increases, then a variable tariff may be the best option.
This will allow you to always be on the cheapest rates and continuously take advantage of the many new customer deals that are regularly being released.
However, if you’re just wanting to set it and forget it, which for the vast majority of people is exactly what they want to do, then getting a longer-term fixed contract will give peace of mind knowing you’ve locked in a low price for the foreseeable future. Just remember to set a reminder to review your energy at the end of the contract.
Fixed Energy Tariff Advantages
- Fixed price – protects you from price increases.
- Easy to budget – no major changes mid-contract.
- More choice – if you’re open to both fixed and variable tariffs, you have more options to choose from giving you the potential to secure a deal that’s more aligned to your needs.
Fixed Energy Tariff Disadvantages
- Exit fees – these are almost always added to fixed tariffs as the providers buy the energy upfront in order to lock in your low prices, so if you are going to leave in the near future, a variable tariff may be best.
- Potential to lose out on savings – if the wholesale market for energy drops for whatever reason, you won’t automatically benefit from the lower prices.
- Not a fixed charge – your actual charge will still vary depending on usage.
Variable Energy Tariff Advantages
- Flexibility – as there’s no long term contract, you’re free to switch away with zero penalty.
- Price reductions – if the wholesale price for energy reduces, you will see the benefit of a lower unit charge.
- Transfer from Fixed to Variable – at the end of your fixed tariff you will usually be rolled onto variable tariff, often called a standard tariff (SVT) where you will then gain all the variable tariff benefits.
Variable Energy Tariff Disadvantages
- Hard to budget – as the price has the ability to change with 30 days notice, it makes it difficult to do a long term budget.
- Price increases – if the wholesale price for energy increases, these will often be passed on to you.
Auto-switching Energy Service – Best of Both?
For those people that are continuously wanting to stay on the lowest rates but spend as little time as possible managing their gas and electric contracts, this could be the perfect solution.
Over the past few years, a number of auto-switching energy providers have entered the market where they manage everything for free. This means you sign up with them once
Sound too good to be true? I’ve done a review of one of the top providers detailing exactly how it works. If you’re interested, read the Look After My Bills Review here or go straight to the Look After My Bills website here and get a quote in 30 seconds.
There’s currently no on size fits all answer to the question “which energy supplier is the cheapest?”. This is because so much of the answer relates to personal circumstances, so what will be the cheapest for you may not be the cheapest for someone else that has a different level of energy consumption.
Fortunately, price comparison tools can do all the heavy lifting by continuously scanning the energy market for all the deals, so you can choose which one is right for you in a few seconds. To get started, go to the Uswitch energy comparison tool here.