Why are energy bills so high?
After the energy market crisis saw wholesale gas prices soar, suppliers began passing those costs onto customers. However, the energy price cap prevented them from raising prices past a certain point.
The increase in wholesale energy prices also led to some suppliers going bust and their customers being moved to other providers – potentially on a more expensive tariff than they were previously paying.
In April, the energy price cap increased by £693. Around 22 million customers are impacted by the change. Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will typically see an increase of over 50% on their bills. And energy regulator Ofgem has predicted that energy bills could rise even further in October with a new price cap “in the range of £2,800”. Ofgem boss Jonathan Brearley told parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the price rises were a "once in a generation event not seen since the oil crisis in the 1970s".
The cap, set by Ofgem puts a limit on how much energy companies can charge customers per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity and gas. It applies to customers on their supplier’s default tariff.
Suppliers previously offered cheaper fixed tariffs. But the crisis in the energy market means there are few good deals to take advantage of and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a fixed deal that’s cheaper than the current capped standard rate. So while you might think it’s a good idea to compare energy deals and switch, it’s probably better to hold off for now. However, we’re monitoring the market and hope to help support your financial decision making soon.
What can I do to save money on energy?
We’ve put together some tips on how to keep costs down and help you save money in the current market.
Can I compare gas and electricity?
The current situation is that there are few, if any, deals that are cheaper than the energy price cap so switching is unlikely to save you money at the moment. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Energy Saving Trust are advising that it’s probably best to stay with your current provider too. For this reason, you can’t currently compare domestic energy with us. Once this situation changes, we’ll be here to help you find cheap energy deals again.
You can also get energy saving advice and information on government home-energy grants from:
What our expert says...
"Soaring energy costs are making life extremely difficult for many households. It’s important to be aware that if you’re really struggling you need to seek help. Don’t hesitate to contact your energy supplier to see if you’re eligible to for help with your energy bills and also check your eligibility for benefits than can help with the bills."
Sofia Hutson, from the Energy team at Compare the Market
But you can still compare business energy with us. Simply answer a few questions and our trusted partner, business energy experts Bionic, will do all the legwork, including arranging the switch for you.Compare business energy
Don’t just take our word for it, join thousands of other happy savers who Compare the Market.
As of July 2022, Compare The Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 19,377 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’. Find out more
What support is available if I’m struggling with my energy bills?
All energy suppliers must have plans in place to help customers who can’t afford to pay their bills. If you’re having difficulties, contact your energy supplier as soon as possible.
See our guide on what to do if you can’t afford your energy bills.
The government has also announced a package of support measures to help households with rising energy bills.
- A one-off £400 payment from October for all households with a domestic electricity connection to help with energy bills that doesn’t need to be paid back
- A one-off £650 cost of living payment for 8 million of the most vulnerable households across the UK, made in two instalments
- An extra £300 payment for pensioners on top of the Winter Fuel Payment
- A £500 million increase and extension of the Household Support Fund
Why switch gas and electricity providers?
There are several reasons to compare energy and consider switching your supplier:
Getting a better deal
Although you’re unlikely to save by switching at the moment, under normal circumstances comparing energy suppliers each year can potentially save you hundreds on the cost of your gas and electricity. Compare the Market is constantly monitoring the energy market and we hope to help with your financial decision making again soon.
You may be unhappy with the service provided by your supplier.
You might want a supplier that uses more renewable energy.
Whatever your reason, only Compare the Market customers get rewarded for switching by getting a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*.
Can I save money by switching energy suppliers?
Regularly switching your energy supplier was a great way to save on your monthly bills. But the energy market is highly volatile at the moment so it may not a good idea to switch right now. Compare the market will help you compare energy again as soon as we can.
Gas and electricity, or renewable energy?
You can easily consider what’s important to you, and the pros and cons of the available options.
Some people like the ease of getting gas and electricity from one supplier, especially as this can often be the cheapest option. Your priority may be simply to opt for the most cost-effective deal you can get or perhaps the longest fixed-price deal for more certainty – even if that means separate suppliers of gas and electricity, and dealing with two separate bills.
For an increasing number of people, the impact of climate change is becoming clearer and preventing it is more of a priority. If your energy search is driven by finding greener solutions to reduce your carbon footprint, you can look at providers who specialise in wind, solar or other renewable sources to offset their carbon usage. It’s harder to find green gas as the UK doesn’t yet produce enough, and renewable energy isn’t always the cheapest option. But prices become more competitive as the market grows.
About Compare the Market
We know comparing insurance and utilities isn’t much fun. So at Compare the Market it’s all about keeping it simple. We do all the legwork to help you find the right product for you at the right price. And you can trust us to be impartial – we make money when you switch or take out a new product, so it’s in our interests to help you make the right choice. Comparing with us is about the enjoyable stuff too – we love to reward you with Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies when you take out selected products with us.*
Good things happen when you Meerkat
Search for the right insurance for you, at the right price, with our comparison service. Plus, we could help you save on broadband, mobile phones, credit cards, mortgages, loans and more.
- See if you can save time and money when you use our helpful tools
- Feel organised when you manage all of your quotes in one place
- Get rewarded with Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies when you compare and take out qualifying products*
Helping you is the heart of our business
We make money when we’ve helped you switch or take out a new deal. When you’ve found your new supplier or provider through us, we get a fee or commission from them. The amount we receive doesn’t change the price you pay.
Impartial results from top providers
So you can see our cheapest deals, we order our results from the lowest to highest with no bias towards providers. We work with many of the UK's top providers to find you great deals.
Find out more on our About us page.
Got a question? Contact us
Frequently asked questions
How often do energy prices change?
Energy prices change all the time. They reflect market supply and demand, and fluctuate as a result. They're also affected when wholesale costs change.
If you want to know what your unit rates are going to be for a set period of time, you can choose a fixed rate tariff from your energy suppliers.
The energy price cap, which sets a limit on the maximum unit price for energy, changes every six months. However, Ofgem has put forward plans to update the price cap every three months after the change due in October 2022.
What information do I need to switch energy supplier?
Under normal circumstances, it’s easy to compare with us. To give you an accurate quote, we’ll need to know:
- The name of your current supplier and tariff name
- How much energy you use (in kWh or pounds)
You should find this on a recent bill. If you can’t find the information you need, we can still give you a quote based on estimated usage. Read our guide to understanding your energy bill.
Will my gas and electricity be interrupted if I switch?
No, your gas and electricity supply will carry on as normal when you switch energy suppliers. The only thing that changes is where your bills come from.
What is the difference between fixed and variable-rate tariffs?
Is it easier to switch gas and electricity together?
Switching dual fuel or switching one energy type on its own are both simple when you use Compare the Market. The only potential complication would be if you are on a fixed-term contract, which hasn’t yet expired, as you may have to pay an exit penalty.
When switching is possible again, it will help if you have both your latest gas and electricity bill to hand, because the answers to the questions we’ll ask you will be there. If you don’t have a bill, then don’t worry, we’ll be able to run a search based on estimations.
Can I switch energy supplier if I owe money?
If you have bills that are more than 28 days old, you might find that you can’t change supplier until you’ve paid them. But there are some exceptions to the 28 days. For example, if you’re on a prepayment meter and you have debts of up to £500 on gas and £500 on electricity. The supplier you switch to will take on the debt and you will repay them instead.
I'm moving home. How can I switch gas and electricity?
If you’re moving and your existing deal is a good one, it can be carried over to your new home – just tell your supplier the new address and the move-in date.
On moving day, take a meter reading before you leave and give this to your supplier – that way you can be sure your final bill will only reflect what you’ve used.
Be sure to also take a meter reading at your new home so you won’t be paying for energy used by the previous owner.
Can I switch energy provider if I rent?
Tenants can switch energy providers if they pay the supplier directly for their gas and electricity.
If your landlord pays your energy bills, then charges you, choosing the supplier is up to them, although you can always ask them to change to get cheaper gas and electricity.
Can I get a smart meter if I switch gas and electricity?
It depends on what stage your gas and electricity supplier is in their smart meter programme. The rollout is being managed by individual energy companies. You can ask your current supplier for a smart meter and they will let you know if it is possible to get one and when. Make sure any tariff you are switching to is right for you – and in the past there have been some beneficial tariffs for smart meter users.
See more about how smart meters work in our guide to smart meters.
How can I find a green energy supplier?
When you can compare with us again, you will be able to choose to see tariffs for 100% renewable electricity.
See more on renewable energy.
Can I still apply for a feed-in-tariff?
No, feed-in-tariffs (FITs) are no longer available and have been replaced by the Government’s Smart Export Guarantee.
What is the Smart Export Guarantee?
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) replaced the feed in tariff (FIT). Like the FIT, it pays you for electricity you generate from renewable sources (like wind and solar) that you don’t use. But unlike the FIT, the energy company you supply to decides the prices, rather than Ofgem – so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal. The company you supply to doesn’t have to be the same one that supplies your energy.
Where do the energy price comparison figures come from?
When you are able to compare with us again, we’ll show you a list of tariffs with potential savings. These are based on Ofgem’s personal projection calculation, which predicts what your energy costs would be for the next year if you stayed with your current provider and tariff. It enables you to compare what you’re paying now with other providers, so you can make an informed choice.
How do personal projections work with fixed tariff plans?
A personal projection estimates what you might pay over the next 12 months, based on your past energy consumption. If you’re coming to the end of a fixed-tariff deal it will take into account the change in price if you move onto the supplier’s variable tariff, so your estimated personal projection might be higher.
How do energy comparison sites make money?
Each time someone switches their gas or electricity tariff through a comparison site, the site gets paid by the new supplier – you don't need to pay anything to the comparison site for your switch.
Find out more about how we get paid by energy suppliers.