Electricity

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It's time to compare electricity 

Shopping around for a cheaper electricity deal is simpler than you may think and it begins with a quick price comparison. Let us help you compare electricity suppliers so you can find a deal that’s right for you and your home.

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about comparing electricity deals.

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How to compare electricity with Compare the Market 

To compare electricity plans, you just need to input a few of your details to get started. With your postcode and, ideally, using a copy of your existing bill, you can begin finding and comparing deals tailored to your needs. If you don’t have a bill with you, we can still help you get a quote if you let us know your estimated usage, or how much you’re currently paying for your energy. 

Then simply tell us whether your home is heated with electricity or gas and if you’re interested in fixed, variable or all types of tariff. Along with an estimated usage, we can compare electricity plans across a range of suppliers to help you find the right tariff to suit your needs.

Find cheaper electricity tariffs and complete the process online or through our specialist energy advisors, and we’ll do the rest. 

What information do I need to compare electricity suppliers? 

All the information you need to compare prices and switch electricity suppliers can be found on your last bill or in your online account. This includes:  

  • who your current electricity provider is 
  • the name of the tariff you’re on 
  • how you want to pay for your electricity 
  • your usage (per month or year/ in pounds or kWh) 
  • the date your existing tariff(s) will expire 

Use our  guide to understanding your energy bill  to find this information. If you don’t have a bill handy, you can still do a comparison based on your answers to our questions, to give you an idea of what’s available.

What do I have to do when I switch electricity supplier? 

The great thing about switching electricity suppliers is that almost all the work is done for you. The hardest part is making the decision to switch in the first place. Once you’ve decided, we can help you compare cheaper electricity deals and find a tariff that’s right for you. 

You’ll be pleased to know that, once you’ve made your decision, your new electricity supplier will handle almost everything. They’ll tell your existing supplier you’re leaving and then work out the day of the changeover with them. 

You’ll receive all your correspondence via email or in the post, confirming your new tariff and payment details. You just need to make sure it’s all correct. You also get a 14-day cooling off period, so if you change your mind in that time, it’s no problem.

On the day of the switch, you’ll need to take a meter reading for your old supplier, so they can send you a final bill.

What our expert says...

“The rise in energy costs has come at a time when many households are struggling with their finances, so it’s more important than ever to save money on electricity if you can. When you sign up for alerts with Compare the Market, we can let you know as soon as a better deal becomes available.”

- Sofia Hutson, from the Energy team

What are the different types of electricity tariff?

Variable 

This is the energy supplier’s default tariff and it’s likely to be their most expensive. The amount you pay for your electricity can fluctuate with a variable tariff. If the market price falls, you’ll pay less, but if it goes up, then so will your bills.  At the end of a fixed tariff, you’ll be moved on to the variable tariff if you don’t organise a new fix or switch.  

Pros: You’re not tied into a contract 

Cons: Expensive 

Fixed 

With a fixed rate tariff, the price you pay for each unit of electricity is fixed for a set period of time. This can help with budgeting if you always use about the same amount of power. Compared with a variable rate, this can save you money if prices go up during the term of the fix, but if they go down you could miss out on possible savings.

Pros: If prices go up, you’re protected 

Cons: There may be penalties if you want to switch during the fix 

Dual fuel 

Getting your gas and electricity from the same supplier is known as a dual fuel tariff. These can be cheaper than getting them from separate suppliers, but shop around to be sure.  

Pros: Can be cheaper than single suppliers 

Cons: If service is poor, then it’s a problem for both types of power 

Economy 7/Economy 10 

These tariffs give you cheaper energy at off-peak times. Economy 7’s cheaper times are midnight to 7am, which might benefit you if you have storage heaters. Economy 10 off-peak hours are spread throughout the day.  

Pros: Good for night owls, shift workers and those with storage heaters 

Cons: You may have to switch the time you use appliances to make it economical 

Green 

Depending on the green tariff you choose, renewable energy is used wholly or in part to power your home, or given to the National Grid based on the energy you use.  

Pros: Helps reduce your carbon footprint 

Cons: Green tariffs can be more expensive 

Prepayment 

Prepayment tariffs require you to pay for the electricity you use as you use it. You’ll be given a prepayment meter and a card, key or tokens to top it up.  

Pros: You pay for what you use in advance so you can’t end up with a big bill 

Cons: Usually more expensive and you can run out of power

Average electricity usage by house type

The type and size of property you live in will make a big difference to how much electricity you use. The table shows the latest government figures.

Electricity consumption by property type 2019

 

Property type

Average usage (kWh)
England & Wales

Average usage (kWh)
Scotland

All types of home

3600

3,700

Houses

3,800

4,100

Detached house

4,700

4,800

Semi detached

3,700

3,800

End terraced

3,500

All terraced
3,600

Mid terraced

3,300

Bungalow

3,500

N/A

Flats

3,200

3,000

Converted flat

3,500

N/A

Purpose-built flat

3,100

N/A


You’ll find more data on household energy consumption in the government’s national statistics.

Electricity use by appliance type

Appliances can vary wildly in their energy consumption – not only will the amount of power used by a kettle differ from that of an electric oven, but it will also vary between models. And some manufacturers make their goods far more energy efficient than others.  

Generally speaking, appliances that heat things up or cool them down, like fridge-freezers and ovens, cost more to run compared with a hoover, for example. 

So how much do appliances typically cost to run a year? A government-commissioned report, Powering the Nation, looked at this in 2021 and found the following.  

 

Appliance

Annual kWh usage

Running cost per year (£)

Refrigerator

162

23.50

Fridge-freezer

427

62

Oven (without hob)

290

42

Hob

226

33

Cooker with electric top

317

46

Microwave

56

8

Electric kettle

167

24

Iron

31

4.50

Vacuum cleaner

18

2.60

How to cut your electricity bill 

There are some simple things you can do to cut your electricity bills down to size. 

Know how much you use 

Smart meters come with an in-home display, so you can see how much electricity you’re using in real time, identify energy-hungry appliances and get ideas for where to cut back. 

Swap to energy-saving lightbulbs 

Swapping your halogen lights for LEDs can save pounds on your bills. Just replacing a single bulb for a more energy efficient one could save you up to £5 a year. And, of course, turning off the lights when you’re not in the room can also help. 

Choose energy-efficient appliances 

When buying a new washing machine, fridge or other appliance, look for the energy label rating. A is the most energy efficient, while G is the least. New labels were introduced in March 2021 and there are no longer any A+, A++ or A+++ categories, with the scale being updated to reflect current levels of energy efficiency.

When comparing new appliances, you should look at the estimated energy use as well as the energy rating (A-G). This is because bigger appliances tend to use more energy than smaller ones, even if they have the same rating. When comparing products of different sizes, check the kilowatt per hour (kWh) rating – the higher the kWh, the more it will cost to run.

Use the eco cycle 

Using the eco cycle on your dishwasher and washing machine may mean washing takes a little longer, but it’ll save water as well as electricity. Make sure your dishwasher is fully loaded too. 

Use a laptop 

You may have seen your electricity bills shoot up if you’ve worked from home because of the pandemic. Using a laptop for your work, rather than a desktop, is a lot more energy efficient. 

Don’t leave things on standby

Leaving appliances on standby can add up to around £50-£86 a year, which could be a big chunk of an average bill of around £530. So switch things off completely where possible.

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 help you find the right product at the right price. And you can trust us to be impartial – we only 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

Why should I switch electricity?

Switching to a cheaper electricity supplier could shave pounds off your bills.  But it’s not always about how much hard cash you could save. You might be fed up with poor customer service, or you might want greater visibility of your usage through an app. Or you might want to choose your electricity supplier based on their green credentials, and whether they supply a smart meter.

What is a dual fuel tariff and do I need one?

Dual fuel is where one energy provider supplies both your gas and your electricity.

Getting gas and electricity from one supplier could save you money, and it’s usually more convenient to be billed by one provider, rather than two. It means less paperwork and if there’s a problem, you only need to contact one supplier. Find out more in our Dual fuel energy guide.

Am I eligible for Warm Home Discount?

This usually depends on your income and whether you receive a certain type of Pension Credit. Your supplier needs to be part of the discount scheme and your name (or that of your partner’s) needs to be on the bill.

Find out more about the scheme and how it works in our  guide to the Warm Home Discount.

I’m a tenant. Can I switch electricity supplier?

Tenants can switch electricity suppliers if they pay their energy bills and are named on the account.  One exception is tenants whose landlords pay their bills for them. If you have all-inclusive bills with your tenancy agreement, or your landlord re-bills you for your energy use, they choose the electricity supplier. You can ask them to change it, but they’re not under any obligation to. 

If your landlord has a preferred electricity supplier, you have the right to switch during your tenancy.

I’m on a fixed-rate contract. Can I still switch?

If you’re on a fixed rate tariff with your current supplier, check to see if there’s an exit fee for leaving the contract early. If there is, you’ll need to factor this cost into your price comparison as it could swallow up some of the potential savings. If you can supply your tariff name when you get a quote, we can display your tariff exit fees when showing you the savings you could make. 

Under Ofgem’s standards of conduct, energy firms must give you a minimum of 42 days - and as many as 49 days’ - notice of your tariff ending. You can use this time to decide whether to stick with them, or switch.

It’s worth noting that you can switch for free with no exit fee being payable, once you’ve reached the final 49 days of your contract.

What about switching with a pre-payment meter?

You can switch electricity supplier if you have a pre-payment meter, whether you rent or not. If you’re a tenant and you change suppliers, your landlord might ask you to change back at the end of your tenancy.  
  
If you’d prefer to stay on a pre-payment meter, you can still switch to a new electricity supplier. Many energy suppliers have pre-payment tariffs available. But you may find that your choice is more limited, and pre-payment meter tariffs may be more expensive than those for standard meters.  
  
Switching to a standard meter does have considerable benefits. You’ll have access to a wider range of tariffs because competition between energy suppliers is more intense for standard meters. This means you could really benefit from switching between suppliers regularly - potentially securing yourself continually competitive deals to keep your electricity costs low.  
  
Moving from a pre-payment meter to a standard meter may come with a cost, but big energy suppliers may be able to help you switch for free if you meet certain credit criteria.  

What are Economy 7 meters?

Economy 7 meters give you access to different electricity rates during the day and night. If you’re on one of these tariffs, you’ll have a special meter. The ‘7’ refers to the number of hours in the day that are classed as off-peak. Any energy used outside of those times is usually charged at a much higher rate. 

Economy 7 meters are known as White Meters in Scotland. 

What are Economy 10 meters?

Economy 10 meters are similar to Economy 7, providing you with separate rates for electricity use during the day and night. The 10 refers to the daily number of hours that are charged at an off-peak rate. Any electricity use outside of those hours will likely be charged at a significantly higher rate. 

To find out more, read our guide to energy tariffs.

I think I need business electricity. Can you help?

Absolutely. The processes for switching domestic electricity and business electricity work in a similar way. See our guide to buying and switching business electricity.

I have solar panels. Can I switch my feed-in-tariff (FIT) too?

You’re free to switch suppliers, but since it’s industry regulator Ofgem that sets the prices for feed-in-tariffs, switching won’t necessarily affect price. Different suppliers may provide better levels of customer service, though.

The supplier that makes your FIT payments doesn’t have to be the same one that provides you with energy, so you can switch either one without affecting the other.

The FIT scheme is now closed to new applicants. But if you generate more electricity than you use from your solar panels, you could get paid for it under the Smart Export Guarantee.

How long will it take to switch electricity supplier?

Once you’ve found the right electricity quote for you with our comparison service, you can complete your application and begin the switching process. How long it takes to switch energy services can vary between suppliers, but those that are part of the Energy Switch Guarantee (all the Big Six suppliers are) will see your energy switched within 21 days.

Will my electricity be cut if I switch supplier?

Your electricity will not be interrupted if you switch to a new supplier - and the Energy switch guarantee makes sure of that.

Regardless of who provides your electricity, it comes into your home through the same wires and cables, so there’s no messing about with equipment. Even on switchover day, there should be no disruption to your service.

Do I need to tell my current supplier?

In most cases, your new supplier will get in touch with your old one for you, meaning they’ll sort the whole thing out and make the whole switch as seamless as possible. However, it’s a good idea to check this when signing up to a new tariff, to avoid any delay in your service switching over.

Do I need to cancel my Direct Debit when I switch electricity supplier?

No, you shouldn’t need to worry about cancelling your Direct Debit to your old supplier. They should send you your final bill and, once you’ve paid it, the Direct Debit should be cancelled automatically.

Can I get a smart electricity meter from my new supplier?

Smart meters are being rolled out across the country and most households should have one by 2024. 

Smart meters send the information about your energy use directly to your electricity supplier, so you no longer have to submit readings. Some people think having a smart meter will mean you pay more, but this isn’t the case – they just make sure your bill is always accurate. They can also give you real-time information about energy use, to help you cut your costs.

Find out more in our Smart meter guide.

What is green electricity and can I compare it?

Green electricity comes from renewable sources like sunlight, wind, water, plants and geothermal heat (which comes from the Earth’s core). You can check suppliers’ green credentials when you compare electricity deals.

How can I get cheap electricity bills?

There are plenty of ways to cut down on your electricity use, which in turn can drive down the cost of your bills. Here are some simple tips that can help you keep costs down: 

  • Energy saving bulbs – a simple switch that, once done, does all the saving for you 
  • Switch from a bath to a shower – this saves time, water and the energy to heat it 
  • Don’t tumble dry clothes – drying clothes on a line is completely free 

Find 12 great tips to help you get cheap utility bills. 

Compare electricity prices

We offer impartial and independent comparison from a range of electricity providers. Just give us a few details about your energy use and current tariff, and we’ll give you a list of competitive quotes to choose from. Our comparison service is quick and easy to use.

Need help to choose the right energy deal?

Take a look at some of our guides: