A simples guide

Is gas and electricity cheaper with the bigger energy companies?

We’re all looking to save money – who doesn’t love a bargain? But how to cut costs from your energy bills can lead to much chin scratching – do you believe the hype about how much you could save or is it all just a load of hot air? Well, at comparethemarket.com we like to put you in charge of your own purse strings so here’s what you should know about your energy right now.

Who are the ‘big six’ energy companies?

We’ve all heard about the ‘big six’ (British Gas, EDF Energy, EON, npower, Scottish Power and SSE). If this was a Western then they’d be the group of local movers and shakers. Then in come the inevitable young guns who stir things up a bit and show people that things don’t have to be as they’ve always been – in energy terms, these are the up and coming energy providers.

Where did the big six come from?

Energy provision wasn’t always such a competitive market. Utilities were only privatised in the mid-80s and 90s and the big six as we understand them now were born out of that transition in one way or another. At one point they provided 99% of the energy supplied to households in the UK, but by the end of April 2016 that figure was down to 85.5% so it just goes to show – there’s more out there and it could pay to shop around.

the big six energy companies

So, who exactly are the cheapest energy suppliers?   

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that at comparethemarket.com we like to spend our time comparing stuff. We collate data and find the most popular tariffs chosen by our customers every month and compile our Energy Snapshot to show you the best deals around that month and the average savings you could make. We’re finding that more and more of you are leaving the big six so this could suggest that the smaller suppliers are offering cheaper tariffs.

You can find out the cheapest energy suppliers each month with our Energy Snapshot and then discover what you could save by starting a comparison yourself.

Should I stay or should I go?

Making the decision to switch should be about making a choice that will work for you – not because everyone tells you to. If you’re happy with your current provider and you think you’re getting a fair deal, then good for you. Although if there’s any doubt in your mind about whether you are getting a good deal, then you should start comparing as you’ve nothing to lose. It’s worth knowing that according to comparethemarket.com data we’ve saved customers a total of more than £34 million in just the first four months of 2016.

is energy cheaper with the big 6?

 But how do I know if a supplier’s right for me?

You’ll need to decide what kind of tariff’s right for you – whether you want complete flexibility (in which case look at variable tariffs) or if you want to know where you stand, then perhaps a fixed rate tariff is for you. The cost-conscious could consider online tariffs which could be the cheapest deals or if you’re concerned about the environment then some providers will offer you a green tariff. Some independents even specialise in ensuring you’re supplied with only 100% renewable energy. Once you know what you want, you can start to comparethemarket.