Tree

Compare clean energy deals today

Give us a call and one of our agents will tell you how you can save money with a clean tariff.

Tree

Save money on your energy bills!

Our call center is currently closed. You can compare our energy offers or leave your phone number and get a free callback.

Finding the cheapest electricity supplier

customer found cheap tariff

Unearthing the cheapest electricity tariff in the UK might seem like a daunting task to begin with. However, with this guide you’ll quickly be on your way to choosing the right electricity tariff for your household.


Cheap electricity: What to look for

When you’re looking around for a new electricity provider it might be natural to jump at the cheapest available tariff you can find.

However, there are other factors you need to take into account if you want to make a choice you won’t come to regret a few months down the line.

Some things to consider include whether you want a fixed-rate tariff or a variable one, if you should choose a green tariff, or do you want to make sure your supplier offers the Warm Home Discount?

Good customer service is probably the most important factor to choosing the right electricity supplier after price. See the end of the article for our round-up of the companies rated best for customer satisfaction.

Read the tariff fine print

Energy utilities often use confusing names and hidden extras to make comparing their own tariffs a difficult task, never mind comparing tariffs across suppliers.

For example, some charge exit fees if you want to leave your contract earlier than agreed.

This can be between £5 and £30 per fuel. That means if you get your gas and electricity from the same company under a dual-fuel tariff, you could end up paying £60 to leave before your contract is up.

Many electricity providers have now stopped this practice, so it pays to read the small print before making a final decision.

Cheapest UK electricity providers at a glance

electricity symbol

Here are the best picks for March 2020 based on the average UK electricity consumption of 4,200 kWh per year and paying by monthly direct debit. Bear in mind that these are average UK figures and prices vary across the country.

Green’s Watt fixed-rate tariff comes in at the top of the list as the cheapest company overall with its £529.57-a-year offering. As its name implies, this is also the cheapest green tariff on the market.

Neon Reef’s £540.41-a-year Aqua One offers the UK’s lowest-priced variable tariff. Aqua One is also a green tariff.

Scottish Power’s elegantly-named Super Saver April 2021 B5 costs £619.04 a year, making it the cheapest fixed-rate tariff that also comes with the government’s annual £140 Warm Home Discount for anyone eligible.

The lowest-priced variable-rate tariffs that includes the Warm Home Discount comes from Powershop. The New-Zealand-owned company’s Top Shopper 2020 Issue 1 tariff costs £645.00 a year.

Octopus Energy offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to their quality of service combined with low-prices starting at £632.37. It seems customers get the best of both worlds with this provider.

Cheapest UK electricity suppliers in detail

Here at the Switch we’ve looked at the cheapest companies on the market and compiled the essential details for you below.

Five Cheapest Fixed-Rate Tariffs for Electricity only

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Green Watt 10.871p 20.00p per day (£73.00 per year) £529.57
Yorkshire Energy Green Likely 12.411p 14.53p per day (£53.04 per year) £574.30
Green Faraday 12.200p 20.00p per day (£73.00 per year) £585.40
Outfox the Market E-Low Fix 13.230p 8.40p per day (£30.66 per year) £586.32
People’s Energy 2 Months Upfront Winter 20 v3 12.251p 22.26p per day (£81.25 per year) £595.78

What are fixed rate tariffs and why sign up for one?

These tariffs come with set prices for every unit of electricity you use. Measure in kilowatt hour (kWh) the price shouldn’t change throughout the duration of your contract, whether that’s one year or three.

Once you do the calculations fixed-rate tariffs often cost less over the long term than variable tariffs and you won’t be affected if the energy market is hit by higher prices.

That said, you also won’t benefit from any cuts in price due to falls in the wholesale cost of energy.

Also of course, while the amount you pay per unit of electricity is set down in your contract, you will still pay more if you use more power.

Some fixed-rate contracts include a clause that allows the provider to charge you an exit fee if you change suppliers before your existing term is up.

Five Cheapest Variable Tariffs for Electricity only

Here are the currently most affordable providers that have variable electricity tariffs.

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Neon Reef Aqua One 11.765p 12.68p per day (£46.30 per year) £540.41
Orbit Energy Vari-Save Extra 10.978p 22.99p per day (£83.90 per year) £544.97
Green Oak 11.771p 15.00p per day (£54.75 per year) £549.13
Green Birch 12.000p 16.00p per day (£58.40 per year) £562.42
Yorkshire Energy Variable 12.583p 13.28p per day (£48.48 per year) £576.97

What is a variable electricity tariff and why choose one?

Variable tariffs, often in the form of standard variable tariffs (STD) are the most typical kind of tariff.

They are offered by the majority of providers as a default. People often pick them because they find navigating the labyrinth of the electricity market without help to be a challenging task.

In their favour, these tariffs are simpler to understand and normally come without exit fees or long-term contract periods.

On the other hand, these are usually the most expensive offerings from suppliers.

What’s more, variable tariffs are so-named because their price per kWh varies according to the wholesale electricity market.

When you sign up the estimated cost may look very attractive if market prices are low, but energy prices rise and fall due to many factors such as global crises, new regulations and the whims of the OPEC cartel.

This means on a variable tariff it’s difficult to predict how much you will be spending on electricity a few months down the road.

Five Cheapest Green Fixed-Rate Tariffs

Picking a green electricity tariff no longer means having to pay more. Check out these competitive electricity deals:

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Green Watt 10.871p 20.00p per day (£73.00 per year) £529.57
Yorkshire Energy Green Ilkley - Fixed Until 31st May 2021 12.411p 14.53p per day (£53.04 per year) £574.30
Green Faraday 12.200p 20.00p per day (£73.00 per year) £585.40
Outfox the Market E-Low Fix 13.230p 8.40p per day (£30.66 per year) £586.32
People’s Energy 2 Months Upfront Winter 20 v3 12.251p 22.26p per day (£81.25 per year) £595.78

Five Cheapest Green Variable Tariffs

Green electricity tariffs also come in variable flavours, if you want to avoid the commitment of a fixed tariff.

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Neon Reef Aqua One 11.765p 12.68p per day (£46.30 per year) £540.41
Green Oak 11.771p 15.00p per day (£54.75 per year) £549.13
Green Birch 12.000p 16.00p per day (£58.40 per year) £562.42
Yorkshire Energy Variable 12.583p 13.28p per day (£48.48 per year) £576.97
Outfox the Market Clean VE 2.0 13.407p 8.27p per day (£30.18 per year) £593.30

Why would you choose a green electricity tariff?

We make a lot of careful decisions about the products and services we buy. Price is of course a prime consideration, but other factors inform our choices too, including ethical ones.

As consumers we have a lot of power to influence the behaviour of companies and governments through what we chose or don’t choose to spend our hard-earned money on.

With the coronavirus outbreak showing how much raw authority governments have at their disposal in the face of a crisis, we should be demanding more action in the face of the exponentially greater threat to lives posed by the climate emergency.

More of us choosing to make the switch to green energy is not just one of the most significant actions individuals and families can take in tackling the damage caused by carbon emissions, it is also a strong signal to the powers-that-be that we are taking this threat seriously, even if they aren’t.

Imagine if the government had taken decisive action to halt the spread of covid-19 in January when the experts were already warning of the danger, the drastic actions that are now necessary could have been avoided.

In terms of the climate emergency, the experts have been warning of the danger for quite some time and disaster, like the coronavirus, is already on our doorsteps.

Five Cheapest Fixed Rate Tariffs with Warm Home Discount

Not all electricity providers offer the Warm Home Discount to their eligible customers. At the same time, those energy companies that do aren’t necessarily the cheapest either. Let’s take a look at the cheapest electricity tariffs from providers that do offer the Warm Home Discount.

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Scottish Power Super Saver April 2021 B5 13.180p 17.94p per day (£65.50 per year) £619.04
Eon Fix Online Exclusive v32 11.986p per kWh 33.91p per day (£123.78 per year) £627.18
EDF Energy Simply Online 1 Year Fix Mar21v3 / Simply Online Jun21v8 13.608p 17.75p per day (£64.77 per year) £636.31
Eon Fix 1 Year Exclusive March 2020 14.838p 5.25p per day (£19.16 per year) £642.34
Powershop Fixed Term 12 Month 2020 Issue 5 13.797p 22.55p per day (£82.32 per year) £661.80

Five Cheapest Variable Rate Tariffs with Warm Home Discount

If you prefer variable electricity tariffs, you can still get some where the Warm Home Discount can be applied:

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Powershop Top Shopper 2020 Issue 1 13.398p 22.54p per day (£82.28 per year) £645.00
Bulb Vari-Fair Electricity 14.107p 19.79p per day (£72.24 per year) £664.72
Avro Energy Simple Energy 14.490p 21.00p per day (£76.65 per year) £685.23
Coop Energy Co-op Flexible January 2020 v1 14.900p 19.02p per day (£69.41 per year) £695.19
Coop Energy Co-Op Flexible 14.942p 19.02p per day (£69.41 per year) £696.95

What is the Warm Home Discount?

People on benefits, pensioners and other groups at risk of fuel poverty are eligible to apply for this government scheme.

Energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers must offer the discount by law, but it is also available from some smaller providers who take part in the scheme voluntarily.

The assistance comes in the form of a one-off payment of £140 over winter months. Click here for a handy guide to the Warm Home Discount and other available assistance schemes.

Although such help is welcome, with many tariffs offering savings well below those of larger firms even with the Warm Home Discount taken into account, people may spend much less on energy bills by simply switching to a smaller, cheaper supplier.

Five Cheapest Fixed Rate Tariffs from Providers with a High Rating for Customer Service

You don’t need to sacrifice quality customer service when choosing affordable electricity.

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Octopus Energy Exclusive Octopus 12M Fixed February 2020 v3 13.241p 20.90p per day (£76.27 per year) £632.37
EDF Energy

Simply Online 1 Year Fix Mar21v3/Simply Online Jun21v8

13.608p 17.75p per day (£64.77 per year) £636.31
So Energy So Alder - Green - Seasonal Payments 13.320p 22.05p per day (£80.48 per year) £639.92
Octopus Energy Super Green Octopus 12M Fixed February 2020 v1/Octopus 12M Fixed February 2020 v1 14.469p 20.90p per day (£76.27 per year) £683.96
Octopus Energy Helpful Octopus 24M Fixed February 2020 v1 14.469p 23.70p per day (£86.50 per year) £694.20

Five Cheapest Variable Tariffs from Providers with a High Rating for Customer Service

You don’t need to commit to a fixed electricity tariff if you are searching for an affordable electricity tariff. Here are some affordable variable electricity tariffs with decent customer service.

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Orbit Energy Vari-Save Extra 10.978p 22.99p per day (£83.90 per year) £544.97
Igloo Pioneer 12.569p 20.83p per day (£76.04 per year) £603.92
Octopus Energy Flexible Octopus December 2019 v1 14.900p 19.02p per day (£69.41 per year) £695.19
EDF Energy Standard (Variable) 17.598p 23.71p per day (£86.54 per year) £825.65
SSE Standard 17.598p 23.71p per day (£86.54 per year) £825.65

Five Cheapest Fixed Rate Green Tariffs from Providers with a High Rating for Customer Service

This final electricity tariff breakdown shows that you can have it all: green power, decent pricing and helpful customer service.

Provider Tariff Price per kWh Standing Charge Annual Cost
Octopus Energy Exclusive Octopus 12M Fixed February 2020 v3 13.241p 20.90p per day (£76.27 per year) £632.37
So Energy So Alder - Green - Seasonal Payments 13.320p 22.05p per day (£80.48 per year) £639.92
Octopus Energy Octopus 12M Fixed February 2020 v1 / Super Green Octopus 12M Fixed February 2020 v1 14.469p 20.90p per day (£76.27 per year) £683.96
Octopus Energy Super Green Helpful Octopus 24M Fixed Feb 2020 v1 / Helpful Octopus 24M Fixed February 2020 v1 14.469p 23.70p per day (£86.50 per year) £694.20
Octopus Energy OUB 12M Fixed February 2020 v1 14.763p 21.32p per day (£77.80 per year) £697.85

The value of good customer service when choosing an energy supplier

Next to price, the customer service offered by your supplier is perhaps one of the most important things to take into account when choosing a new tariff.

Whether it’s dealing with billing mistakes, smart meter installations, moving tariffs or other queries it’s important to pick a company with a good track record of helping its customers instead of hindering them. Good companies try to make your life easier.

Any number of unforeseen circumstances could see you spending a lot of time communicating with your provider on the phone, online chat or by email.

With some companies making customers wait on hold for up to twenty minutes or taking days to answer a simple email, your mileage may vary considerably between suppliers when it comes to quality of service.

Here at the Switch we have partnered with Selectra to help make your life easier when it comes to finding your way around the maze-like energy market and choosing the best-value green energy suppliers offering the best service. Click here to get started today.

by J Mccrossan

Updated on