The average gas and electric bill in the UK is a big deal. We all want to know what the average cost is so we can make sure we’re below it. After all, who wants to pay more than they have to when it comes to energy?
According to 2018 figures from industry watchdog Ofgem, the average dual fuel variable tariff was £1,138 a year, or £93.83 a month. Let’s estimate this break down, with electricity costing slightly more than gas, say 55/45. That means gas and electricity costs around £3 a day.
But average figures are a bit of a red herring. Because each bill depends on a number of factors such as location, property type and number of inhabitants, they’ll vary immensely.
Ofgem found the cheapest tariff available in 2018 was £788 a year, or just £65 a month. Now size matters here; this bill wasn’t found at Buckingham Palace. But what the average gas and electric bill does tell us is that most people are paying too much when it comes to energy. Often a lot too much.
Gas and electric bills in winter
Naturally, bills for energy are going to be higher in the winter. Space heating is responsible for two thirds of energy use and half of energy bills in UK homes. Keeping a typical house warm in winter can easily cost £600, around half of the yearly bill. In the summer you can let the sun do most of the work.
If winter in the UK is particularly harsh, costs will go up. Remember the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018? That cold freeze brought a lowest temperature of -14°C to the Scottish mountain ranges. If you’ve forgotten – good for you, you must have kept warm. Some of the highlanders in Scotland are still not over it. Anyway, the average power rose by five times for that quarter of the year when it hit.
Gas and electric bills by people and property
We can break down the average gas and electric bill in the UK here into small, medium and large sized houses. The following are statistics from Co-operative Energy.
Small house/flat with one or two bedrooms/occupants
With an annual gas output of 8,000kWh and an electricity output of 2,000kWh
- Average monthly utility bill of £61, annual cost £734
- Average cost per person of £46 a month, £550 a year
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Average gas and electric bills price rise
One thing we can tell you for free is that gas and electricity prices in the UK have sky-rocketed over the last 15 years.
In 2004, the average home paid just £277 for gas and £288 for electricity, a total of £565. Fast-forward a decade and this final figure more than doubled to £1,344. We’ve been on a pretty high yearly incline that represents a 140% rise in bills. With that sort of jump, you’ll want to save every penny you can… especially with wages being stagnant.
Take away inflation and that’s still an 88% increase. The fastest rising component of household bills. Why?
Back in late 2003, the UK was actually still a net exporter of natural gas. By 2013, we were importing more than 50% of the gas we use. First we looked to Norway, then Holland and now it comes in liquid form from Qatar and elsewhere in the Middle East.
These tightened international gas markets have hit British consumers where it hurts. Throw in transmission costs, social levies and environmental programs and it’s a full-scale nightmare.
Cheapest energy prices in UK vs most expensive
Right, now we’ve read you the apocalyptic riot act, we’re gonna tell you to move. Only joking. But the average price does change dramatically depending on where you live in the UK.
Let’s zoom in on electricity for this one. Areas like North Scotland, the South West, Merseyside and both North Wales and South Wales all pay more than 15p/kWh on average to supply electricity to their homes. East Midlands, Yorkshire and South Scotland are among the cheapest, according to Nimblefins.
Medium house with three bedrooms for a family of three or four people
With an annual gas output of 12,500kWh and an electricity output of 3,100kWh
- Average monthly utility bill of £89, annual cost £1,066
- Average cost per person of £26 a month, £311 a year
Large house with four bedrooms and five people or more
With an annual gas output of 18,000kWh and an electricity output of 4,600kWh
- Average monthly utility bill of £125, annual cost £1,494
- Average cost per person of £22 a month, £264 a year
The results are in. Newsflash, it’s cheaper to live with others. Maybe you can put up with queuing for the shower after all.
Reducing your energy costs
Whatever your situation, you can always reduce the cost of gas and electricity in your home. Check out our tips to cut down energy costs for simple, practical things you can do to save money on your bills. Making a note of the most expensive appliances to run is a great place to start. Do you really need these? If you can live without them, it’ll help. Alternatively, have a look at the average room temperatures and see how your how compares.
Have you thought about switching energy supplier? Here at Look After My Bills, we can save you up to £350 a year by getting you the best deal. If you have three minutes to spare, we can get to work on your behalf now.