The best energy supplier can depend on a few things. How much energy you use, the region that you live in, wholesale energy costs and the time that you are looking.
Usage has been classified into low, medium and high by Ofgem, the energy regulator. They calculate these figures from the median usage from a dual fuel customer paying direct debit.
Where you live can also impact how much you pay. This is because suppliers are charged for transporting energy in regions. Network companies set the cost, which varies region to region.
So the best energy supplier for you may depend on where you live. At the time of writing the cheapest region is East Midlands and the most expensive is the South West.
Therefore if you live in the East Midlands your average annual cost is £1101 but in the South West the average cost is £1161, which is a £60 difference just for location.
Wholesale energy costs
This is very much out of your hands! But the cost of wholesale energy can change frequently and plays a big role in how much suppliers will charge you. Over the last couple of years the cost of wholesale energy has been particularly volatile, this has meant increasing costs and a lot of uncertainty.
If you’re on a variable tariff you be directly affected by wholesale costs, if you’re on a fixed tariff you’re safe until you roll onto the variable at the end of your deal.
Equally important is when you compare the market because suppliers can create tariffs at any time.
On the 1st December 2018 the average annual cost in Yorkshire was £1124, whereas on the 1st August the average was £1053. So in the space of 6 months the average cost has gone up by £71.
How many suppliers are there?
There are 69 energy suppliers and most of them have many different tariffs to choose from. Most supplies have both cheap and expensive tariffs.
The Big Six
Who are the Big Six? Well, they’re the biggest suppliers in the UK and they have dominated the energy industry for many years. The Big Six consist of British Gas, E.On, EDF, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.
There are lots of comparison websites that show you most of the energy deals on the market. If you are using comparison websites it’s advised that you check all of the comparison websites – and compare the comparison websites!
This is because they are allowed to show you a selected list of deals rather than every single option. So you could miss out if you don’t shop around. As well as visiting a few comparison websites it’s also worth checking Trustpilot reviews for these websites and the supplier you’re thinking of switching to.
It’s important to note that we, comparison websites and auto-switching services all have access to the same list of suppliers and tariffs. Seeing different results? The difference in what you’re shown depends on what commercial agreements have been made.
For example if a supplier pays a comparison website a more competitive rate then they will be favoured.
Well, along with energy usage, your region, wholesale energy costs and the time that you are looking, there are other considerations too. Do they have a good customer service rating? If they’re new, how long have they been operating? Are they green? Does the tariff have any small print?
It can very easily get quite confusing and it takes time and effort to understand all the jargon.
Citizens advice review energy suppliers twice a year and rate them in these key areas: fewer complaints; easier to contact; clearer bills, on time; easier to switch; and customer guarantees.
So which is the best energy supplier for you?
You’ll find the best energy supplier for you varies. And most suppliers are pretty similar, it’s the tariff that can vary the most.
If you don’t want the hassle of comparing the energy market and comparison websites are not for you, there’s an another way. And actually, the hassle of comparison websites and forgetting to switch every year is exactly why we set up our free service, Look After My Bills.
Sign up once and we automatically switch you to the best deal every time you’re about to get rolled onto an expensive tariff.
Our systems know the best energy supplier for you at any given time. Look After My Bills only switch you to energy suppliers who meet our customer service requirements, furthermore we have our UK based team on hand to help out too!
‘Green’ energy and the warm home discount can be specified in our sign up form.
Oh, and the best thing?
We save our customers on average £251 and have saved some people over £400!
Find out more about auto-switching here!