Every property owner needs to ensure the right type of power is available whenever it’s needed. For most people, this means using energy suppliers to access gas and/or electricity. Although you can create your own power or supplement fuel by using solar panels or residential wind turbines, accessing power from an energy company is the easiest and most efficient way to get the fuel you need.
What Are Energy Suppliers?
Energy suppliers are simply energy companies that provide residential and business customers with access to fuel. Well-known energy suppliers include British Gas, Eon, and SSE. Energy suppliers buy gas and electricity on the wholesale market and then sell them to customers in smaller units. This allows them to make a profit by selling for a higher price than they paid for it. and makes it easy for residential property owners and businesses to access the energy they need.
Some energy suppliers also create power by generating electricity in power stations or facilitate the distribution of power. In the UK, the National Grid is responsible for the electricity transmission system, which ensures all parts of the country have access to the electricity they need. However, many electricity suppliers facilitate the distribution of electricity from the transmission system into homes and business properties.
Similarly, some gas suppliers also operate as transporters and distributors, although others simply buy gas from large-scale wholesalers and sell it to their customers.
Are Energy Suppliers UK Regulated?
In the UK, both the gas and electricity markets are privatised. This means that private companies, rather than the government, are responsible for giving us access to power. For consumers, this means there’s a healthy amount of competition in the industry, which helps to keep prices low. Furthermore, consumers can choose which company they want to get their gas and/or electricity from, instead of only having one or two suppliers to work with.
However, energy suppliers in the UK are regulated by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). This means that the consumer’s rights are protected at a high level and prevents one company or a combination of the largest energy companies from becoming too powerful. Essentially, the privatised, regulated energy market in the UK helps to ensure you have a wide selection of energy companies to choose from and keeps prices affordable.
Who Is the Best Energy Supplier?
Some customers have a preference for a particular company, whereas other people view energy firms as much alike. After all, if you’re getting a good service, reliable power, and cheap prices, you probably aren’t going to be disappointed!
However, everyone’s version of what makes an energy company the best is different. A cheap electricity supplier might be the best if you only use electrical power at home, for example. However,
if you need a dual fuel supplier that can provide both gas and electricity, then an electricity-only supplier isn’t going to be your ideal choice.
In this context, the best energy supplier is going to be the one that can offer you the service you need at the most competitive rates.
However, if you want to find an energy supplier that’s well-known and well-respected in the industry, you could look for companies that have been recognised as leaders in the sector. For example, SGN was awarded ‘Best Company of the Year’ at the Gas Industry Awards 2019, while Octopus Energy won the ‘Company Award’ at the British Renewable Energy Awards 2020.
In addition to looking at industry accolades, you can also get an insight into who might be the best energy supplier by looking at customer reviews and satisfaction ratings. These are widely available online and can be a great way to find out which companies provide the best service and products.
Who Is the Cheapest Energy Supplier?
All energy companies strive to offer competitive rates in order to attract more customers but finding the cheapest energy supplier depends on the type of fuel you use, the way you use it, and where you’re based. Before you can find the cheapest energy supplier, you need to know exactly how energy prices and tariffs work.
Energy suppliers offer various tariffs to customers, which typically include a ‘standing charge’ and a ‘unit price’. A standing charge is a fixed price payable regardless of how much energy you use. Most tariffs include a standing charge but not all do. A unit price is a price per unit of energy, such as a kilowatt hour for electricity. So, if your unit price is 15p/kWh and you use 10 kilowatt hours of energy, you’ll pay £1.50, in addition to the standing charge.
So, when you’re looking for the cheapest energy supplier, you’ll need to look at who offers the lowest standing charge (or for companies that don’t include a standing charge at all) and who offers the best unit prices.
Here’s where it gets a little more complicated. If you use both gas and electricity in your home, you’ll need a supply of each type of power. Although you can use two separate suppliers, it may be cheaper to choose a ‘dual fuel tariff’ from one supplier. This simply means that you’ll get your gas and electricity from one power company and pay one bill for both fuels.
When it comes to electricity, there are even more factors to consider. You can choose a fixed or variable tariff, which either means you’ll pay a fixed unit price for the duration of your agreement or that the unit price can vary. Unit prices are based on wholesale prices and how the energy market is performing, so you’ll need to decide whether to hedge your bets with a fixed rate or take a risk with a variable rate.
Furthermore, energy companies offer various different tariffs, which means it’s important to think about how and when you use electricity in order to get the best price.
An economy 7 electricity tariff means that you’ll benefit from a reduced unit price at certain times (usually overnight). If you can use most of your electricity during these times, an economy 7 tariff could be the cheapest option for you. However, be aware that the day rate or ‘on peak’ unit prices on economy 7 tariffs can be a little higher than a single tariff.
As you can see, finding the cheapest energy supplier isn’t as simple as it might seem, which is why it’s important to do your research. By assessing how and when you use the most power, you can begin to determine which energy supplier offers the cheapest rates and best deals for you.
How To Compare Energy Suppliers
Comparison sites make it easy to find the cheapest supplier in your location, but it’s important to compare like-for-like prices and quotations. If you compare an economy 7 or economy 10 tariff with a single rate variable tariff, for example, you won’t get a true comparison. By taking the time to work out what type of tariff is right for you and then comparing the various options available, you can see which energy suppliers offer the cheapest rates on the type of tariff you need.
What Are Green Energy Suppliers?
Green energy suppliers enable customers to access renewable energy and reduce their carbon footprint. Instead of using energy sourced from fossil fuels, for example, green energy providers offer energy from renewable sources, like solar or wind power.
This usually works in one of two ways: Firstly, the energy supplier delivers only renewable energy to your premises or, secondly, the energy supplier purchases an amount of renewable energy that matches your usage and makes it available on the National Grid. Although you may not actually be using renewable energy when you turn your lights on, choosing a green tariff does mean that more renewable energy will be used across the country.
It’s relatively easy to find green energy suppliers. In fact, most energy companies already offer green electricity tariffs and some smaller gas suppliers have green tariffs available too. As people become more aware of climate change, we’re likely to see an increase in the range of green energy tariffs on the market.
List of Energy Suppliers
There is a wide range of energy suppliers in the UK, including:
· British Gas
· Ovo Energy
· EDF Energy Scottish Power
· Smartest Energy
· Gazprom Power
· Opus Energy
· Zog Energy
· Bristol Energy
· Good Energy
· Hudson Energy
· Robin Hood Energy
· Yorkshire Gas and Power
· Fairer Power
· Haven Power
· The Co-operative Energy
· First: Utility
· EBI Co.
· GB Energy Supply
· Green Star Energy
· Flow Energy
· iSupply Energy
· LO CO2 Energy
· Woodland Trust Energy
· Better Energy
· M&S Energy
· Sainsbury’s Energy
· Places for People Energy
· Oink Energy
· Future Energy
· So Energy
· Economy Energy
· Go Effortless Energy
· Avro Energy
· Simple Gas
· Extra Energy
With so many energy suppliers in the UK, it’s easy to see why consumers can find it tricky to determine who offers the best deals. However, with a little research, you can find an energy supplier that meets your needs and offers great prices.