We all want to save money where we can. And our energy bills are often one of the easiest ways to cut our household expenditure. That’s because most of us are paying more for our energy than we need to. By switching to a different energy provider, or even a different deal with the same company, you could make serious savings to your household bills.
There are 61 active domestic energy suppliers in the UK (according to Ofgem, the UK Government’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), so which one should you choose?
Who supplies my gas and electric?
Firstly, check your paperwork for an old energy bill. If you can’t find any paperwork telling you who supplies your gas and electricity, then look at your bank statements, which should show payments to an energy company.
If you still can’t find any records of your energy supplier, then there are two other resources to try.
To find your gas supplier, use the online tool provided by the Meter Point Administration Service – Find My Supplier. They also have a telephone number: 0870 608 1524 (7p a minute, plus your phone company access charge). The Meter Point Administration Service can also tell you your Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) and tell you the name of your gas transporter (the company that pipes the gas to your home).
To find your electricity supplier, discover your regional Network Operator at the Energy Networks Association website. Then phone your local network operator who will be able to tell you who is supplying your electricity.
If you live in a rental property and you pay your bill by either prepayment meter or payment card, ask your landlord if you can change to a standard meter where you will get the best deals. If your landlord won’t allow you to do this, you can still change energy supplier. Ask your landlord who supplies your energy.
Who is the cheapest energy supplier for gas and electric?
It would be nice if we could say exactly who is the cheapest energy supplier, but sadly the energy market is a lot more complex than that. The company that supplies the cheapest energy will vary according to where you live in the country, how much energy you use, how you pay, what sort of meter you use, and even what time of day you use it.
This is where energy comparison comes in. Companies that find you the best deal by comparing all the different options are know as energy auto-switching services. There are lots of different switching companies, so check out our guide to the best energy auto-switching services to see which best suits you.
How to change gas and electric supplier?
It doesn’t take long to change your gas and electricity supplier. You need two key pieces of information: the name of your current energy supplier and how much energy you use.
Find out how much energy you use by checking your energy bill or your annual energy statement (which gives you an overview of how much energy you use over the year). If you can’t find an energy bill or annual energy statement, suppliers can calculate your use from how much you spend and a few details about your home.
There are two principal ways to change your gas and electricity supplier:
- Hunt through the 61 UK energy suppliers for the best deal, then contact the new supplier and give them your details.
- Use an auto-switching service to do all the hard work for you. Check out our auto-switching guide to find out more.
How much is an average gas and electric bill?
The average standard variable tariff fuel bill in the UK in March 2020 was £1,177 according to Ofgem. This average is based on dual fuel (i.e. gas and electricity) bills, paid by direct debit (which is the cheapest way to pay) and paper bills (more expensive) from the ‘big six’ suppliers.
The cheapest tariff was around £816 a year, according to Ofgem.
The message here is clear: there are big savings to be made.
How to setup gas and electric
Setting up your gas and electricity is one of your most important tasks when you move into a new property.
If you are moving into a new build, information about your energy supplier should be included in the paperwork supplied by the estate agent or developer.
If you are moving into a rental property, contact the landlord or even the previous tenants to find out your existing supplier.
If you have bought the property, ask the previous owners or estate agents.
Alternatively, for your gas supplier use the Meter Point Administration Service’s Find My Supplier site and for your electricity supplier the Energy Networks Association website has details of your regional Network Operator.
How to save on your gas and electric bill?
The best way to save on your gas and electricity bill is to compare between the different deals on offer… then choose the best.
We recommend using an auto-switching service to do all the comparisons for you. Check out our guide to the best auto-switching services to help make your choice.
How to cancel gas and electric when moving house?
Make sure you call your current energy supplier at least 48 hours before you move. They will want to know the date you are due to move, and where to send your final bill. Your energy supplier will also either ask you to take a final meter reading on the day your leave, or send someone round to do it.
How to calculate gas and electric bills?
Your gas and electricity bills are based on the amount of energy that you use. Luckily you don’t have to do the figures yourself, your energy company will do that for you.
If you have a traditional energy meter you have to let your supplier know how much you use, and they will do the rest. If you have a smart meter, your energy use is relayed to your supplier every half hour. Learn more at our smart meter guide.
Is a dual tariff the best?
If you use both gas and electricity at home, you can either buy from one company for both (known as ‘dual tariff’ or ‘duel fuel’), or you can use a different energy company for each. But which offers the best savings?
Duel fuel tends to offer a better rate, because energy companies offer competitive rates in order to get your business for both gas and electricity. Duel fuel is also easier for you, because you have just one bill to think about. Read more about the benefits of dual tariffs here.
When can I switch gas and electricity suppliers?
You can switch gas and electricity suppliers whenever you like. However, you may be charged an exit fee (which can be up to £30 per fuel) if you are on a fixed-term deal, that is if the amount your pay for your energy is fixed for a certain length of time (usually a year). Some deals won’t charge you an exit fee, although you may be charged more for your energy as a result.
You will not be charged an exit fee in the last seven weeks (49 days) of your deal. Plus, your energy company is obliged to notify you that your fixed-term deal is coming to an end. This is the best time to look for a new deal to avoid an exit fee.