Millions of British Gas customers were hit with the news this week that electricity prices will be hiked by 12.5% from 15 September.
And sadly, it’s not the only energy provider to be the bearer of bad news. Its five fellow Big Six energy providers have already upped prices this year as follows:
- E.on: Increased electricity prices by 13.8% and gas prices by 3.8% from 26 April.
- EDF: Cut gas bills by up to 12.9% from 6 January but upped electricity prices by up to 8.4% from 1 March.
- Npower: Raised prices by an average of 10% from 16 March.
- Scottish Power: Increased electricity prices by an average of 10.8% and gas prices by 4.7% on average from 31 March.
- SSE: Hiked electricity prices by 14.9% from 28 April. Gas prices remain the same.
But just because the Big Six are the biggest and most well-known providers, that doesn’t mean you should stick with them.
Moneywise gives you some alternatives below – although bear in mind that there is no ‘one size fits all’ energy provider.
The top energy providers: Price
If it’s price alone you care about, the top five cheapest deals on the market today for an average dual fuel energy user paying by direct debit, are as follows.
|Supplier||Tariff||Type||Average annual price|
|IRESA||IRESA Flex4 Standard Direct Debit||Variable||£834|
|Economy Energy||Online Saver||One-year fix||£844|
|One Select||Secure 1 Year fixed||One-year fix||£850|
|Tonik Energy||Positively Renewable||One-year fix||£854.09|
|Breeze Energy||Breeze Energy UK Fixed 1 Year V1||One-year fix||£855|
|Source: uSwitch.com, 3 August 2017. Prices based on average dual fuel user paying by monthly direct debit.|
These prices compare to the average Big Six dual fuel tariff (for those paying by monthly direct debit) of £1,151, according to uSwitch – meaning the average energy user could save over £300 by switching.
However, bear in mind that the best provider and deal for you depends on how much energy your household uses and where in the country you live – the tariffs in the table above are only average and these aren’t going to be the cheapest deals for everyone. Always do a price comparison to find the best deal for you .
If you’re thinking, hold on a minute, I’ve never heard of any of these suppliers in the table, here’s a brief overview.
IRESA: Supplies dual fuel and electricity-only tariffs. It's been operating since April 2016. However, be warned that it has a rating of 2.1 out of 10 on TrustPilot based on 307 reviews.
Economy Energy: Supplies electricity-only, gas-only, and dual fuel customers. It offers a range of different tariff types and it also supplies prepayment meter customers. It’s been supplying energy since March 2013 and it has an 8.2 rating on TrustPilot based on 4,843 reviews. Energy regulator Ofgem did however, launch an investigation into the provider’s sales tactics last September.
One Select: Launched in April 2017. It's owned by EnergieFlex, a company that launched in 2014 to supply homes in the Netherlands. It supplies dual fuel, electricity-only, and gas-only customers. But it doesn’t supply customers with prepayment meters. It has a rating of 7.3 on TrustPilot but this is only based on 23 reviews. Moneywise contacted the company to find out when it launched but we’re yet to receive a response.
Tonik Energy: Launched in August 2016, Tonik Energy provides 100% green electricity tariffs to dual fuel and electricity-only customers. It doesn’t supply to customers with a prepayment meter. Tonik has an 8.9 rating on TrustPilot based on 254 reviews.
Breeze Energy: Only has one tariff supplied on a dual fuel basis. It has no ratings yet on TrustPilot. Moneywise has contacted the provider to find out when it launched and we’re awaiting a response.
The top energy suppliers: Customer service
When it comes to our home service providers customer service is just as important as price. The results of our most recent Home Finances Awards in 2016 saw Utility Warehouse come top in the gas and electricity sector for the second year running when it comes to best value for money, best customer service, and best clarity of bills.
Utility Warehouse: Launched its energy business in 2008. But it doesn’t just provide energy, it’s owned by Telecom Plus and offers a suite of services around the home, including broadband, TV and mobile phones, which are consolidated into a monthly bill. It offers two bundles that include energy: phone, broadband and energy, and phone, broadband, mobile and energy. It supplies dual fuel, electricity-only and gas-only tariffs, as well as prepayment customers. It has a score of eight on TrustPilot from 3,696 reviews.
Ovo Energy also impressed in our Home Finances Awards and was runner-up for value for money, customer service and its clarity of billing.
Ovo Energy: Has been supplying energy since September 2009. It has a range of tariffs including a 100% renewable electricity offering. It supplies duel fuel and electricity-only households, as well as those with pre-payment meters. It has 8.7 rating on TrustPilot from 8,238 reviews.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Big Six drew most of the flak from voters in our Home Finances Awards 2016. Some of the most negative comments were reserved for Scottish Power, in particular. The firm received plenty of comments about shoddy service, inaccurate billing and eye-watering prices.
Charity Citizens Advice also monitors complaints about energy providers, so check its ratings too.
The best energy suppliers: Renewable ‘green’ energy
If you’re interested in green credentials, Tonik Energy provides the cheapest average tariff, as detailed above.
However, there are many other green providers on the market including the likes of Bulb, Green Energy, and Octopus. Read our feature on Should you go green? for more information – it’s not just price and customer service you need to be aware of here, you also need to consider the percentage of green energy you’d like to be supplied and the renewable energy sources used to generate the gas and electricity.
Have your say on energy and other providers by voting in the Moneywise Home Finance Awards 2017.