Energy Suppliers in the UK
Energy Suppliers In The UK
With so many energy suppliers in the UK to choose from, it can be confusing and difficult to decide who to sign up to. Should you opt for the cheapest gas and electricity supplier, the energy supplier with the best customer reviews… or perhaps a green energy supplier who focuses on renewable energy sources?
Let’s take a look at gas and electricity suppliers in the UK so you can make an informed decision.
How many energy companies are there in the UK?
The energy industry is fiercely competitive and the number of energy companies in the UK changes frequently as new firms are launched and unsuccessful ones close.
The majority of energy suppliers in the UK provide both gas and electricity tariffs – which you can buy separately or together (known as dual fuel). A small number provide only gas or only electricity.
Signing up to a dual fuel tariff can sometimes lead to bigger savings as energy providers will often give you incentives so they can earn more of your business. Those perks can include things like discounts on your energy bills or money off other services they offer. That said, because there are so many energy suppliers competing with each other, it’s well worth comparing dual fuel as well as gas only and electricity only tariffs to find the best deals.
Who are the Big Six?
The Big Six is a term you’ll hear frequently. It refers to the six largest energy firms in the UK who between them, provide a majority of homes with gas, electricity or both. The big six are:
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
- EDF energy
Where did the Big Six come from?
Believe it or not, the energy market in the UK has only become competitive relatively recently. In fact, it was only since the mid to late 1990s that the market could be described as truly free with customers being able to choose their provider. Before then, gas and electricity were provided by British Gas and several regionally-based electricity boards.
The deregulation (removal of strict rules) of the energy market aimed to encourage new suppliers to make the industry fairer for customers. In reality, many suppliers that did launch weren’t successful and it resulted in different energy providers absorbing other firms until the Big Six as we know them came about.
Are the Big Six better than smaller energy providers?
The short answer is – not necessarily. Now that households are free to choose amongst a big (and growing) list of energy suppliers in the UK, it’s really up to you to decide what makes one supplier better than the other.
While price will always play a part in who you opt for, who are the best energy suppliers doesn’t always come down to cost. For example, you might want to think about:
- Customer service – the size of supplier isn’t a benchmark of customer service and some of the largest firms have the poorest levels of customer satisfaction overall.
- Green energy – some energy providers in the UK focus on green energy, sourcing all or some of their energy from renewables.
- Lifestyle – as well as green energy, vegan energy has experienced a rise in interest. This is where energy is guaranteed to be free of animal products or by-products. For example, renewable biogas is often produced from animal waste. At the time of writing, the only Vegan Society-approved energy supplier is Ecotricity.
Can I view a full list of energy suppliers in the UK?
In addition to the Big Six, there are dozens of other, smaller energy suppliers launching on a regular basis which makes the market extremely fluid. This fluidity makes it almost impossible to list all the energy companies in the UK as the list changes frequently.
What you can be sure of, is that when you search with us at Quotezone.co.uk, we’ll search all tariffs from all available suppliers giving you a ‘whole-of-market’ view of energy providers. So, if you’re looking for the best deals the energy market has to offer, using our quote form really is an effective way to compare tariffs and suppliers in real time.
Will I be cut off if my energy supplier goes bust?
No, if your supplier goes bust, your supply will automatically be provided by another energy firm chosen by Ofgem. You’ll be notified of any changes and given the opportunity to switch elsewhere if you prefer.
Based on this, you shouldn’t let the size of the energy firm put you off. If you’re worried that a smaller supplier will collapse and leave you without power, you can put your mind at rest.
Are the Big Six energy suppliers usually cheaper than smaller energy companies UK?Lots of different factors affect the price of energy so the Big Six aren’t necessarily cheaper than any of the smaller suppliers. Your typical energy bill will need to cover:
- The wholesale cost of energy – unsurprisingly, this makes up the largest part of your energy bill. Just over 30% of what you pay for gas and 40% for electricity will go towards covering the raw cost of energy.
- Network and operating costs – which includes the cost of maintaining the network.
- Environmental levies – energy firms need to pay certain taxes to fund green initiatives.
- VAT and profit – suppliers will also need to include VAT and add in profit margin (which is less than 3% for the average dual fuel bill).
With all this in mind, energy firms need to juggle numerous costs and budgets in order to set competitive tariffs.
Do all UK energy suppliers offer dual fuel tariffs?
Many energy suppliers offer a dual fuel tariff but not all and a handful offer either just gas or just electricity. Dual fuel can sometimes be better value but it’s not guaranteed so it’s worth comparing all energy tariffs to ensure you get the very best deals.
How do I compare when I’m choosing between a list of energy suppliers?
As well as taking the time to read customer service reviews, you can also compare gas and electric suppliers by looking at:
- Cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) – gas and electricity is measured in kilowatt hours and you’ll be charged for every unit you use.
- Standing charge – this is a fixed amount charged daily. It covers the cost of supplying energy into your home. Suppliers set their own standing charges so they can vary considerably and add a significant amount to your bill. Take care to look at both the cost per kWh and the standing charge for a true comparison. Alternatively, you might consider no standing charge tariffs instead.
Which energy suppliers supply green electricity?
A number of suppliers are keen to tout their green credentials and if this is important to you, you should take a close look at something called the fuel mix.
Most energy companies in the UK will publish their fuel mix on their website. This shows you where their energy comes from – for example what percentage is from renewables or fossil fuels.
You’ll need to bear in mind that the fuel mix can vary year by year depending on productivity but there is a growing list of energy companies that supply green energy, including:
Search for gas and electric deals from all energy suppliers in the UK
Thanks to comparison sites like Quotezone.co.uk, there’s no need to comb the internet for energy deals yourself, because we do it for you.
Filling in our energy switch form takes just a few minutes but it could kick-start big savings on your energy bills. Indeed, latest figures from Ofgem show that comparing energy tariffs could cut dual fuel bills by more than £300.