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Choosing an energy supplier for your home is an important decision that can impact your finances and quality of service. With the UK energy market featuring a wide range of providers and plan options, knowing where to begin and how to find the best deal can be difficult. 

This blog is designed to empower you, the reader, to understand energy suppliers, find your current providers, determine if you could get a better deal, estimate average costs, evaluate price trends, spot bad suppliers, and recognise the signs of a good supplier. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or are considering switching energy plans, this comprehensive overview puts you firmly in the driver’s seat, equipping you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about retail energy suppliers in the UK today. 

What is an energy supplier?

Energy suppliers are pivotal in our daily lives. They are the entities that distribute gas and electricity to our homes and businesses, ensuring we have the energy we need. The UK has a multitude of energy suppliers, and when you move into a new home, you must select one to provide your gas and electricity. 

Some key things an energy supplier does include:

  • Provides gas and electricity to your home
  • Carries out meter readings
  • Sends you energy bills
  • Offers customer service to resolve any issues
  • Can switch you to a better energy tariff

Your energy supplier is responsible for meter readings, billing, customer service, and fixing issues. They buy energy wholesale and sell it to customers like you. While some suppliers focus on specific regions, most large energy companies provide nationwide coverage. 

How to find my energy supplier

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, you might not be aware of your energy supplier. However, finding this information is not as challenging as it may seem. 

Here are some simple ways to discover your energy supplier:

  • Check any letters you’ve received regarding gas and electricity bills. This should state the supplier’s name. 
  • Look at the meter itself. There may be a sticker or engraving with the supplier’s name. 
  • If you pay by direct debit, check your bank account to see which company you’re paying for energy. 
  • Ask the previous owners or tenants who their energy supplier was, as it may be the same. 
  • Look up the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) on your electricity meter or the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) on your gas meter. This uniquely identifies the supply.

Use a postcode lookup tool on websites like uSwitch. Enter your postcode, and the tool will show you the available suppliers. 

Once you know your gas and electricity supplier, you can contact them to set up an account. Provide meter readings to get an accurate first bill. 

How do I know if I can get a better energy deal elsewhere?

When you sign up with an energy supplier, they put you on their standard variable tariff. This means that prices can go up or down based on the market. 

Here are some signs it may be time to shop around:

  • You’ve been with your energy supplier for over a year – deals are often for 12 months. 
  • Your annual bill seems higher than expected. 
  • You’ve received a notice that your tariff prices are increasing. 
  • You’ve never switched suppliers before. 
  • You’re out of contract on a fixed-rate deal. 

Using comparison sites like Go Compare or uSwitch makes it easy to see if you could save money elsewhere. Just enter your postcode, current supplier, and tariff details. The site will show the annual cost with your current provider compared to the best deals on the market. 

Switching energy suppliers is usually straightforward. The new provider handles everything, including contacting your old supplier. It should only take a couple of weeks to complete. And the best part? You can often switch and save £100-£350 per year, giving you more control over your energy costs.

Average energy costs in the UK

Energy costs vary greatly based on your home, usage, tariff and supplier. 

Here are the average prices for UK households:

  • Electricity: £80.02 per month
  • Gas: £80.12 per month

Actual costs can range from £800 to £2,000 or more. Flats and smaller homes tend to be on the lower end, while larger houses with high usage pay more. The type of tariff you’re on also impacts costs. Standard variable deals from the top six suppliers average £1,300 per year. Switching to a fixed rate or capped deal can reduce your bill. 

Measuring your energy usage

Your electricity and gas usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) based on regular meter readings. This is then multiplied by the unit rate to determine your costs. For example, if you used 300 kWh of electricity when the unit rate was 24p/kWh, your monthly electricity cost would be 300 x £0.24 = £72. Your overall bill also includes additional fees like standing charges and environmental levies. 

Your location, payment method, and usage also factor into it. Those in London and the South East tend to pay more. Direct debit is the cheapest; energy-efficient homes benefit from lower bills. 

Are Energy Bills going up?

Following Ofgem’s recent price cap announcement, energy prices in the UK have fallen by 12%. This means that from 1st April 2024, the average energy bill has gone down to £1,690 per year.

Despite this recent price reduction, energy bills continue to be significantly higher than they were several years ago, in 2020 and 2021. 

According to most major bodies, the rise in energy prices is caused by ongoing tensions with Russia and reduced fuel supply from some major producers. As a result, prices are likely to increase when supply decreases.

In response to claims that UK energy firms are unnecessarily greedy, Ofgem has introduced the recent energy price cap. 

Your home’s EPC rating will also have an impact on your bills.

Signs you’re with the wrong energy supplier

No one wants to be stuck with an unsuitable energy supplier, so we’ve created a list of red flags to watch out for.

Firstly, poor customer service, such as long wait times, unhelpful staff, and billing issues, should be avoided. Unexpected extra charges you can’t explain are also a significant concern.

If you receive a sudden price hike without warning, this may mean that the company is untrustworthy. Likewise, if they lack transparency about pricing or offer uncompetitive rates that are higher than the market average, you may want to switch suppliers.

Signs you’re with a trustworthy energy supplier

Not all energy companies offer the same service. Therefore, you must look out for the positive signs that you’ve picked a good supplier.

Clear and transparent pricing with helpful explanations is essential, as is proactive communication about new rates, policies and bills.

This is a green flag if the company has a range of tariff options, including fixed-rate deals. Similarly, you could be with a great company if they provide alerts to prevent customers from overpaying, along with quick and effective customer service via phone, email and web chat.

Choosing the right energy supplier can give you peace of mind that your needs will be considered. Take time to compare options; don’t be afraid to switch if you are unhappy. If you want to sell a probate property, click the link or get in today.

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