Who is the Cheapest Energy Supplier in 2022?

It’s the question we get asked more than any other every day: Who is the cheapest energy supplier in the UK? Unfortunately, even though we wish it was an easy answer, the answer isn’t so straightforward. This is because the cheapest energy supplier for you may not necessarily be the cheapest for your friends, family members, or even your next-door neighbour. There are a number of factors that determine the cost of your energy including where you live, how much energy you use and (depending on your meter type) what time of the day that you use it or even the ever fluctuating wholesale energy prices. In this post, we’ll attempt to compare and suggest some suppliers who may be the cheapest for you, as well as helping you to understand how you are charged for your energy and the costs that make up your bills.
Last update: January 2022

As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market crisis is driving up energy costs and putting several energy suppliers out of business. As a result, we have currently paused our supplier switching services, however, we hope to return as soon as possible. To learn more about this and stay updated you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.

Being able to afford your energy is an important thing and unfortunately, fuel poverty is still a significant issue in many parts of the UK. To combat this, and ensure that every household has access to an affordable energy plan is something very important to use here at Switch Plan. When we make a suggestion about low-cost energy suppliers we know that it isn’t just about minor savings, these are savings that can help people climb out of debt and make the savings that can mean a stable household. Which we believe is something that you can’t put a price tag on.

Who is the cheapest supplier in the UK?

The cheapest energy supplier in the UK is actually a very personalised thing, meaning that every household has unique energy needs and what might be the most economical energy plan for one person may not be as cost-effective for others. Every UK energy consumer is looking for something slightly different in a supplier and while there are certainly some energy plans and suppliers that are cheaper than others, the cheapest energy plan for you will depend on your unique needs.

That’s why it’s so important to get in touch with market experts that can make the comparisons for you, such as the Switch Plan team!

We take the time to get to know your circumstances and energy needs before providing you with a list of several energy suppliers and tariffs that have been matched specifically to you.

That said, we can provide some general advice on finding the cheapest energy supplier that will be of value to everyone

Top 4 cheapest variable-rate energy tariffs in the UK

Suppliers’ energy rates vary a great deal by region. A supplier’s rates in London may be different to their rates in Glasgow, Cardiff, or Liverpool. However, if we use national average energy rates and consumption, we can ascertain some of the cheapest energy deals on the market at the moment.

The following represent the 4 cheapest energy tariffs on the market at the time of writing. However, this is constantly changing, which is why it’s so important to talk to a member of our team to make sure you’re always getting the best deal.

The tariffs that we use to make the table below are variable rate tariffs of each energy supplier, these are the frequently the default tariffs for their customers and our baseline for price comparisons.


Energy Supplier Energy Tariff Electricity Annual Cost (£) Gas Annual Cost (£) Total Annual Cost (£)
Outfox the Market One Green Flex £ 640.21* £ 456.97* £ 1,097.18**
Orbit Energy 5% OFF 4 LIFE £ 645.532* £ 485.984* £ 1131.515**
Together Energy Green Together Smart Sum ExcVar £ 548.30* £ 502.91* £ 1,051.21**
Bulb Energy Simple Energy £ 692.626* £ 581.974* £ 1058.161388**

* Please note that these prices are for indicative purposes only and can shift on a regular basis. Indeed, prices are post-code based and can vary significantly from one region to another. However, we attempt to maintain as up to date pricing information as possible for your convenience. To get the most accurate information possible, you can call our experts today to get current prices for your location.
** Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.


It’s important to note that these plans are from all kinds of suppliers.

Top 3 cheapest fixed-rate energy tariffs in the UK

To summarize the difference between fixed and variable rate energy tariffs is actually quite simple, fixed-rate tariffs lock in the current costs of energy at the time of signing your contract and depending on the length of this contract you will not see your energy rates change at all over the contracted period of time. On the other hand, variable rate tariffs reflect the cost of energy in the greater UK energy market and as a result can fluctuate very often.

The most common fixed-rate tariff has a duration of 12 months, but there are actually tariff plans available for a variety of lengths including 24 months and even 36 months.

Below you can find our list of the 3 cheapest 12 month fixed-rate energy tariffs available in the UK:


Energy Supplier Energy Tariff Electricity Annual Cost (£) Gas Annual Cost (£) Total Annual Cost (£)
E.ON Next Next Online £ 633.727* £ 493.150* £ 1126.877**
EDF Energy Easy Online £ 607.917* £ 443.496* £ 1051.413**
So Energy So Cherry £ 992.95* £ 1,204.17* £ 2,197.12**

* Please note that these prices are for indicative purposes only and can shift on a regular basis. Indeed, prices are post-code based and can vary significantly from one region to another. However, we attempt to maintain as up to date pricing information as possible for your convenience. To get the most accurate information possible, you can call our experts today to get current prices for your location.
** Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.


Who is the cheapest energy supplier in 2021?

Again, the answers to this question are very subjective. The cheapest energy supplier will depend on your location, circumstances and what kind of meter you use. Rates for prepayment meters are generally more expensive, no matter who supplies your energy.

However, the following energy suppliers often rank among the cheapest:

The above suppliers are often ranked among the cheapest throughout the UK based on averages. You may be wondering why that is, or how one supplier can make their energy cheaper than others’. Here are a few reasons for this:

  • They provide renewable energy, which can actually be cheaper to buy wholesale.
  • They have reduced operational costs because they offer online or paperless tariffs.
  • They keep their profit margins razor-thin to make themselves more appealing to consumers, gaining more customers and improving their profits by keeping them on board.

Who is the cheapest energy supplier in my area?

That depends on your area. Northern Scotland and London tend to have the most expensive energy rates, while the North East and North West usually have the cheapest. The discrepancy between the areas with the highest and lowest rates can be as much as £65 per year.

For the following suppliers, we have created local pages for all major cities in the UK. Discover the local rates of these suppliers below:

Get in touch with the Papernest team by calling 0330 818 6223 to find out who supplies the cheapest energy plan where you are.

Has the Energy Price Cap increased in 2021?

Yes, the energy price cap is now 1,304.35. Ofgem has announced that in October 2021, the Energy Price Cap (the maximum supplied can charge for both fuels) will be increased from £1,138 to £1,277. An increase of £ 139.

The Energy Price Cap is revisited every 6 months in February and October to ensure that energy prices are fair and mitigate the risk of fuel poverty for UK energy consumers.

Which energy plan is the cheapest?

The cheapest energy plan (for the average consumer) at the moment is Orbit Energy’s 5% OFF 4 LIFE tariff. This is a standard variable-rate tariff offered to all of their customers. Keep in mind that this means energy rates can rise at any time. However, suppliers are obliged to give 30 days’ notice before changing your energy prices.

You can see the full details for the tariff below:


Plan Tariff type Type of fuel Standing charge (p/day) Unit rate cost (p/kWh) Average total annual cost (£/year) Exit cost (£/fuel)
5% OFF 4 LIFE Variable Rate Electricity 24.795 p* 17.173 p* £ 588.581** £ 0.000
5% OFF 4 LIFE Variable Rate Gas 24.067 p* 2.969 p* £ 444.185** £ 0.000

* Please note that these prices are for indicative purposes only and can shift on a regular basis. Indeed, prices are post-code based and can vary significantly from one region to another. However, we attempt to maintain as up to date pricing information as possible for your convenience. To get the most accurate information possible, you can call our experts today to get current prices for your location.
** Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.


Is Bulb the cheapest energy supplier?

Bulb has gained a reputation for being one of the cheapest energy suppliers on the market. As such, you may wonder at the brand’s absence in the table above.

Unlike most energy suppliers, Bulb only has one tariff, its Varifair tariff. This is a variable rate tariff that is constantly checked and revised to ensure that it delivers good value for money for Bulb customers. However, like any variable rate tariff, the Varifair rate rises and falls with the cost of energy, which is currently rising to pre-pandemic levels.

As of April 2021, the brand has increased its energy unit rates and standing charges by 13%. An increase that will cause energy costs to rise by around £91 per year on average. An additional price rise is expected to come in October 2021 as a result of the energy price cap being raised considerably, allowing energy suppliers to charge their customers more than in previous years.

For now, Bulb’s tariff is still fairly good value for money for a variable-rate tariff (variable energy plans are usually more expensive than their fixed-rate counterparts). However, it is not currently among the cheapest variable plans on the market, hence it being left off our list.

smiling piggy bank next to a pile of coins

Is Octopus energy cheap?

Although not featured in the current Top 5 cheapest energy plans, many find that Octopus Energy gives them excellent value for money. In an independent survey in 2020, Octopus Energy were rated 4 out of 5 stars for value for money and 5 out of 5 for bill accuracy.

Is Octopus energy better than Bulb?

Octopus Energy has won multiple “supplier of the year” awards and is consistently highly ranked for value for money and customer service. In an independent survey last year, Bulb and Octopus Energy were similarly rated for customer service, complaint handling and bill clarity. However, Octopus performed better for value for money and bill accuracy. Both suppliers offer 100% renewable energy.

One of Bulb’s selling points is its simple approach to tariffs with a single low variable-rate tariff. However, while most of Octopus Energy’s tariffs are fixed-rate, they come with no early exit fees. So you can enjoy both predictable energy costs and the freedom to switch whenever you like without consequences.

The Switch Plan team here at Papernest can help you decide which of these is the best fit for your unique needs.

Who is the cheapest green energy supplier?

The Switch Plan team can find the cheapest green energy supplier for your household, your locations and your needs. However, the following are often counted among the cheapest:

Below you can find a short summary of the cheapest green energy tariffs available in the UK right now. These are perfect for customers that are under a budget but do not want to compromise on sustainability!


Energy Supplier Energy Tariff Tariff Type Electricity Annual Cost (£) Gas Annual Cost (£) Total Annual Cost (£)
E.ON Next Next Online 12 Month Fixed Rate £ 633.727* £ 493.150* £ 1126.877**
Outfox the Market One Green Flex Variable Rate £ 640.21* £ 456.97* £ 1,097.18**
Octopus SuperGreenOctopus 24 Month Fixed Rate £ 682.072* £ 616.720* £ 1298.792**
Bulb Energy Vari-Fair Variable Rate £ 692.626* £ 581.974* £ 1058.161388**

* Please note that these prices are for indicative purposes only and can shift on a regular basis. Indeed, prices are post-code based and can vary significantly from one region to another. However, we attempt to maintain as up to date pricing information as possible for your convenience. To get the most accurate information possible, you can call our experts today to get current prices for your location.
** Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.


Is all green energy as Green as they claim?

Unfortunately, as a result of green energy becoming a major trend in consumer behaviour, many companies are jumping at chances to market their energy as renewable or green. However, now every supplier is as green as they claim, it’s what we call greenwashing and it is more common in the UK energy market than ever before.

How it works is that energy suppliers that genuinely do make renewable energy can receive REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin) certificates from the UK government for all of the renewable energy that they produce. However, these suppliers that genuinely are green and earn these certificates can then go to a secondary market and sell the certificates to other energy suppliers on the market that want to appear as if they offer renewable energy. The end result is that you could in theory have an energy supplier that uses 100% fossil fuels being able to legally claim their energy is renewable if they have purchased enough REGO certificates on the secondary market. The suppliers that we have mentioned above are all reliable for their own renewable energy and are not guilty of greenwashing.

The best way to spot a supplier that is doing this is to take a careful look at their energy fuel mix, which will reveal how they are producing the energy that they are delivering to their customers.

Is green energy cheap?

Renewable energy sources now make up around 40% of our national energy fuel mix. This means that the energy is sourced from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. This means that it is now cheaper than ever to source renewable and sustainable energy to your home.

Hence, most of the cheapest energy deals on the market today are 100% renewable energy plans. Although the UK has had green energy suppliers since the late 90’s, the renewable energy market has flourished in recent years.

As our renewable energy infrastructure grows, and more wind and solar farms are established, it’s only going to get cheaper to supply 100% renewable energy as opposed to energy from burning fossil fuels.

Is wind energy cheap?

The UK is actually a world leader in wind energy with an operational capacity of over 24,000 Megawatts. Because we generate more wind energy than any other country in the world, we can generate affordable renewable energy, making it cheaper to supply homes with wind energy than energy to fossil fuels. And the gulf in affordability is only going to widen in the future.

Our energy experts are here to help

Free service - Available Monday to Friday from 8.30 am until 5.30 pm

What does energy cost? Breaking down of your energy bill

Getting great value for money means constantly searching the market for the cheapest energy deals. Even the energy regulator Ofgem recommends changing suppliers every 12-18 months.

But it’s also important to understand what costs make up your energy bill. In order to see what energy costs, you need to first figure out where those costs come from.

Your energy bill is broken down as follows:

  • 33.87% is made up of wholesale energy costs.
  • 22.92% is dedicated to environmental and social obligation costs such as investing in renewable energy and carrying out renewable research & development.
  • 22.26% is made up of network charged to gas transporters and Distribution Network Operators that manage the National Grid in your area.
  • 16.77% is made up of the various operating costs that keep the company running.
  • 4.67% is VAT.
  • 1.48% is made up of other miscellaneous costs borne by the supplier.

Energy Costs through the crisis

As a result of a global gas shortage energy costs have skyrocketed, and as a result of this combined with the energy price cap not allowing energy suppliers to lift their rates past a certain point, many suppliers are actually going out of business. In essence, the UK energy market will either see the energy price cap temporarily suspended so that energy suppliers can recover, which would mean that consumers end up paying the cost, or the energy price cap remains in place and energy suppliers that cannot survive the competition go bust.

If you are currently with a small supplier and have concerns that it may go bust you may want to know what you’ll have to do next, or maybe even consider giving us a call at 0330 818 6223 to look at a new supplier that could be a better fit.

What are the factors that make energy expensive?

Have you ever wondered why some suppliers are so much cheaper than others? There are a number of factors that can make energy cheap.

These include:

Wholesale energy costs

When wholesale energy costs drop, as they did in 2020 with the drop in oil prices, energy suppliers save money. They can pass these savings on to their customers. This is one of the reasons why some people prefer variable-rate tariffs. When you’re locked into a fixed-rate tariff, you won’t benefit from falling wholesale energy costs.

Reduced operational costs

Basically, the less work an energy supplier has to do the cheaper your energy bills will be. Therefore, if you can do without a paper bill or call centre support, you’re likely to benefit from cheaper energy bills. The cost of printing and sending paper bills or managing a call centre is ultimately borne by the customer.

Paying by direct debit

Energy suppliers (especially smaller suppliers) operate on wafer-thin energy margins. As such, they benefit from knowing that they’ll get a consistent amount from customers month-by-month that will cover their energy costs. As such, they tend to reserve their best rates for customers who pay their bills by direct debit. It ensures them a degree of cash flow and liquidity that they are less likely to enjoy if they wait for posted bills to arrive and cheques to clear.

Where do energy companies make their profits?

Believe it or not, very little of the profit energy companies make is made on the unit rates for the energy you use. In fact, some suppliers don’t make any money at all on this. The majority of the profit energy companies make comes from their daily standing charges.

There are energy tariffs on the market that do not include standing charges. However, you should approach these with caution. No standing charges inevitably mean higher unit rates. You should only consider these for very low-usage households such as holiday homes or short term rentals.

Who is the most reliable supplier?

Many energy consumers assume that the larger energy suppliers are the most reliable. As such, around 70% of the UK’s energy is supplied by the “Big 6” energy companies. These are:

The “Big 6” are generally not the best value energy suppliers nor are they necessarily the greenest. Nonetheless, most energy consumers choose these suppliers because they’re stable and reliable. On the other hand, we’ve seen many smaller energy suppliers going out of business in recent years, with Robin Hood Energy and the many companies that they supply, along with Green Network Energy as prominent recent examples.

Is it safe to switch to a smaller supplier?

Switching to a smaller supplier is not necessarily risky, but the fact remains that small suppliers are more likely to struggle in the competitive environment of the UK’s energy market. What’s good to know is that even if your small supplier goes under and your supply is transferred to a new energy company, you may still be able to keep your existing rates and tariff until your contract expires. This can potentially give you enough time to evaluate your options and decide what tariff or supplier to go with next. It will also give you plenty of time to contact the Papernest team and discuss switching to the best supplier for your needs.

Why should I switch gas and electricity?

As a nation, we’re spending hundreds of millions of pounds more than we should be for the energy we use. Why? Because many of us mistakenly believe that our energy suppliers will reward our loyalty.

But the fact is that switching suppliers regularly can save you hundreds of pounds every year. What’s more, switching regularly keeps the energy market competitive and prevents suppliers from overcharging.

Would you like to know more information about comparing energy prices? Great! Check out these related articles

Call us to switch your energy supplier for free!

0330 818 6223

Notice

FAQ

Is wind power cheaper than coal?

Yes. The UK actually has the most wind energy capacity in the whole world. And as our wind energy infrastructure grows, it’ll only get cheaper to eschew coal and other fossil fuels and generate energy through renewables like wind.

Are smaller energy suppliers cheaper than the Big Six?

By and large, yes. The larger energy companies know that they have a bigger market share because of their ubiquitous branding, and rarely offer the most competitive deals on the market. Although sometimes an energy plan from a larger supplier will offer a competitive rate.

What is postcode pricing?

Postcode pricing refers to the way in which energy costs are higher in some areas than others. The cheapest locations for energy are the north east and the north west, while the most expensive is in London and northern Scotland.

How often should I switch energy supplier?

The energy watchdog Ofgem recommends switching energy suppliers every 12-18 months. This ensures that you’re always getting market-leading rates, while also keeping the energy market competitive.

What happens when my fixed energy plan expires?

That depends on your supplier. Some suppliers will automatically move you to the cheapest supplier. Others will relegate you to their standard variable tariff… which may be their least competitively priced. In either case, you should contact the Papernest team and let us find the cheapest energy plan for your needs.

Updated on 27 Jan, 2022

redaction Meet the content team
Redactor

Alex

Consumer Energy Expert

Redactor

william

UK Content Manager

Comments

bright star bright star bright star bright star grey star

To find out more about our comments processing policy please visit our dedicated page here.