Searching for the cheapest electricity supply

Searching for the cheapest electricity supply

Looking for the cheapest electricity supply should be simple. You check what each company is charging keypad and credit customers for a unit of electricity and, depending on what service you want, you make your choice accordingly. 

But the selection of the best value deals has become more complicated. You have to consider how much any bonuses on offer will reduce the bill and then, if relevant, how much charges will put the cost up. And also you need to be mindful if you’re on a contract what you might have to pay if your decide to quit the deal early.

Let’s deal with charges first. Two suppliers Budget Energy and Click Energy are applying standing charges which come on top of the cost of all the units you use. These fees range from roughly £30 to £40 a year. So they’re not incidental. On the calculator we take these charges into account when we present the totals for comparison so you don’t have to add them in.

What we don’t show in the totals however are the bonuses on offer though they are displayed when you tap the “more info” tab. That’s for a number of reasons including the fact that you may not qualify for them. But they’re increasingly important in the business of weighing up which supplier is right for you. Below are some of the more eye catching offers.

Budget Energy has recently unveiled a juicy £100 bonus through its Budget Advantage tariff  and is available for those who prepay with a keypad meter. The unit rate for this tariff is among the more costly on offer at 18.67 pence and is made more expensive with an annual standing charge of £36.62. The effective unit rate is almost 20 pence. For a typical home using 3200 units a year, the annual bill would be £634. However the £100 would reduce it to £534.

Electric Ireland also offer bonuses. For new keypad customers the maximum available is £40 with a £20 switching bonus at the start and a £20 loyalty payment typically paid in the middle of the twelfth month after the switch. However the unit rate is lower than Budget Energy’s at 18.34 pence. For a typical home the annual bill would be £587. The switching bonus would reduce that by £20. The loyalty top up payment would produce a further £20 saving delivering an overall cost of £547. 

Electric Ireland also offer bonuses to new credit customers. A switcher opting to pay by direct debit and to receive their bills online will get a £50 bonus. For a typical household, the annual bill will be £587 less the bonus which produces an overall cost of £537.

SSE Airtricity offers £55 worth of electricity to switchers opting for its Welcome Credit tariff which requires payment by direct debit and online billing. The unit rate is quite high at 18.76 pence. The numbers for a typical household work out like this: £600 less the bonus which produces a total of £545. The company also competes with itself by offering customers willing to pay by direct debit and get online billing with no bonus but at a lower rate at 16.97 pence. The overall cost for the average home works out at £543 

Not a massive difference between any of these tariffs. But they may well offer savings over your current deal. That said what’s critically important is to find out whether you qualify for the bonuses before you decide to whom to give your custom.

Choices are not necessarily all about cost however. Some consumers will want to know what impact their electricity usage has on climate change. Information is available showing the carbon content of the supplies from individual companies. This article should help identify the green credentials of the various firms.

This article and the calculator are to point you in the direction of possible savings. Before choosing a tariff, it’s essential you research supplier rates, offers and charges and other relevant information through sources independent of For's full terms and conditions please see Lastly you are advised to check calculator results with the help of other price comparison sites. 

Last updated on 07/11/2019

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