What is The Average Electric Bill?

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Many UK energy consumers are spending far more than they should on their energy bills. Of course, in an era where we’re more reliant than ever on electrical and electronic devices. Furthermore, many of us are also working from home. Since we’ve been in lockdown, the average electricity prices may have risen slightly. Actuallty, during confinement many UK households are spending more on our energy. But while energy use may be unavoidable, overspending on your energy bills certainly is *not*. In this article, we’ll work out the average electric bill in the UK, examine how your electric bill is calculated, and look at some ways in which you can drive down the cost of energy in your home.
Last update: June 2022

As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market is currently under an immense amount of stress as a result of a global gas shortage driving up costs and putting several energy suppliers out of business. To learn more about this and stay updated on a daily basis you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.

On average, Brits pay around £526.23 per year for their electricity. This translates to around £43.86 per month, with average unit rates clocking in at around 14.37p per kWh of electricity. Bit if you’re paying more than this for your energy, you’re far from alone!

What is the average electric bill?

It’s an unfortunate but unavoidable truth that UK energy consumers are spending too much on the energy they use. According to a report by the National Audit Office in 2020 we, as a nation, are spending over £800 million more than we should on the gas and electricity that we use.

As such, even if we work out the average electric bill in the UK, it’s important to remember that even if your energy spend is roughly average, you could still be paying too much.

The Papernest team understand that the most important way to reduce your energy spend is by switching suppliers regularly. This is why we’re passionate about helping every household to find the perfect energy plan for their needs. Whatever your energy usage, we can help you to reduce your energy spending.

There is no set figure for the average electric bill. However, we can establish a rough formula to work this out.

  • The median average UK electricity consumption is 2,900 kWh per year
  • The median average unit cost per kWh is around 14.37p
  • Daily standing charges can range between 5p and 60p so the median average is around 30p
  • So, first we need to multiply 0.1437 by 2,900 to work out the average per kWh spend (£416.73)
  • Next, we need to work out the average cost of standing charges. For this we multiply 0.30 by 365 (£109.50).

So, this makes the average electricity bill for households that use dual fuels is around £526.23.

Of course, your electricity spend may vary, as there are a lot of factors that decide how much you pay for your electricity bill.

What is the average electric bill per month?

Now that we know that the average electric bill for the year is £526.23, we can divide this by 12 to work out the monthly bill. This comes to roughly £43.86.

Again, this is based on households that use both gas and electricity. Of course, your electricity bill may vary from this average amount considerably if your household uses electricity only, or if you pay for your home has a prepayment meter.

How much does the average house pay for electricity?

When you apply or a new electricity tariff, the Papernest team recommends always providing a rough idea of your electricity spend. You can supply this on either a monthly or annual basis. However, if you are unable to supply this, energy suppliers will estimate your usage based on the size of your home.

The assumption is that the bigger your home, the more occupants it will have, the more it will cost to heat, and the more electrical appliances and devices will be in use. With that in mind, let’s take a look at…

Average energy bill by house size

By and large, energy suppliers classify energy consumers as low, medium and high usage based on the size of their property. Unit consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh) is ascribed to each. This is as follows:

  • Low- 1,800 kWh
  • Medium- 2,900 kWh
  • High- 4,300 kWh

We can use these figures to estimate average electricity bill by size of property…

Small house

A small house, with 1 bedroom or no bedrooms (i.e. studio apartment) uses an estimated 1,800 kWh per year. If we multiply this by the national average unit cost, this gives us £258.66 per year. To this we add the median average standing charge of 30p multiplied by 365 (£109.50).

Combined, this makes £368.16 per year or £30.68 per month.

Your bill will likely be higher if yours is not a dual-fuel household.

Medium House

A medium-sized house (one with 2-3 bedrooms) is estimated to use the UK average amount of 2,900 kWh of electricity per year. Using the calculations above, this gives us an annual spend of £526.23, or approximately £43.86 per month.

Large house

A large house is classified as a home with 4 bedrooms or more. UK energy suppliers presume usage of around 4,300 kWh of electricity per year for a property of this size. This gives us an average spend of £617.91 in unit cists, to which we add £109.50 in standing charges per year. This gives us an annual spend of £727.41 per year, or £60.62 per month.

Again, single-fuel households will likely pay more.

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What is a good price for electricity per kWh?

The average UK unit cost per kWh is 14.37 pence. As such, if your unit rates per kWh are lower than this, there’s a good chance that your energy bills will be below average. However, that’s not to say that you can’t make further savings. The Papernest team are always happy to advise when it comes to reducing your energy spend. Not only can we always match you to the cheapest energy deal for your needs and usage, we also provide a wealth of practical advice on how to reduce your energy usage.

Are there different electricity prices per kWh per region?

Yes, different areas across the UK have different unit costs per kWh. This may seem unfair, and many energy consumers complain of a “postcode lottery” when it comes to energy supply. However, the simple truth is that it costs energy suppliers more to reach certain areas.

Regional energy prices are determined by a number of factors:

  • The number of customers a supplier has in each area
  • The amount of energy the supplier generates (or buys from generators) in the area.
  • The charges imposed by the Distribution Network in the area
  • How much energy is used by consumers in the area

You can see average regional electricity prices per kWh in the table below:

UK region Average unit rate (pence per kWh)
North Scotland 15.60p
South Scotland 13.97p
North East 14.26p
North West 14.27p
Yorkshire 13.92p
East Midlands 13.86p
West Midlands 14.25p
Merseyside and North Wales 15.18p
South Wales 15.07p
South West 15.54p
London 14.53p
South East 14.68p
Eastern 14.06p
Southern 14.29p

Are business electricity rates cheaper than domestic?

By and large, yes. If you run a business energy suppliers will be able to sell you more energy. Even small businesses and microbusinesses typically have higher energy usage needs than the average household. Because you’re likely to be using more energy, suppliers will charge you less per kWh.

Generally speaking, the more energy you use, the lower the kWh rate will be. Energy rates are negotiated individually and will depend on a range of factors including:

  • Your business’ location/s
  • How much energy you use
  • Your peak energy load hours

How do kWh prices evolve over time?

Energy costs (measured in kWh) generally rise and fall in line with the cost of wholesale energy. By rule of thumb they usually trend upwards in line with inflation and the ebb and flow of supply and demand. However, they can often dip. In 2020, for instance, the cost of oil plummeted when the world went into lockdown. This had a knock-on effect on the wholesale cost of energy.

As such, the Ofgem energy price cap was reduced to a historic low.

But what goes down must come back up, and the Ofgem energy price cap is expected to rise later in 2021, and the cost of energy along with it. This is why many energy consumers are choosing fixed-price tariffs to insulate themselves from rising energy costs in the future.

Who has the cheapest electricity per kWh?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Every supplier’s electricity costs can vary depending on your location and the energy tariff you choose. This is why the Papernest team take the time to get to know your energy needs and consumption before matching the perfect tariff to your household’s needs.

What makes up my electricity bills?

Ever wondered what the money you pay your electricity supplier actually pays for?

Let’s break down your electricity bill into its component parts, so you can better understand how (and how much) you are charged.

Unit costs

This is the cost of the energy you use per kWh. Believe it or not, energy suppliers make very little profit on the cost of the energy you use, and some suppliers make no profit on this at all.

Daily standing charges

On top of your unit rates, you will also pay a daily standing charge. This is how energy suppliers pay for all the costs that come with running their business, and its where suppliers make the lion’s share of their profits.

Some energy suppliers have energy tariffs with no standing charges, but you should approach these with caution. No standing charges inevitably means higher unit costs. If you use a lot of energy, you may well end up paying more on one of these tariffs. They are best suited to holiday lets, short term rentals or households with very low energy usage.

VAT

Your energy is also subject to VAT charges. However, the VAT rate for domestic energy is just 5% as opposed to the regular 20%.

What costs the most on your electric bill?

Your electricity unit costs typically make up the biggest expenses on your electricity bill. While unit costs and daily standing charges tend to be fairly similar, the average household uses around 10 kWh of energy per day. So these charges make up the lion’s share of your energy bill.

What is the energy price cap and why is it important?

The energy price cap was implemented by the energy watchdog Ofgem to protect energy consumers form fuel poverty, and ensure that the market remains competitive. At the time of writing, the energy price cap stands at £1,042 per year for both gas and electricity. So your bills may not exceed this amount. This is the lowest that the price cap has been since its inception in 2019.

Again, however, it’s important to note that the energy price cap is expected to rise in April 2021. The energy price cap is adjusted every 6 months.

Average Electric Bill 2

How can I spend less on electricity?

With the energy price cap expected to rise, we can expect to see energy costs increase later in 2021. Of course, the Papernest team will always be on hand to ensure that you get the best possible tariff for your needs and budget. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to find ways to conserve electricity.

Why is my power bill so high?

If your power bill is high even though you’re on a competitively priced tariff, it’s likely that your energy use is the cause of your increased energy spend. Many of us have found ourselves using more energy under lockdown. But that doesn’t mean that we need to pay through the nose for it. A few energy-conserving steps can make a big difference.

Install a smart meter

Unless you’re taking and reporting monthly meter readings, at least some of your bills will be based on estimates. These are based on your property’s historic usage… which may not necessarily be your usage. Installing a smart meter means that your usage data is automatically transmitted to your supplier. So you only ever get fair and accurate bills.

Before you can reduce your energy spending, you need to get a clear idea of how much you’re using. Fortunately, your smart meter will come with an In Home Display (IHD) device that allows you to track the impact of energy-saving measures in real time.

What appliances use most electricity?

To reduce your energy bills, it’s a good idea to identify which appliances use the most energy. You can see a breakdown of the appliances that use the most energy per use in the table below.

Appliance / Device Energy Cost Per Use Average Annual Cost To Run
LCD TV 0.21kWh £50.08
Fridge Freezer 0.40kWh £40.80
Tumble Dryer 2.50kWh £37.00
Electric hob 0.71kWh £30.10
Electric oven 1.56kWh £21.08
Dishwasher 1.44kWh £19.44
Kettle 0.11kWh £16.90

Use these more sparingly (e.g. only use the amount of water you need when boiling the kettle), and you could find that you gradually bring down the cost of your energy from month-to-month. Furthermore, if your home has a dual-rate meter (i.e. economy 7 or economy 10), you could save more money by using these during off-peak hours.

Does unplugging things save electricity?

Yes, absolutely. Your household is full of electricity vampires like TVs, games consoles, media players and even some kitchen appliances that spend a lot of time on standby mode. You may not be aware, however, that such appliances use up to 80% as much energy on standby as they do while active.

Unplugging them when not in use, or plugging them into a smart energy strip can spare you the cost of keeping these devices on standby.

Is 50 kWh a day a lot?

The average household uses between 8 and 10 kWh of electricity per day. So, if your energy spend is 50 kWh per day, your use is considerably higher than average. However, even households with high energy can stand to make significant savings on their electricity bills. It’s just a case of choosing the best supplier for your needs and usage.

How is my average bill impacted by my energy plan?

Your energy plan can have a huge impact on your bills. The less you pay in unit rates and standing charges, the lower your bills will be. So even if your usage is above average, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your bills have to be above average.

Get in touch with the Papernest team today to see how much you could save on your energy bills. We can help you to find the cheapest energy bill for your needs, and even manage your switch from end-to-end. So you can enjoy cheaper energy quickly and without hassle.

Call us today on 0330 818 6225.

We’re available from 8am to 6pm.

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FAQ

How much is the average electric bill in the UK?

If we multiply the average unit rate per kWh (14.37p) with the average electricity consumption for UK households (2,900 kWh), this gives us an average energy cost of around £43.86 per month. This is based on consumption for dual-fuel households. Households that only use electricity may pay more.

When do electric bills price rise?

Electricity costs tend to rise whenever the cost of wholesale energy goes up. This is why many UK energy consumers prefer to get a fixed-rate tariff to insulate themselves from rising energy costs.

Does leaving something plugged in use electricity?

Yes. Especially devices that are on standby mode when not in use. In fact, devices that are left on standby can use up to 80% as much energy as they use when active.

What affects the average gas and electricity bill?

There are a lot of factors that could affect the average gas and electricity bill. These include:

  • Wholesale energy costs
  • Your location
  • Your energy usage
  • Your energy supplier and tariff

Is electricity expensive in the UK?

Although UK householders are generally paying more than they should for the energy they use, energy costs are actually higher in most of Europe.

Updated on 15 Jun, 2022

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