kWh: What is the price of energy in the UK?

Gas and electricity are measured in kWh, although they are charged at different rates. The price of a kWh of energy will vary according to what tariff you are on, your chosen supplier, where you are in the country and even what time of the day you use it. If you feel you are paying too much for your kWh, then you are entitled to look for a better deal from another supplier. Here at Papernest we can help you make this switch.As prices per kWh vary according to what part of the UK you live in, it might be worth comparing energy prices to find a tariff that suits you best. But first, lets dive into the cost of kWh.
Last update: April 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.

It’s also worth thinking about what appliances you use in your home and how much power they consume, as this has a big impact on your energy bill. There are also a number of other ways you can reduce your energy usage, such as better insulation, boiler maintenance and changing energy habits.

How much does a kWh of energy cost in the UK?

The average price per kWh of electricity in the UK is 16.3p. For gas it is 3.8p. However, these are just the national averages. Different regions of the UK pay more or less for their energy, and the rate you pay also depends on your contract or rate with your supplier. Generally, a kWh of energy will cost less on a fixed rate than it will on a standard variable rate, so it is worth checking your bill to see what tariff you are on.

Your bill will list how much you pay per kWh of energy, and help you to compare your rates to the national average and those offered by other suppliers.

What does kilowatt hour mean?

A kilowatt hour, known as a kWh, is a way of measuring how much energy you consume. It is a unit that keeps track of the amount of energy used by appliances running over a period of time.

Imagine you have a 100-watt lightbulb switched on. It would take 10 hours to use up 1 kWh of energy. Alternatively, a 2,000-watt tumble dryer would use 1 kWh in just 30 minutes.

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What can you use a kWh for?

Once you understand what a kWh is and how it works, it opens the door to saving money on your energy bills. For example, every appliance in your home will have a watt rating telling you how much power it uses. For example, you may have a 500-watt heater. That means if you run the heater for one hour it will use 500 watts or half a kWh. This means you can work out how many kWh every appliance uses and see how much it is costing you to run.

You can do this by finding out how much you are paying per kWh of energy. This information will be on your bill. Depending on the type of tariff or meter you have, there may be more than one kWh charge. However, your bill is not quite that simple. As well as paying for your usage, you also need to pay the standing charge (which also all suppliers use in the UK). This is the daily rate you pay to maintain your supply. This, plus your usage, tells you how much you will pay on your bill.

What is the average electricity standing charge?

Standing charges generally range from about 5p to 60p per day for electricity, depending on your choice of tariff and location. It is usually paid at a flat rate, so won’t go up or down over time, unlike the cost per kWh of power.

Ofgem removed the legal requirement to have a standing charge in 2016. There are currently several suppliers in the UK who have opted not to use it such as Utilita with their Smart Energy tariffs. This might sound like a good idea deal but the price per unit is high, so whether you save at all could depend on factors like your energy usage or location. This is why we don’t recommend them for most households that use energy every day, but we do for vacation homes that may go extended periods of time without the power being used.

kWh cost UK

Who has the cheapest energy per kwh?

The cheapest suppliers in the UK, based on the average electricity use of 2,900 kWh a year, are as follows:

Supplier Plan name Tariff type Is the tariff live? Standing charge (p/day) Unit rate cost (p/kWh) Average total annual cost (£/year) Exit cost (£/fuel) Green tariff**
Click Energy / Fixed
24 months
8.90 p* 15.45 p* £ 480.56* £ 75.00 ✖️
Click Energy / Fixed
12 months
8.90 p* 16.49 p* £ 510.72* £ 30.00 ✖️
Click Energy / Green
Fixed 12
11.65 p* 16.99 p* £ 535.26* £ 30.00 ✔️

* Please note that these prices are national averages and can vary significantly from one region to another. Despite the current volatility of the market, we attempt to maintain this pricing information as up-to-date as possible. Prices and availabilities are therefore updated on a weekly basis. To get the most accurate information possible, you can call our experts today that will give you the current prices for your location.
* Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900.00 kWh of electricity and 12,000.00 kWh of gas per year.
** We consider tariffs as Green tariffs if for each kWh consumed the supplier injects the same amount of electricity exclusively produced from renewable energy sources in the grid.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.


Gas price per kwh

The five cheapest gas tariffs in the UK based on an average annual usage of around 12,000 kWh are currently:

Supplier Plan name Tariff type Is the tariff live? Standing charge (p/day) Unit rate cost (p/kWh) Average total annual cost (£/year) Exit cost (£/fuel) Green tariff**
EDF / Fixed
12 months
21.48 p* 3.04 p* £ 443.50 * £ 15.00 ✖️
Coop Energy / Standard Variable 23.84 p* 3.26 p* £ 478.28* £ 0.00 ✖️
Scottish Power / Prepayment Variable 36.18 p* 2.89 p* £ 478.83 * £ 0.00 ✖️

* Please note that these prices are national averages and can vary significantly from one region to another. Despite the current volatility of the market, we attempt to maintain this pricing information as up-to-date as possible. Prices and availabilities are therefore updated on a weekly basis. To get the most accurate information possible, you can call our experts today that will give you the current prices for your location.
* Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900.00 kWh of electricity and 12,000.00 kWh of gas per year.
** We consider tariffs as Green tariffs if for each kWh consumed the supplier injects the same amount of electricity exclusively produced from renewable energy sources in the grid.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.


Electricity prices per kwh

In 2019, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy(BEIS) declared the average cost for standard electricity in the UK was 16.3 p/kWh.

However, the average rates did differ depending on where you were in the UK. For example, people in Northern Ireland were paying 17.8 p/kWh while those in London paid just 15.4 p/kWh on average.

To find out if you are paying above or below the UK average, take a look at your most recent bill. This should give you the electricity price you are paying per kWh. If it’s less than 16.3p/kWh then you are on an affordable tariff. However, again, it does depend where you live.

– Is gas cheaper than electricity?

Gas is cheaper than electricity. The average cost of a kWh of gas in the UK is around 3.8p. For electricity, it is about 16.3p. However, as around 80% of homes in the UK are hooked up to gas mains and use this as a heating source, we tend to use a lot more gas.

On average we use about 12,000 kWh of gas a year in the Uk. This will go up and down depending on the size of your home. We use around 2,900 kWh of electricity on average. So, it usually means we end up paying a little more per year for electricity than we do for gas.

What affects the price per kWh?

There are a number of factors that affect the cost of a kWh of both gas and electricity in the UK. Increases in price are usually due to an increase in the wholesale price. For electricity, this is usually down the amount generated. This can be determined by environmental factors and the state of the economy. But it’s not just wholesale prices that affect kWh costs

Prices also go up and down due to competition. The Big Six energy providers tend to set the prices and group very closely together around the energy price cap. When one raises or lower prices the others usually do the same, and this influences the smaller suppliers around the UK.

Gas prices are also affected by international factors such as global supply, as well as by the season and weather conditions. Depending on what kind of meter you have, the price of a kWh may also change according to the time of day.

How are energy bills calculated?

Two main components make up your energy bill. These are the amount of energy you use in kWh and the standing charge – the daily costs of supplying your home. There are also other associated costs such as taxes and environmental charges:

Your bill can be broken down as follows:

  • 67% supplier margins and costs
  • 16% distribution charges
  • 2% transmission charges
  • 6% environmental charges
  • 5% VAT
  • 4% other

How can you make your energy bills cheaper?

There are numerous ways that you can save on your energy bills, including:

  1. Turning off standby appliances
  2. Installing a smart thermostat
  3. Turning down your thermostat
  4. Installing a new boiler
  5. Washing clothes at a lower temperature
  6. Being smarter about water
  7. Thinking about how well your home is insulated
  8. Using up to date appliances

However, the main thing to do is to make a switch to a provider that offers better rates, which could help you to save up to £300 on your energy bills.

Switch energy suppliers

Without doubt, the best way to save money on your energy bills is to switch provider. There are around 50 small and large suppliers in the UK, each targeting customers in different ways. Depending on how you use your energy, there may be a tariff more suitable to your needs. That means you could find a deal that offers you better value, a dual fuel option, or more sustainable energy to help you reduce your footprint.

All you have to do is find a tariff that you like, then you can make the switch. It couldn’t be easier. Plus, here at Papernest we are on hand to help you with everything you need to switch. Just give us a call on 0330 818 6225 to find out more.

Electricity prices per kWh per region

The average electricity bill per month in the UK is £56.50. However, this can be broken down into three sizes of home:

  1. Small home: £26.50
  2. Medium home: £40.50
  3. Large home: £59.25

However, the rates you pay for electricity also vary according to where you live. The rates per kWh across the UK are as follows:

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

Fixed Electricity Costs per region

As well as paying for what you use, you also have to pay the standing charge. The average charge across the UK is 20.58p but these also vary around the UK as follows:

Region of the UK Average standing charge
Merseyside & North Wales 21.53p
South Scotland 21.47p
North Scotland 20.73p
North East 20.63p
West Midlands 20.54p
Yorkshire 20.53p
London 20.39p
South Wales 20.30p
North West 20.29p
Southern 20.28p
Eastern 20.26p
East Midlands 20.22p
South West 19.45p
South East 19.25p

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

Call us to switch your energy supplier for free!

0330 818 6225

Notice

FAQ

Is gas cheaper than electricity?

The price per kWh is much cheaper for gas in the UK than electricity, which is why we generally use it for central heating and hot water. However, as we use more of it for these reasons it tends to cost about the same as electricity over the course of a year.

How to work out how much energy is used by an appliance?

To see how many kWh an appliance might be using, find the label and see what wattage it is. If it is 500w, for example, it would need to be on for two hours to make 1000w, or 1kWh.

Who has the cheapest electricity per kWh?

New tariffs are always coming on the market offering cheaper deals. It’s important to look at the difference between unit prices per kWh and the standing charges. These are combined for overall energy prices. However, the energy supplier that has the cheapest unit price is Click Energy's Bill Pay 24 Hour 2 Year Discount tariff currently which is around 15.45p per kWh.

Average annual bill per region

The average energy bill across the UK can vary according to the different tariffs, kWh rates and standing charges that apply in different regions.

Updated on 9 May, 2022

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