Published On: Wed, Apr 3rd, 2019

What are the Average Gas and Electricity Bills in the UK?

How much does it cost you annually to heat your home, cook your dinner, and charge your mobile phone? And how do those bills compare to those paid by your neighbours for the same volts and natural gas?

If you’re paying more than the average, could you save money by opting for a cheap energy tariff from a different supplier, comparing energy deals and switching? Could you also find even more savings by decreasing your energy use, perhaps by being more conscious of your consumption—a smart meter can help with this—and increasing the efficiency of your property?

Average energy use by British households

When you compare energy tariffs, you’ll see prices based on the typical energy consumption of a household. These levels are set by Ofgem, which last revised its Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCVs) in October 2017.

Electricity: Profile Class 1Low1,900
Electricity: Profile Class 2*Low2,500

* Economy 7 customers, who pay less for energy consumed at night and often have electric storage heaters rather than boilers and thus consume more electricity and less gas

But what are average annual energy consumption values? Estimates vary, but reportedly it was 3,940kWh of electricity in 2014. This was 20% higher than the global average of 3,370kWh but significantly lower than the 10,399 kWh of electricity consumed by American households, which have larger floor plans and run electricity-intensive air conditioning units at least several months a year.

Average domestic gas consumption in the UK is around 13,000 kWh per household per year.

This may seem like a lot of kilowatt hours, but energy consumption by British households is actually falling, as our homes and appliances become more energy efficient. Of course, it will have to fall further, as the UK cuts its carbon emissions, 25% of which come from energy generation, by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

Average energy cost by British households

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) releases annual statistics about domestic energy bills in the UK:

Average annual electricity bills, 2018 (based on consumption of 3,800 kWh)

RegionDirect Debit (yearly change)Standard Credit (yearly change)Prepayment (yearly change)
England & Wales£660 (+9.8%)£735 (+9.0%)£661 (+6.1%)
Scotland£666 (+9.9%)£738 (+9.5%)£669 (+6.7%)
Northern Ireland£659 (+20%)£712 (25.4%)£621 (+12.5%)

Average annual gas bills, 2018 (based on consumption of 15,000 kWh)

RegionDirect Debit (yearly change)Standard Credit (yearly change)Prepayment (yearly change)
England & Wales£567 (+7.5%)£642 (+6.9%)£577 (+3.9%)
Scotland£581 (+7.6%)£644 (+7.2%)£584 (+4.5%)
Northern Ireland£575 (+17.5%)£622 (+22.8%)£542 (+10.1%)

These figures put the average total energy cost for British households at more than £1,200 a year.

In 2016, the last year for which data is available, energy regulator Ofgem found that British households spent 4% of their total expenditure on energy. For the poorest 10% of households, that figure was 8.4%.

Energy bills have been rising for British households recently, as suppliers pass on rising wholesale prices to their customers. British households weathered an average of one price increase from suppliers each week with some large, Big Six suppliers hiking prices twice in one year.

While a new price cap has limited the price of standard variable and default dual-fuel tariffs to £1,137 with typical consumption, energy costs are likely to rise in 2019, as supplier costs are driven up by the weakened pound and uncertainty about how Brexit will impact energy regulation and their access to global energy markets.

How do your consumption and bills stack up?

To find out how much energy your household is using, consult your energy bill: it will display how much electricity and gas, in kilowatt hours, you’ve used since your last bill, usually issued the previous month. If you have a smart meter installed, monitoring your energy use, in real-time and over time, will be even easier: you’ll be able to access data about your consumption via an in home display and smart phone app.

Your bill will also tell you how much money you’re expected to spend on energy over the next 12 months, based on your previous consumption, if you stick with your current tariff. And if you’re paying over the odds, your bill will alert you to that as well, with a tariff comparison rate (TCR) showing you how much you’re paying per kilowatt hour of energy with your current supplier, compared to how much other tariffs on the market charge.