Ittria monitors energy tariffs around the UK through their own comparison site, Switch-It, which looks for early trends in consumer preferences to offer the lowest tariffs to letting agents, homeowners and tenants. We’re putting the spotlight on London to evaluate the state of the energy market in the UK’s capital.
London has a reputation for being expensive, with everything costing over the odds compared to the rest of the United Kingdom. It’s no different when it comes to the cost of energy. Ofgem’s 2019 State of the Energy Market report highlighted the disparity in energy costs for domestic customers across the country, looking at 2018 figures.
Although there were other areas during this timeframe with higher average gas bills, London far exceeds the rest of the country when it comes to the average annual electricity bill, with only the chilly north of Scotland coming close to the prices paid in London. In London, the combined average gas and electricity bills in 2018 were around £1,362.
It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that in 2018, around 10% of Londoners were in fuel poverty. A household is considered to be in fuel poverty if after paying their fuel costs, they’re left with an income that puts them below the official poverty line. This amounts to more than 335,000 households in London affected by fuel poverty.
Leading London energy providers
As in the rest of the UK, London is dominated by the ‘Big Six’ energy providers. That is, the majority of homes in London are powered by British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power or SSE.
There are other options, of course, including some London-specific energy providers. Whether you pay your energy bills by direct debit, prepayment or standard credit, it’s likely that you’ll make savings by switching from one of the Big Six suppliers to an alternative.
For example, Ofgem found that the cheapest Big Six tariff for direct debit payments was £1,050.87 but the cheapest market tariff available was £820.11, making an annual saving of £230.76. Similarly, the cheapest Big Six tariff for prepay customers was £1,028.21, but the cheapest alternative tariff was £945.76. Switching could save you £82.45 over the course of a year.
Alternative London energy suppliers
What options are there for switching energy provider in London? Other than the Big Six, there are plenty of smaller, contender companies vying for your custom. Many of these offer green energy, and some, like Angelic Energy and Beam Energy, are even specific to London.
In early 2020, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, announced the launch of a new energy company that will provide 100% renewable energy to Londoners. London Power is powered by Octopus Energy and was created by the Mayor as part of an effort towards making London a zero carbon city, as well as part of a solution to tackle the issue of fuel poverty in the city. London Power offers a 12-month fixed tariff, which will typically cost within the cheapest 10% of similar tariffs on the market. It’s estimated that a switch to London Power will help average households to make a saving of around £300 a year.
Specific London councils have also launched initiatives to help residents in that area. Angelic Energy is a not-for-profit company that was set up by Islington Council to offer a cheaper energy supply to Londoners. All of Angelic’s electricity tariffs are 100% green, and their energy is supplied by Robin Hood Energy, another not-for-profit supplier based in Nottingham and serving the surrounding area.
In Barking and Dagenham, Beam Energy, also powered by Robin Hood Energy, offers low-cost energy to residents looking to switch energy suppliers. Beam offers a number of different tariffs and payment options, and estimates that customers can make an average saving of £91 by switching to one of their most competitive fixed price tariffs.
Student energy in London
London has a huge student population, spread out across college and university accommodation as well as private tenants. It’s estimated that there are around 300,000 full-time students and 110,000 part-time students living and studying in the capital. But what do students, parents of students, or landlords focused on a student market need to know about choosing an energy supplier?
The first important thing to note is that you don’t need to stay with the incumbent supplier. If you pay the energy bills in your name, then you have every right to choose the supplier. If you pay rent with bills included, then it’s the landlord’s decision as to what supplier to use.
Usually, it’s much cheaper to switch energy suppliers than to stay with the one that’s already supplying the flat. Take a meter reading as soon as you move in, and use Ittria’s Switch-It service to discover whether you’d be better off switching from one of the Big Six suppliers.
When you switch with Ittria, you or your tenant are guaranteed to be on one of the best-value tariffs in the UK, saving, on average, over £100 on energy costs. That’s not an insignificant sum, especially when you consider that gas and electricity bills are often the biggest outgoing expense for students, after rent.
As well as cost, there are other factors you might want to consider when choosing which energy supplier to go for, such as:
- Energy usage: How much energy do you and your flatmates use?
- Flexibility: Consider how long you might be staying in your rented accommodation. Is it important that you can quickly and easily get out of your contract, or are you happy to be tied to a longer contract, for 12 or 18 months?
- Dual fuel: Does your flat have both gas and electricity? If so, consider whether you want both services to come from the same supplier (known as dual fuel). It’s often cheaper to set up your contract this way, but be sure to price check all options.
- Green energy: Is it important to you that your energy comes from a renewable, sustainable source? There are lots of energy suppliers now that offer green energy options, including Octopus Energy, and they’re often cheaper than the Big Six suppliers.
Finding the right energy supplier in London
Although London is one of the more expensive areas in the UK when it comes to paying for energy bills, you don’t have to pay over the odds. There’s a much wider choice available than you might expect, so you don’t have to stick with one of the Big Six suppliers, whether you’re a tenant, landlord or homeowner. Use Ittria’s Switch-It service to find the best tariff from you, and see how much you could save.