Gas and Electricity Frequently Asked Questions

Gas and Electricity Suppliers and Tariffs

  • Tariffs Used in Databases

    All gas and electricity tariffs shown in the results tables are currently available energy tariffs. We assume that you are on a current tariff and not a historical tariff no longer available from the supplier. Please bear in mind that this may impact upon the calculations given.

    In order to compare prices, it is best to enter the number of kilowatt hours that you use as opposed to the amount of money you spend. If you do not have the kWhs, then you can enter the amounts you pay monthly, quarterly or annually. When you do this, the calculator works out how many kWh's you use, but it uses the latest available tariffs to do this and does not take into account any changes to the rates for that tariff. It will then use the calculated number of kWh's to work out what each supplier will charge for the next 12 months based on existing tariffs. The results page shows how the suppliers compare to each other for the same amount of energy used.

  • Tariff Details

    The detailed tariff information for each supplier tariff is found by clicking on the tariff name or on 'view tariff information label' in the results table. This page will show all unit rates, details of any primary or secondary units and their thresholds and details of any discounts or charges and the Terms & Conditions.

  • Late Payment Penalty Charges

    Some suppliers will charge extra penalty charges for late payments. These extra penalty charges are not included in these price comparisons.

    Some suppliers will charge for cheque payments. Where this applies, an extra charge is included in the prices and this is noted in the suppliers information box.

    The calculations on this website assume that customers are taking advantage of the best options available, and that no extra charges are included for late payments or payments by means which cause surcharges.

  • VAT

    All prices used on this on the domestic calculator include VAT at the prevailing rate. Rates quoted for business gas and electricity exclude VAT.

  • Supplier Ratings

    One factor to consider when switching your energy supplier is the levels of service and customer satisfaction. UKPower and Ofgem are all keen to promote the needs for high standards of customer service.

    The ratings given on this website are the results of customer surveys carried out by the independent company J.D. Power. Neither UKPower or any of the energy suppliers have any influence over the outcome of these surveys.

  • Restricted Hour Tariffs (RHTs)

    Restricted Hour Tariffs (RHTs) exist in some properties where there is more than one meter. Energy is only available through each meter at certain times of the day, and is charged at a different rate for each meter. UKPower do not compare RHTs, but please see the table below for information concerning the policy of all the major suppliers:

    Supplier RHT Policy
    British Gas RHTs are not supported for new customers.
    E.ON RHTs are supported to new customers in areas with no mains gas.
    EDF RHTs are not supported for new customers.
    npower RHTs are not supported for new customers.
    Scottish Power RHTs are not supported for new customers.
    SSE Group RHTs are supported for new customers in certain areas depending on post code.

    Last updated: 10 May 2012

Gas and Electricity Meters and Numbers

  • What is the Electricity MPAN or Supply Number?

    MPAN stands for Meter Point Administration Number. This number is located on your electricity bill (and not on the meter). It provides a unique identity reference number for the meter and also provides other information about the type of supply.

    faqs mpan

    Domestic meters have a profile of either 01 (standard) or 02 (Economy7). Business meters have a profile of 03 to 08 and half hourly electricity meters have a profile of 00.

    When switching the energy supply of your home, we only require the bottom row of figures for your application.

  • How can I tell what Region my electricity supply is in?

    If you look at the grid above, you can see the first box on the second line is called "Distributor Identifier". The numbers in this box identify the Region you are in as follows:

    Distributor ID Region
    10 Eastern
    11 East Midlands
    12 London
    13 Manweb
    14 Midlands
    15 Northern
    16 Norweb
    17 Scottish Hydro
    18 Scottish Power
    19 Seeboard
    20 Southern
    21 Swalec
    22 Sweb
    23 Yorkshire

    Note that when your postcode is close to the border of a region, it is important to check that you are using the correct region for the comparison calculations as the prices vary from region to region and some postcode areas straddle regions.

  • How can I find out what my electricity and gas Supply Numbers are?

    For most addresses, we will be able to automatically detect your supply numbers when you select your property during the comparison process. For those properties where we do not have your supply number, you should be able to locate them on your gas and electricity bills.

    If you do not have previous bills:

    Electricity: Where to get your MPAN or Supply Number if you do not have a bill.

    If you do not have a bill, contact your regional electricity distributor (who may well be different from your current supplier, but they are still responsible for transporting your electricity). If you call them and ask for the Metering Point Administration Service, they will tell you what your Supply Number is.

    Click here to view a list of regional electricity distributors »

    Gas: Where to get your MPR Number or 'M' Number if you do not have a bill?

    If you do not have a bill, call the M Number Enquiry Line on 0870 608 1524.

  • Equipment maintenance contracts

    Some energy suppliers also provide separate contracts for equipment maintenance. The cost of these contracts is excluded from these calculations. Usually, these maintenance contracts are separate from the supply contract, so if the supply contract is changed, this does not affect the maintenance contract which continues. This must be checked to make sure it applies in each case.

  • Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs)

    Some properties have private gas pipes which go from the public gas pipes on the main road to your property. These pipelines are operated by Independent Gas Transporters(IGTs). You can find details about these on the Ofgem website at www.ofgem.gov.uk.

    It should be noted that daily or annual standing charges for gas supplied via IGTs will be charged at higher prices than the standard tariffs. Below is a table which shows information on how much suppliers charge if you have an IGT at your property.

    IMPORTANT NOTE. Any additional charges levied by IGTs are not included in the comparison results and should be excluded from the input data.

    Energy supplier Approximate charge per year
    Atlantic £0
    British Gas £0
    co-operative energy £0
    E.ON £42. Some E.ON tariffs do not have an IGT charge. Where this is the case, it is indicated in the tariff details on our website.
    EBICo £0
    Ecotricity £0
    EDF Energy EDF's IGT charges vary by region
    first:utility £0
    Good Energy Good Energy does not accept customers supplied by IGTs
    M&S Energy £0
    npower £10.50
    OVO Energy £0
    Scottish Power £0
    Spark Energy £0
    SSE £0
    SSE Scottish Hydro £0
    SSE Southern Electric £0
    SSE SWALEC £0
    Utilita £0
    Utility Warehouse (Telecom Plus) £34.2

    If the information is out of date please let us know at customerservices@ukpower.co.uk.

  • Converting Units to Kilowatt Hours

    Electricity consumption is usually already stated in kilowatt-hours on your meter and previous bills, so the electricity kWh's figure is ready to use.

    Gas units as shown on your meter need to be converted to kilowatt hours. Below is a step by step process for calculating kWh:

      Task Sample
    1 Number of units 100
    2 Convert from imperial to metric (x 2.83) * 283
    3 x volume conversion factor (x 1.022640) 289.407
    4 x calorific value (x 39.3) 11373.699
    5 / kWh conversion factor (/3.6) 3159.361

    *Only if your meter measures cubic feet rather than cubic metres. If you have a metric meter, you do not need to use the imperial to metric conversion factor (2.83). In this case, the rough estimate is to multiply the metric units by 11 instead of 31.3.

    This is the approximately the same as: gas units used x 31.6 = kilowatt hours used, or, roughly, gas units x 100 divided by 3.

    If you do not know whether you have a metric meter please see the Gas Meter Readings page which will help identify what kind of meter you have.

  • What is a kilowatt-hour or kWh?

    Every appliance you use in your home will have a power rating measured in kilowatts. The power rating tells you the number of kilowatts that the appliance uses when on full power. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the amount of kilowatts the appliance uses per hour. So, for example, if you have an appliance with a power rating of 1.8 kilowatts, and you use that appliance for one hour on full power, then you have used 1.8 kilowatt-hours of power for all the time it has been on.

  • How much does it cost to run my appliance?

    For those appliances that always run on max power and for which it is possible to measure how long they run for (such as a kettle or a toaster), simply multiply the power rating (given in the appliance manual in kilowatts) by the number of hours it runs for, by the price you pay for energy per kilowatt-hour. This can be done easily by using the UKPower Running Costs Calculator.

    For some appliances it can be difficult to calculate how much they cost to run, either because it is hard to tell how many kilowatts the appliance uses, or to tell how long the appliance runs for.

    A cooking hob, for example, might have a power rating of 1.8kW, meaning that it uses 1.8kW on full power; but this isn't helpful if you want to know how many kilowatts it uses when on it's lowest heat setting. A fridge turns itself on and off all day long, depending on how cold it is inside the fridge. Factors such as the temperature outside, the number of times it gets opened, the amount of food inside, can all affect how long it has to runs for.

    The only definitive way to measure how much power such appliances use over time is to connect them to a power meter. Find out more about these energy monitors on our energy monitor page.

Gas and Electricity Industry

  • What happened in the Gas and Electricity Markets?

    In May 1998 the Government brought in new regulations to fully open the Gas market to competition. In May 1999, the same happened for Electricity. The increased competition in the market means that there are now many more opportunities for people to save money on their gas and electric bills. Since the new regulations were brought into place, over 7 million people have switched their gas and electricity supply, according to Ofgem.

    UKPower help energy users to compare prices for all suppliers in the UK, with only a few clicks. This can save hours of collecting each supplier's tariff data and making precise comparisons between the different pricing structures. More than this, our service is entirely free! All we ask is that you use the Switch links available on our website, as we are funded by a referral fee paid to us by the supplier. Using our service will make no difference to the price of your bills, and you won't find tariff prices cheaper anywhere else, even direct from the supplier.

  • Who is OFGEM?

    Ofgem is the OFfice of Gas and Electricity Markets, which was formed in June 1999. It promotes competition in the gas and electricity markets to ensure the consumers get genuine value and choice.

    Ofgem took over the task of looking after consumers from Consumer Focus in 2013, which was the independent consumer organisation created through the merger of Energywatch with Postwatch and the Welsh, Scottish and National Consumer Councils protect the interests of gas and electricity consumers.

    Ofgem is a good place to go for detailed energy supplier information, or if you need help dealing with your current energy supplier.

    Visit the OFGEM website

Switching Gas and Electricity Supplier

  • How do I change suppliers?

    1. First, carry out a price comparison to see how your existing tariff compares. Use the UKPower Price Comparison Service by entering your postcode, existing suppliers, and amounts paid, to obtain a complete list of prices available in your region.
    2. Review the list and see how your existing suppliers compare with the others. You may find that either your current supplier or a different supplier has a cheaper tariff that you can switch to.
    3. When you are ready to switch, click the Switch button the easy application process on this site will guide you through the switching process.
    4. When you are ready to switch, use the application process on this site and we will help you through the switching process.
    5. When you arrive at the application form, complete all information requested and submit the form.
    6. At some stage your new supplier will ask you to provide meter readings which will be used by both suppliers to prepare final and opening bills.

  • Do I need to tell my existing supplier?

    The official answer to this is Yes. However, in practice, the new transfer applications go through a process which includes checking with the existing supplier if there are any objections to the change. This is usually sufficient to act as notice that a change is being requested and arranged. It is best to telephone or write to the existing supplier and let them know, especially if you are coming to the end of a fixed term contract.

    You may find that your current supplier may contact you to establish why you are leaving. Usually it’s due to price but occasionally there are other reasons and the suppliers like to establish the reason for leaving in order to help them with issues that customers may be unhappy with for the future.

    The new supplier will send you a welcome letter explaining what will happen during the transfer process. When the transfer is about to take place the new supplier will ask you to take meter readings. They will then use those readings to “open” your account. They will also send them to your existing supplier who will use them to “close” your old account.

    Generally speaking, the entire transfer process has been designed to operate as smoothly as possible and Ofgem keep an eye on the marketplace to ensure this happens.

  • Transfers to your new supplier

    Delivery of new services will be advised directly by your new supplier. Your new supplier will provide full details as well as their own Terms and Conditions which you should read carefully.

    Transfers from one supplier to another can take between 4 to 6 weeks. The precise details will be advised by your new supplier.

  • Just moved in to a new property?

    To compare energy prices with UKPower, you will need to provide us with an estimated cost of your current usage and the name of your current suppliers. This is so that we can provide you with an accurate estimate of the savings available to you.

    If for any reason you don't know your current usage, or if you have not lived at your property before and have no current usage, you will have the option to select 'I don't know'. When this is selected, we compare default the figures for an average sized house in the UK. These default figures are a good starting point and help you to identify which suppliers are cheapest in your area.

  • Moving House

    When you move in to a new property, you need to contact the existing suppliers and get the account changed in to your own name. If you need to find out who the existing suppliers are see "Who is my supplier?".

    Once the accounts are in your name, you can start looking for a cheaper supplier by running your details through the UKPower Price Comparison Service. To do this, enter your postcode, and you will be asked for your current energy supply details. If you don't know who supplies your energy, use the default suppliers already selected, and select the 'I don't know' options for your usage amounts to see a full list of suppliers ranked in the order of price savings. At this stage you can click the 'Switch' button to begin the transfer process. Altogether, it can take between 6 to 8 for your gas and electric to be switched to the new supplier.

  • If I submit my application, who does what next, and when?

    Once you have submitted your application you will receive an automatically generated email confirming your switch, with the new supplier details. This should be checked carefully to ensure that all details have been entered correctly. This confirmation email will also contain your unique reference number in case you need to contact UKPower.

    We will submit your application to the supplier for the switch registration process to begin. You receive a welcome pack explaining what will happen during the transfer process. When the transfer is about to take place the new supplier will ask you to take meter readings, which they will then use to “open” your account. They will also send them to your existing supplier who will use them to “close” your old account.

    If you currently pay by Direct Debit, do not cancel this arrangement until your existing supplier has taken the final Direct Debit. The whole process should take from between 4 to 6 weeks to be completed.

  • Do you need meter readings?

    When the transfer is about to take place the new supplier will ask you to take meter readings. They will then use these readings to “open” your account and send them to your existing supplier who will use them to “close” your old account.

  • How does smart meters work?

    A smart meter works by communicating directly with your energy supplier, so they will always have an accurate meter reading and there's no need for you to take a meter reading yourself. One way smart meters work is by an inbuilt SIM card like the one in your mobile phone to send the readings to the supplier.

Switch today and save £482**

Save hundreds of pounds on your household energy bills today. Just enter your postcode to get started.

**Between 1 Jan 2018 and 30 Jun 2018, at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with uSwitch saved £482 or more.

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