British Gas vs SSE

Read our comparison of the UK's two biggest energy suppliers.

British Gas and SSE are established giants in the UK domestic energy supply market. They formed part of what was once known as the “Big Six” group of large energy suppliers that used to dominate the market, alongside EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower and Scottish Power.

SSE, formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy, sold its household energy supply business to rival OVO Energy in January 2020. The supplier still trades under the name SSE, but its customers will gradually have their supply moved over to OVO Energy as part of the sale.

Both firms not only supply energy, but they also sell a broad range of services to household customers, including boiler cover and smart meter installation. British Gas also sells a selection of smart home products, while SSE offers home broadband services alongside energy supply.

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British Gas vs SSE: Vital statistics

British Gas Energy FinderSSE Energy Finder
Finder score★★★★★★★★★★
Manage account via app
Can offer Warm Home Discount
Percentage renewables (electricity)76%52%
More Info
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Which is cheaper?

This will heavily depend on your tariff, location and usage, but it’s fair to say that neither of these is likely to be the cheapest option available. Large legacy suppliers tend to charge more for energy than smaller “challenger” brands.

While both companies offer some competitive benefits, both firms’ customers are also liable to face price rises in future, as market regulator Ofgem is increasing the energy price cap, giving energy firms the green light to increase their prices from October 2021. This is likely to hit both “default” variable tariffs and fixes over the coming months. The best way to find out which is better value for you is to run an energy comparison, using a postcode checker like the one on Uswitch's comparison service.

  • Winner: It depends

Which has better customer service?

British Gas Energy FinderSSE Energy Finder
Finder score★★★★★★★★★★
Manage online
Manage account via app
Manage account by telephone
Live chat support available
Email support available
According to customer service data collected by the charity Citizens Advice, in 2020 SSE customers saw a smaller proportion of their complaints needing to be escalated to a third party, including the Energy Ombudsman, compared to households supplied by British Gas. A total of 16.1 complaints per 10,000 SSE customers were taken to arbitration, compared to 24.6 per 10,000 British Gas customers.

Users of the customer review website Trustpilot have given SSE a better average score than British Gas. The site gives SSE 4.4 stars out of 5, based on over 23,800 customer reviews, while British Gas received a score of 3 stars out of 5, based on over 65,400 customer reviews (last checked September 2021).

  • Winner: SSE

Which offers more tariff options?

While some people like their provider to offer a range of tariffs, there are good suppliers that offer one type of tariff really well, so it’s worth considering a range of providers.

British Gas Energy FinderSSE Energy Finder
Green tariffs
Fixed tariffs
Variable tariffs
Dual fuel deals
Both these suppliers offer a broad range of tariff types designed to cater for a range of circumstances. Both firms also offer pre-payment tariffs, which can give households better control over how much they spend on their energy usage. But it’s worth bearing in mind that pre-payment tariffs typically end up costing customers more over the long term when compared to households who pay for their energy via direct debit and are supplied through a credit meter.

Both suppliers offer fixed tariffs that charge exit fees and those that don’t. If a British Gas customer wishes to leave a fixed tariff early and is subject to an exit fee, they will typically need to pay either £30 or £40 per fuel to be released from their deal. SSE customers who want to be released from a fixed tariff that charges exit fees will need to pay £75 per fuel.

It’s worth noting that as it’s essentially in the process of moving its customers over to the OVO Energy brand, SSE encourages potential new customers to check if OVO Energy can offer them cheaper energy deals.

These two giants offer broadly the same range of energy tariffs, but the choice offered by British Gas is slightly more comprehensive.

  • Winner: British Gas

Which is greener: British Gas or SSE?

If you’re conscious of your carbon footprint, it’s worth investigating how forward-thinking a supplier is when it comes to green energy.

As of March 2020, SSE’s supply of electricity from renewable sources (52%) was comfortably over the UK average of 37.9%. According to the same data, British Gas buys or offsets its electricity in such a way that it can say that over 75% comes from renewable sources.

  • Winner: British Gas

Verdict: Is British Gas better than SSE?

While neither firm is likely to be the cheapest in your area, it looks like SSE beats out British Gas by having the greater proportion of satisfied customers, according to customer reviews. In most other areas, the two firms are broadly similar in what they provide their customers. But while price is likely to be a key factor in helping potential customers decide to make the switch, customer service is also a major decider – that’s why the crown goes to SSE this time.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    mildredSeptember 17, 2018

    is there any way i could recieve a reduction on my gas and eletricity charges?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Mildred,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      It would be a good idea to explore your options first and compare them to see which of the providers would be a good choice. Watch out for special offers and discounts.

      Moreover, there are a few things you can do to reduce your utility bills. You may want to consider using a more cost-effective payment method or simply just reducing your consumption can go a long way. You can learn more specific ways on how to reduce your bills by reading some guides on the Internet.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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