Electricity usage and costs in the UK 2020

The UK's second biggest source of energy is now environmentally friendly.

No one likes paying bills, but it can feel even worse knowing that you are paying more than you need to. We looked at the latest statistics to see how much people in the UK are spending on their electricity bills, and to find out if you could save money by switching energy providers.

Quick overview

  • The average electricity bill in 2019 was £710 per year per household, £127 more than in 2015, when the yearly bill was £583 on average.
  • Switching energy providers (gas and electric) could save you up to £310 per year. However, only 1 in 4 households (24%) switched in the last 12 months.
  • In 2015, 23% of our total energy supply came from coal-fired power stations. Today, it’s only 2%.
  • People in the UK collectively used 295.48 terawatt hours of electricity in 2019.

How much are we spending?

The amount you pay for energy depends on many factors, including the type of tariff you’re on and your payment method. We looked at the stats to see how your payment method impacts the amount you pay. The figures below are based on a standard household consumption of 3,800kWh.

Paying by standard credit remains the most expensive option for electricity, at £776 per year in 2019, up from £728 per year in 2018. Paying by direct debit cost £707 in 2019, £69 cheaper than paying by standard credit.

Prepayment is understandably the cheapest option, costing £660 per year in 2019. It also had the lowest increase from the year before – a mere £10. The difference between paying by standard credit and paying via prepayment is £116, which is close to paying for 1.6 months extra (£65 a month on average via standard credit).

Across all payment types, the average cost of consumption was £710 in 2019, which is £38 more expensive than it was in 2018 – an increase of 5.7%.

Year Standard credit Direct debit Prepayment Overall UK
2014 £619 £570 £623 £592
2015 £615 £558 £618 £583
2016 £624 £559 £623 £586
2017 £670 £601 £619 £619
2018 £728 £659 £650 £672
2019 £776 £707 £660 £710

Which regions are using the most electricity?

We explored the latest statistics to see which region is using the most kWh. The region that uses the most electricity is the South West, with an energy consumption of 4,153kWh per household per year. The region with the second-highest electricity consumption is East England, which uses on average of 4,131kWh per household per year.

Those who use the least energy are the households in North East, with an average of electricity usage of 3,231kWh per year.

Region Usage per household per year
South West 4153kWh
East England 4131kWh
South East 4099kWh
Scotland 3910kWh
England 3794kWh
East Midlands 3767kWh
West Midlands 3761kWh
Outer London 3703kWh
Wales 3603kWh
North West 3586kWh
Yorkshire and the Humber 3510kWh
Inner London 3395kWh
North East 3231kWh

Along with how much you use and which energy provider you’re with, where you live can determine how much you pay for electricity. Based on a standard household consumption of 3,800kWh, the household price can range from £627 up to £746 per year.

Households in Wales are quite low on usage compared to the other regions (3,603kWh per year), but pay £735 per year, the second-highest amount of all and £25 above the national average. On the other end, households in the East Midlands uses a fair amount (3,767kWh per year), but only pay £699 per year on average, £11 less than the national average.

Region Cost per household per year
South West £746
Wales £735
Scotland £732
South East £728
East England £719
West Midlands £715
North East £711
North West £707
London £704
Yorshire and the Humber £702
East Midlands £699
Northern Ireland £627

How can we cut costs?

With electricity bills on the rise, you might be looking for ways to cut costs and save some money. Apart from simply using less electricity by doing things like keeping the heat inside during the winter, one of the best ways to save on your electricity bill is by switching providers. Switching providers ensures that you’re getting the best deal, and can end up saving you hundreds of pounds each year.

  • 24% of UK’s households switched electricity suppliers in the last year, the highest amount of “switchers” since 2014.
  • More than 38% of UK households have either never switched energy providers or have only switched once.
  • You can save up to £310 per year by switching suppliers if you pay by direct debit.

Where does our electricity come from?

During Q1 2020, 36% of our electricity came from renewable sources, which was also our second-largest source. Gas is still very important to electricity supply, with 42% of our energy coming from it.

The use of coal in the UK has been debated for a long time, as it creates a lot of pollution. In June 2020, it was announced that the UK had gone 67 (almost 68) days without using coal power, the longest it’s ever gone since the industrial revolution.

Source Share of electricity
Gas 41.80%
Renewables 35.90%
Nuclear 15.90%
Coal 3.50%
Oil and other 2.90%

Electricty sources over time

Over the last five years, the sources from which we get our electricity has changed. Gas-fired turbines have always been the biggest source of energy. In 2015, they were responsible for 30% of our electricity, and in 2019, this has increased to 41%. Renewable sources used to contribute 25% of all of our energy in 2015, but this grew to 37% in 2019.

Coal-fired power has taken a big step back, from providing us with 23% of our energy in 2015, to an impressively low 2% today.

Year Gas-fired turbines Nuclear plant Coal-fired power stations Renewable sources Other sources
2019 40.93% 17.36% 2.13% 36.86% 2.72%
2018 39.38% 19.50% 5.03% 33.27% 2.82%
2017 39.68% 20.93% 6.73% 29.44% 3.22%
2016 42.35% 21.18% 9.07% 24.45% 2.95%
2015 29.55% 20.82% 22.59% 24.67% 2.37%

Sources used

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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