UK’s energy statistics

Discover the latest statistics on how Brits are using energy.

Updated

Fact checked
Picture not described

Brits have been mining oil since 1851, and now each day the UK’s 120 onshore oil and gas sites produce 20,000-25,000 barrels of oil. In addition to oil, the UK is a big producer of coal, which we use for generating power. When the coal plant in South Wales closes in 2020, there will only be 4 coal plants left in the UK. Coal is environmentally unfriendly, it’s very important that we find ways to produce energy from environmentally friendly resources to keep up with our energy demands.

In fact, the UK is the third biggest energy consumer in Europe with only France and Germany using more energy than us. We spend on average more than £1,100 per household on energy every year, but more than 18 million Brits don’t understand their energy tariff or compare providers often enough to realise the money they could be saving money. We unpacked the latest statistics to find out more about energy bills in the UK.

Quick overview

  • On average we spend over £1,100 per year on energy bills (gas and electricity).
  • We spend 4% of our annual income on our energy bills, 0.4% less than in 2015/16.
  • Switching could save Brits on average £320 a year.
  • 34% of Brits have never switched energy provider.
  • While 1 in 4 Brits have only switched energy providers once.

£320

Is how much Brits could be saving each year by switching energy provider.

From where do we get our energy?

The amount of energy we produce from coal is very low because of the carbon tax. This tax was put in place to prevent people from using coal as an energy source because of how environmentally unfriendly it is. The most environmentally friendly way to source energy is through harnessing wind and solar power or via biofuels and waste and converting it into energy. Lately, the UK has been working towards being less dependent on coal based energy and the government is aiming to close down the remaining coal fired power-plants by 2025.

Source Percentage of our energy use
Gas 29.50%
Coal 22.80%
Nuclear power 20.80%
Wind and solar 14.20%
Biofuels and waste 9.50%
Hydro power 2.60%
Oil 0.50%

The price difference is quite big, and unfortunately the most affordable option for the Brits is still gas.

Fuel Price per kWh (in pence)
Main gas standard rate 4.18
Wind power 8.53
Solar energy 9.0
Electricity standard rate 20.6
Pellets 26.75
Coal 31.09
Petroleum gas 41.77
Gas oil 63.57
(Prices accurate as of October 2019)

How much are we paying?

No-one likes to be paying more for something than they need to, but the truth is many of us are doing just that with our energy bills. We looked into how much we are spending each year – and how much we could be saving.
  • We pay on average £1,117 a year for our electricity and gas bills combined.
  • This takes up 4% of the average Brit’s income.
  • Research from regulator Ofgem shows switching supplier or energy tariff can save around £320.
  • 34% of Brits have never switched energy provider.

27%

Of Brits have only ever switched energy providers once.

Who is paying the most?

If we all used the same amount of electricity which region would be paying the most? Figures from Gov.uk show the average cost of electricity and gas for each region in the UK, based on consumption of 15,000 kWh/year of gas and 3,800 kWh/year of electricity. So who is paying the most?
Across all regions, the average cost of gas and electricity was £1,325, but those in Yorkshire get the best rates coming in at £1,281. While those in the South East would pay the most based on the same consumption at £1,379, almost £100 more.
  • The average cost of energy bills based on these assumptions is £1,325.
  • The region that would spend the most is the South West, at £1,379.
  • Whereas the region that would spend the least is Yorkshire, at £1,281.
  • London is the most expensive region for gas at £676.
  • While North Scotland is the most expensive for electricity, coming in at £718.
Region Gas Electricity
East Midlands £632 £652
Eastern £644 £668
London £676 £677
Merseyside & North Wales £646 £699
North East £623 £666
North Scotland £645 £718
North West £638 £663
South East £661 £689
South Scotland £640 £665
South Wales £645 £692
South West £662 £717
Southern £665 £672
West Midlands £640 £670
Yorkshire £624 £657

Are energy prices rising?

Rising energy prices are a growing concern for Brits and can really pull on the purse strings. So have prices been rising in Britain?
Gas prices saw a steep and steady rise in price up until 2014, where prices have now began to settle at just under £600, the average gas bill is £7 more expensive than in 2017 but still £150 cheaper than it was in 2014. Electricity prices have remained relatively stable in comparison but have been steadily increasing and are now higher than any time in the last 7 years, up to £610 in 2018.
Year Average gas bill Average electricity bill
2010 £578 £503
2011 £629 £526
2012 £703 £546
2013 £731 £569
2014 £741 £575
2015 £697 £562
2016 £616 £555
2017 £584 £581
2018 £591 £610

Switching energy provider

79% of all energy provided in the UK comes from 6 different providers. As they have such a big share of the market, they’re called “Big Six”.

Provider Customers Percentage market share
British Gas (Centrica) 17 million households 34.69%
SSE 9 million households 18.37%
E.ON 7 million households 14.29%
EDF Energy 6 million households 12.24%
npower 5 million households 10.20%
ScottishPower 5 million households 10.20%

Ofgem reports show that switching energy provider can save you £320 yet our finder survey shows that more than 50% of Brits haven’t switched providers in the last 3 years. About a fifth of us (20.9%) have changed our energy provider during the last 1-2 years, and even more, 22.6% haven’t changed provider in over a decade.

Years since switching Percentage
1-2 years ago 20.88%
3-5 years ago 17.58%
5-10 years ago 11.82%
In the last 12 months 27.18%
Over 10 years ago 22.55%

Why aren’t we switching providers?

Over 60% of Brits have changed energy providers one time or less, so what is stopping us from switching providers? In 2018 survey, 65% of respondents reported risks associated with switching, with the most common risk being that costs might go up. Explore the graphic below to find the 5 most common reasons Brits aren’t switching.

Top five perceived risks of switching energy supplier

Reason Percentage
Costs might go up 26%
Might not save as much money as they thought 18%
Double/shock billing (being billed by both suppliers) 15%
Something might go wrong and they might get cut off 11%
Supplier they switch to might go bust 6%

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

Related articles

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site