British Gas vs EDF Energy

A guide to the similarities and differences between 2 of the biggest energy firms in the UK.

British Gas and EDF Energy are 2 of the largest suppliers in the UK domestic energy supply market. They form part of what used to be called the “Big Six” group of providers that used to dominate the market, alongside EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower and Scottish Power. While these firms no longer have as many customers as they once did (and with Npower no longer operating), they still command a large share of the electricity and gas supply market, 55.6% and 57.9% of British customer accounts respectively, between them.

French government-owned EDF Energy began supplying British households in 2002, while British Gas dates back to 1812 and began life as the Gas Light and Coke Company, the world’s first public utilities company.

While both British Gas and EDF Energy offer a broad selection of energy tariffs, they also sell a range of home services, including boiler cover, smart meter installation and electric vehicle chargers.

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British Gas vs EDF Energy: Vital statistics

British Gas Energy FinderEDF Energy Finder
Finder score★★★★★★★★★★
Manage account via appticktick
Can offer Warm Home Discount
Percentage renewables (electricity)76%21%
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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 energy provider 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, their customers are also liable to face price rises in the 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 and fixed tariffs 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: EDF Energy

Which has better customer service?

British Gas Energy FinderEDF Energy Finder
Finder score★★★★★★★★★★
Manage onlineticktick
Manage account via appticktick
Manage account by telephoneticktick
Live chat support availableticktick
Email support availableticktick

According to customer service data collected by the charity Citizens Advice, in 2020 EDF Energy 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 16.5 complaints per 10,000 EDF customers was taken to some form of third party to be settled, compared to 24.6 per 10,000 British Gas customers.

Reviews left on the website Trustpilot suggest customers are overwhelmingly positive about their experience with the supplier. Out of just over 22,000 customer reviews posted to the site, 72% of posts give EDF Energy a rating of “excellent”, while only 17% have given the firm a “bad” customer service rating. The average score given by Trustpilot users to EDF Energy is 4.2 stars out of 5 (last checked September 2021).

Meanwhile British Gas customer reviews on Trustpilot are more mixed, with 43% of over 66,00 reviews giving the firm an “excellent” rating. A further 35% of reviews gave a “bad” or “poor” rating. The average score given by Trustpilot users to British Gas is 3 stars out of 5 (last checked September 2021) based on over 66,000 customer reviews.

  • Winner: EDF Energy

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 FinderEDF Energy Finder
Green tariffsticktick
Fixed tariffsticktick
Variable tariffsticktick
Dual fuel deals

Both these suppliers offer a broad range of tariff types designed to cater for a range of circumstances. They also both offer time-of-use tariffs designed for electric vehicle owners who wish to charge their cars at home overnight, when there is typically less pressure on the grid.

Both firms also sell pre-payment tariffs, which can offer households better control over how much they spend on their energy usage. But it’s worth bearing in mind that pre-payment tariffs are typically a more expensive way to power your home when compared to energy supplied through a “standard” credit meter and paid for via direct debit.

EDF Energy offers fixed tariffs that charge exit fees and those that don’t. If an EDF Energy customer wishes to leave a fixed tariff early and is subject to an exit fee, they will typically need to pay between £15 to £30 per fuel to be released from their deal. 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.

These 2 suppliers offer similar ranges of energy tariff, but the lower exit fees charged by EDF Energy when it comes to leaving a fixed tariff before the contract end date nudges it ahead.

  • Winner: EDF Energy (just)

Which is greener: British Gas or EDF Energy?

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 (the most recent company data available), EDF Energy’s supply of electricity from renewable sources (20%) was way below 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.

While both firms advertise tariffs with 100% carbon neutral electricity, this is limited to certain types of deal.

  • Winner: British Gas

Verdict: Is British Gas better than EDF Energy?

While neither firm is likely to be the cheapest in your area, it looks like EDF Energy has the greater proportion of satisfied customers, according to customer reviews. In most other areas, both 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 EDF Energy this time.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BillDecember 13, 2017

    I am a British Gas customer for elec/ gas on pay as you go ,I don’t have any depts with brush gas ,I just prefer it this was ,is edf or brush gas the cheapest for me ,live in redditch,worcs

      JudithDecember 14, 2017Finder

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. I hope you are having a good day.

      If you’re inquiring on which option would be cheaper, it’s actually hard to say which supplier is cheaper as it depends on your tariff, location and energy usage, but certain companies provide more opportunities to save. You may also find helpful information on the page you are viewing that would help you in comparing your options so you could choose the one that suits your needs.

      I hope this helps.


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