Winter is coming – the battle between small energy suppliers and the “big six” heats up

16th October 2014


The UK’s ‘big six’ energy providers are fighting back and launching better deals after being undercut by the smaller players in the market over recent months.

According to comparison site uSwitch, the launch of the ‘SSE Direct’ tariff means that the big six companies, which include British Gas, EDF Energy, npower, E.on, Scottish Power and SSE now occupy five out of ten spots in the best buy tables.

Sainsbury’s Energy, powered by British Gas, comes fifth in the tables with a fixed deal of £1,099 until October 2015. SSE has reduced their cheapest tariff from £1,115 to £1,029 bringing them in at seventh place. EDF Energy, npower and Scottish Power fill eight, ninth and tenth spots, respectively.

While the coveted first place is still held by small supplier Extra Energy, with its ‘Fresh Fixed Price Nov 2015 v2’ tariff at £984, many of the big six suppliers have upped their game in the last month with better deals, long term fixed prices, and new tariffs bundled with free products to help customers save energy says uSwitch.

EDF Energy’s ‘Blue+Price Freeeeze’ tariff, at £1,209, allows people to fix their bills until May 2018 – longer than any other on the market. Meanwhile, npower’s ‘Intelligent Control’ tariff – £1,169 – offers households the opportunity to fix energy costs until October 2016 and comes with a free intelligent Nest thermostat, worth £249

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch says: “Small suppliers have been leading the charge with the cheapest deals, so it’s great news for consumers that the big six are fighting back with better tariffs.

“Suppliers need to prove themselves both on price and service if they want to win customers so no company – big or small – can afford to rest on its laurels. Consumers are voting with their feet and are easily attracted by cheaper prices and the promise that their bills will be protected from future price rises.

“With winter approaching, consumers need to get themselves into gear and secure a better deal before the cold weather starts to bite. There is currently a £304 difference between the cheapest and the most expensive tariff on the market, so it is well worth the minutes it takes to shop around and see what the market has to offer.”

Energy best buy table (as of Thursday, 16th October, 2014)
Place Supplier Plan name Average bill size Tariff type
1 Extra Energy Fresh Fixed Price Nov 2015 v2 £984 Fixed
2 First Utility iSave Fixed November 2015 (v33) £992 Fixed
3 OVO Energy Better Energy Fixed (Online) £998 Fixed
4 Green Star energy Rate Saver 12M Fixed 1410 (paperless) £1,004 Fixed
5 Sainsbury’s Energy Fixed Price October 2015 £1,009 Fixed
6 The Cooperative Energy Fair & Square October 2015 £1,026 Fixed
7 SSE SSE Direct £1,029 Fixed
8 EDF Energy Blue+Price Promise March 2016 £1,039 Fixed
9 ScottishPower Online Fixed Price Energy November 2015 £1,045 Fixed
10 npower Online Price Fix May 2016 £1,056 Fixed

Source: Based on a medium usage customer using 3,200 kWh of electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas paying by direct debit with bill sizes averaged across all regions.


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