Many factors can influence the amount you will pay for your energy, such as where you live, the type of home you live in, your tariff, payment method, and meter type, all impacting your final bill.
Because of these factors, no two energy bills will be the same, and trying to calculate an ‘average’ energy bill can be difficult.
Ofgem's Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCVs)
To try and give energy customers an idea of the average energy use of different households, every two years Ofgem - the UK’s energy regulator - publishes its Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCVs).
TDCVs are used to provide consumers with an understanding of the expected energy bill for a typical dual-fuel household in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland over the course of a year. These averages are split into three groups of consumers based on their energy use: low, medium, and high.
Below are the latest TDCV figures for each usage profile.
|Usage Profile||Average annual gas use (kWh)||Average annual cost||Average annual electricity use (kWh)||Average annual cost|
|Low (Flat or 1-bedroom house/1 - 2 people)||8,000kWh||£707||1,800kWh||£735|
|Medium (3-bedroom house/2-3 people)||12,000kWh||£1,007||2,900kWh||£1,066|
|High (5-bedroom house/4-5 people)||17,000kWh||£1,382||4,300kWh||£1,488|
While the above consumption values are helpful for comparison, it is important to understand that a household’s energy bill is based on the energy it consumes, which could be lower or higher than the defined typical household.
Changes coming to current TDCVs
Ofgem has announced that, from October 2023, they will be using lower Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCVs) to be used for all its relevant publications – such as data on average bills and price cap forecasts.
TDCVs will be reduced from 2,900 kWh per year for electricity to 2,700 kWh, and from 12,000 kWh per year for gas to 11,500 kWh.
This means that an average bill for typical consumption may look lower, even if the prices per unit of energy are unchanged. In other words, price cap forecasts for unit rates and standing charges will not be impacted by the change made to the TDCV.
The next price cap due to be announced in August and set to take effect on 1 October 2023, will be illustrated using these lower consumption values.
Is gas or electricity more expensive?
Per unit, electricity is significantly more expensive than gas. Based on the current July 2023 price cap, the average cost per unit of electricity in kWh is 30.1p, with a daily standing charge of 52.97p - more than three times as expensive as gas, which is 7.51p per unit in kWh, with a daily standing charge of 29.11p.
However, most households will use significantly less electricity than gas, and heating your home using gas tends to be much cheaper than electric heating.
What is the average energy bill for different house sizes?
For a typical UK household using both gas and electricity, the average annual energy bill based on the July 2023 price cap rates would vary with house size as follows:
- 1 to 2 bedrooms (Low): £1,442 per year
- 3 to 4 bedrooms (Medium): £2,074 per year
- 5 or more bedrooms (High): £2,870 per year
Note that if you have more people in the house for more of the day, you’d expect your bills to be slightly higher than these estimates. Similarly, a household with only one or two members who are out at work for most of the day, could expect slightly lower than average energy bills.
The type of property you live in can also increase your bills. The typical electricity bill for a 2 bed flat on the middle floor will be slightly lower than the average bill for a 2 bed detached house. This is because the flat will benefit from the heat of neighbouring properties.
You can see the full breakdown in the following tables:
|Dual Fuel (Gas and Electricity)||Cost||Usage (kWh)|
|Low (Flat or 1-bedroom house/1 - 2 people)||£120||£1442||817||9,800|
|Medium (3-bedroom house/2-3 people)||£172||£2,074||1,242||14,900|
|High (5-bedroom house/4-5 people)||£239||£2,870||1,775||21,300|
|Low (Flat or 1-bedroom house/1 - 2 people)||£61||£735||150||1,800|
|Medium (3-bedroom house/2-3 people)||£89||£1,066||242||2,900|
|High (5-bedroom house/4-5 people)||£124||£1,488||358||4,300|
|Low (Flat or 1-bedroom house/1 - 2 people)||£59||£707||667||8000|
|Medium (3-bedroom house/2-3 people)||£84||£1,007||1,000||12,000|
|High (5-bedroom house/4-5 people)||£115||£1,382||1,417||17,000|
If you are interested in finding out about your energy usage, continue here.
How does the average energy bill vary for different parts of the UK?
In the UK, energy prices vary by region, with 14 energy regions in total: Eastern, East Midlands, London, Midlands, Northern, Northern Scotland, North West, North West and Mersey, Southern, South East, Southern Scotland, South Wales, Southern Western, and Yorkshire.
Prices in these regions differ depending on the amount of energy each is able to generate and the price of generating that energy. For example, in Scotland, where there is a large supply of oil, the energy tends to be cheaper, than other parts of the country.
However, although electricity and gas bills across the UK will vary between these regions, the overall differences in price per unit are relatively small.
How much higher should my energy bills be in winter?
If you pay monthly with Direct Debit, your payments will usually be based on an estimate of the amount of energy you'll use over the year. This is done by your energy supplier on the assumption that you will use less energy in the summer, but more in the winter, allowing your payments to remain steady.
On average, electricity usage is 36% higher on a winter’s day compared to an average summer day, so you can expect your energy bill to be considerably higher through winter.
However if you end up using more energy during the winter months than your supplier has estimated, your bills may temporarily increase until the difference has been covered. Should this increase in your energy bill be too high for a one off payment, you can often negotiate with your supplier to pay your debt over an extended period of time.
Other times, your annual consumption may be overestimated by your energy provider. If that is the case, you can ask for this to be adjusted correctly or expect to receive an automatic refund of anything overpaid.
How is my average bill impacted by my energy plan?
Since October 2022, most households energy bills have been controlled by the government's Energy Price Guarantee (EPG), which capped the typical bill at £2,500 per year.
However, since 1 July 2023, Ofgem's Price Cap dropped below the EPG, meaning that for most households, the Price Cap will now control the energy rates paid on a standard variable tariff. From 1 July to 30 September 2023, the average annual energy costs for dual fuel households paying by direct debit and on a standard variable tariff are estimated to be £2,078.
But what about fixed-term deals?
As the energy market recovers, fixed-term deals are expected to return and could bring savings below the current price cap.
For comparative purposes, according to Ofgem figures for April 2020, the average energy costs by type of energy tariff were:
- Standard variable tariff: £1,125 per year
- Cheapest fixed tariffs: £783 per year
Fixed tariffs can be hundreds of pounds cheaper than variable tariffs, so when they do return on a larger-scale, it is important to shop around and switch regularly.
What should I do if my gas and electricity bills are higher than average?
There are many changes you can make to reduce your energy bill, here are just a few examples:
1. Make sure you’re on a fairly priced plan
If you haven’t switched in a while, there may be a chance you are on a standard variable tariff, which means you will be paying more than average for every unit of energy that you use. Comparing energy deals can help you work out whether or not you're on a fairly priced plan.
2. Improve your energy performance & insulation
If you’re renting, your landlord is obligated to upgrade the property to meet certain energy performance standards.
If you own your property, you can look into applying for the ECO4 scheme to help make your home more energy efficient.
3. Reduce your energy consumption
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