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Chart

Source: Energylinx (Until May 2017) & Energyhelpline (June 2017 onwards).

Information correct as of: March 2019

This chart compares the cheapest available tariffs offered by the six large suppliers with the cheapest tariff available in the market by payment method (direct debit, standard credit and prepayment). Figures are based on a typical domestic dual fuel customer.

From February 2017 the prices shown in the chart are calculated using the latest Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Cheapest tariffs by payment method: Typical domestic dual fuel customer (GB)
DateLarge six suppliers (direct debit)Large six suppliers (standard credit)Large six suppliers (prepayment)Market (direct debit)Market (standard credit)Market (prepayment)
28/01/2012915.27976.701021.54906.56971.04969.61
28/02/2012886.18976.701021.54878.10971.04969.61
28/03/2012886.18976.701021.54878.10971.04969.61
28/04/2012895.69953.401021.54878.10953.40969.24
28/05/2012895.69953.401021.54878.10890.12969.24
28/06/2012895.69953.401021.54895.69953.401017.42
28/07/2012895.69953.401021.54875.93953.401017.42
28/08/2012899.10957.031021.54875.93957.031017.42
28/09/2012901.471020.711021.54875.93988.141017.42
28/10/2012906.171020.711069.39893.85988.141019.30
28/11/2012958.211020.711069.39909.59979.351045.64
28/12/2012990.701071.381133.19909.59979.351045.64
28/01/2013957.181037.201133.19909.59979.351045.64
28/02/2013957.181037.201133.19909.591037.201045.64
28/03/2013966.541046.571133.19909.591046.571045.64
28/04/2013966.541046.571133.19909.591046.571045.64
28/05/2013966.541046.571133.19962.43996.901045.64
28/06/2013966.541046.571133.19769.95996.901045.64
28/07/2013984.681075.511133.19769.95996.901045.64
28/08/2013971.771051.791133.19769.951051.791045.64
28/09/2013971.771051.791133.19769.951051.791045.64
28/10/20131011.801079.911133.19769.951070.991093.35
28/11/2013993.401058.151150.97769.951058.151093.35
28/12/20131033.471101.651178.61769.951101.651093.35
28/01/20141033.471101.651178.61975.211101.651172.77
28/02/20141033.971108.101178.61966.341108.101172.77
28/03/20141024.791117.271178.61964.311117.271171.39
28/04/20141000.381069.951178.61946.421069.951171.39
28/05/20141000.381069.951178.61944.551069.951171.39
28/06/20141000.381069.951170.86944.551069.951162.40
28/07/20141000.381069.951170.86944.951029.051162.40
28/08/20141000.381069.951170.86943.431038.881154.43
28/09/2014960.901030.951170.86942.271030.951154.43
28/10/2014953.401046.451170.86931.021024.451154.43
28/11/2014921.881003.791170.86914.511003.791154.43
28/12/2014916.211003.791170.86906.141003.791151.22
28/01/2015875.40945.461148.99871.26945.461148.99
28/02/2015839.28955.071148.90839.28950.351148.90
28/03/2015836.99907.241148.99836.99907.241116.99
28/04/2015834.57977.561141.64834.57950.631116.99
28/05/2015835.19905.441141.64830.56905.441116.99
28/06/2015835.71981.781122.97830.56940.901116.99
28/07/2015863.85981.781122.97830.56939.851116.99
28/08/2015876.03977.321128.54830.56940.271116.99
28/09/2015876.03963.771128.54830.56907.261100.94
28/10/2015803.00873.251128.54793.93844.041100.94
28/11/2015805.40950.751128.54787.05844.041055.61
28/12/2015850.52950.751102.20787.05844.041055.61
28/01/2016769.69839.941102.20765.00839.941055.61
28/02/2016738.38808.631092.26738.38808.631054.20
28/03/2016727.70797.761070.37727.70797.761051.22
28/04/2016723.91793.481070.37723.91793.481030.27
28/05/2016723.23877.121037.31723.23877.121017.61
28/06/2016723.23847.451037.31723.23847.45985.97
28/07/2016779.39904.971037.31758.31871.54985.97
28/08/2016801.37941.421043.54769.65871.54985.97
28/09/2016754.64839.151043.54744.30839.15985.97
28/10/2016803.54967.131043.54741.92829.42985.97
28/11/2016897.181002.631035.64790.02907.75985.97
28/12/2016951.511031.571035.64790.02923.48985.97
28/01/2017951.511031.571035.64833.71951.58985.97
28/02/2017928.481033.401015.43829.10935.19970.67
28/03/2017922.231016.741019.21829.10949.48970.67
28/04/2017923.551018.06994.53863.31946.43970.67
28/05/2017923.571018.08994.53826.52923.47979.27
28/06/2017923.571018.08994.53835.76923.23979.27
28/07/2017922.821017.33994.53829.91923.23979.27
28/08/2017910.051004.56988.90810.11923.47979.27
28/09/2017904.481051.43988.90826.73923.47979.27
28/10/2017897.981012.47988.90826.73943.35978.04
28/11/2017928.591100.89988.90826.73958.08978.04
28/12/2017973.041051.43988.90798.72958.08957.12
28/01/2018907.891051.43988.90809.32958.08960.06
28/02/2018900.981050.871028.21810.06958.08945.76
28/03/2018900.981074.651028.21810.11958.08945.76
28/04/20181000.421143.141030.55788.16958.08946.63
28/05/2018962.531057.041030.93788.16958.08946.63
28/06/2018953.161033.191070.34796.99958.08946.63
28/07/2018965.271045.291070.34826.73990.66946.63
28/08/2018951.331198.371070.50842.49990.68946.54
28/09/20181043.211138.841070.50920.601067.64983.86
28/10/20181051.271164.581070.50920.601107.76983.86
28/11/20181030.121055.761115.66946.131055.76983.86
28/12/20181034.691134.341115.66902.661109.27983.86
28/01/20191035.631125.841115.66941.26941.261016.48
28/02/20191008.691040.001115.66929.661040.001023.39

More information

At-a-glance summary

Direct debit customers have traditionally been offered the cheapest tariffs, followed by standard credit customers and those using prepayment meters.  

After the introduction of the prepayment safeguard tariff in April 2017, the overall cheapest tariffs have continued to be those for direct debit customers. However, the ranking between standard credit and prepayment cheapest tariffs has fluctuated over time. Looking at the whole market, since February 2018 the cheapest prepayment tariff has been less expensive than the cheapest standard credit tariff. Among the six large suppliers, the cheapest prepayment tariff has been consistently less expensive than the cheapest standard credit tariff since April 2017, with the exception of June, July and November 2018 when the cheapest prepayment tariff was more expensive.

At the end of February 2019, the cheapest direct debit tariff in the market was £110 less expensive than the cheapest standard credit tariff and £94 less than the cheapest prepayment tariff. The cheapest direct debit tariff has historically been at least £100 less expensive than the cheapest standard credit tariff.

A prepayment price cap was introduced on 1 April 2017, limiting the amount that suppliers can charge their prepayment customers. The default tariff price cap came into effect on 1 January 2019, limiting the amount that suppliers can charge customers on default tariffs.

Relevance and further information

This indicator helps us understand pricing by payment methods, as well as how much other suppliers are able to compete with the six large suppliers for each method.

Methodology

We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical domestic consumption values (TDCV) for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). The chart includes collective switching tariffs from Q1 2016.

All tariffs shown in the chart are for a dual fuel customer. Dual fuel refers to a situation where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier.

Tariffs with limited availability depending on customer features (for example, tariffs which are only available to new customers, also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs, or tariffs restricted to certain regions) are excluded from the calculation to make sure that all tariffs considered are generally available to all customers across GB.

Tariffs available with white label suppliers are included in the calculation of the cheapest tariff. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.

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Chart

Source: Energylinx (Until May 2017) & Energyhelpline (June 2017 onwards).

Information correct as of: March 2019

This chart shows trends in domestic energy bills by tariff offered by the six large suppliers and other suppliers. It compares their average standard variable tariffs with the cheapest tariffs available in the market (including white label tariffs). Figures are based on a typical domestic dual fuel customer paying by direct debit. 

From February 2017 the prices shown in the chart are calculated using the latest Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

This information should not be used as a price comparison tool. To find out about accredited price comparison sites, see Compare gas and electricity tariffs.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Retail price comparison by company and tariff type: Domestic (GB)
DateAverage standard variable tariff (Six large suppliers)Average standard variable tariff (Other suppliers)Cheapest tariff (Six large suppliers)Cheapest tariff (All suppliers)Cheapest tariff (Basket)
28/01/20121020.161024.33915.27906.56947.56
28/02/20121000.761017.41886.18878.10930.29
28/03/2012997.251017.41886.18878.10936.54
28/04/2012997.251017.35895.69878.10937.68
28/05/2012997.251017.35895.69878.10929.78
28/06/2012997.251032.16895.69895.69945.53
28/07/2012997.251032.16895.69875.93928.99
28/08/2012997.251030.02899.10875.93924.85
28/09/2012997.251017.84901.47875.93931.04
28/10/20121009.001020.51906.17893.85956.00
28/11/20121030.781075.12958.21909.59997.71
28/12/20121061.801087.65990.70909.59994.59
28/01/20131074.421087.65957.18909.59990.81
28/02/20131074.421119.05957.18909.59994.56
28/03/20131074.421119.05966.54909.59995.50
28/04/20131074.421119.05966.54909.59988.37
28/05/20131074.431119.05966.54962.43997.77
28/06/20131074.431119.05966.54769.95967.26
28/07/20131074.451119.05984.68769.95974.82
28/08/20131074.451119.05971.77769.95988.47
28/09/20131074.451119.05971.77769.95979.55
28/10/20131074.451127.021011.80769.95995.67
28/11/20131105.941123.75993.40769.95992.26
28/12/20131138.951123.751033.47769.95997.00
28/01/20141145.841125.141033.47975.211013.73
28/02/20141134.091128.761033.97966.341014.19
28/03/20141128.101126.611024.79964.311016.25
28/04/20141128.101129.621000.38946.42995.26
28/05/20141128.101129.621000.38944.55995.13
28/06/20141128.101129.621000.38944.55992.88
28/07/20141128.101134.191000.38944.95976.39
28/08/20141128.101127.791000.38943.43978.98
28/09/20141128.101158.39960.90942.27972.34
28/10/20141128.101131.80953.40931.02960.15
28/11/20141128.101131.80921.88914.51947.94
28/12/20141128.101130.51916.21906.14929.69
28/01/20151124.331130.51875.40871.26895.39
28/02/20151106.651110.84839.28839.28881.39
28/03/20151106.651088.31836.99836.99892.38
28/04/20151106.651075.32834.57834.57878.56
28/05/20151102.281073.26835.19830.56877.12
28/06/20151102.281073.26835.71830.56871.21
28/07/20151102.281066.77863.85830.56867.88
28/08/20151098.031066.77876.03830.56868.79
28/09/20151098.031054.98876.03830.56858.62
28/10/20151098.031050.12803.00793.93823.00
28/11/20151098.031040.70805.40787.05810.84
28/12/20151098.031039.03850.52787.05803.86
28/01/20161098.031035.48769.69765.00785.04
28/02/20161092.691020.06738.38738.38755.65
28/03/20161071.441013.00727.70727.70756.05
28/04/20161065.97978.55723.91723.91751.58
28/05/20161065.97976.04723.23723.23742.71
28/06/20161065.97984.02723.23723.23751.36
28/07/20161065.97988.70779.39758.31779.72
28/08/20161065.97983.86801.37769.65789.25
28/09/20161065.97983.89754.64744.30777.00
28/10/20161065.97994.93803.54741.92786.41
28/11/20161065.971012.84897.18790.02859.23
28/12/20161065.971019.72951.51790.02872.16
28/01/20171061.061020.10951.51833.71881.11
28/02/20171081.271027.06928.48829.10869.79
28/03/20171109.481035.47922.23829.10873.38
28/04/20171122.281041.56923.55863.31874.62
28/05/20171122.281039.22923.57826.52861.76
28/06/20171122.281026.98923.57835.76852.58
28/07/20171122.281030.63922.82829.91844.94
28/08/20171122.281030.76910.05810.11839.30
28/09/20171134.951026.42904.48826.73837.66
28/10/20171134.951031.41897.98826.73854.69
28/11/20171134.951044.84928.59826.73846.77
28/12/20171134.951040.86973.04798.72841.48
28/01/20181134.951036.14907.89809.32840.81
28/02/20181134.951039.85900.98810.06840.58
28/03/20181134.951044.29900.98810.11842.91
28/04/20181138.281061.811000.42788.16820.46
28/05/20181138.281060.56962.53788.16832.69
28/06/20181172.201066.39953.16796.99845.91
28/07/20181184.791075.35965.27826.73861.22
28/08/20181194.001091.02951.33842.49897.02
28/09/20181205.621104.911043.21920.60982.09
28/10/20181220.651124.271051.27920.60989.84
28/11/20181220.651140.971030.12946.13993.80
28/12/20181220.651142.961034.69902.66983.19
28/01/20191136.671099.491035.63941.26992.85
28/02/20191136.671097.671008.69929.66974.58

More information

At-a-glance summary

As of February 2019, the average price of SVTs for the six large suppliers for a typical dual fuel customer paying with direct debit was £1,137, unchanged from the previous month. This is level with the default tariff price cap, which was implemented on 1 January 2019.

The cheapest tariff in the market in February 2019 was £927. This was £12 cheaper than the cheapest tariff in the previous month, but £120 more expensive than the cheapest tariff in February 2018.

As a result, the differential between the average price of SVTs for the six large suppliers and the market cheapest tariff increased from £195 to £207 between January and February 2019.

For details on prices of fixed default tariffs, please see the chart showing Average tariff prices per supplier.

Relevance and further information

Tariff differentials reflect pricing in different market segments, as well as how much other suppliers are able to compete on price with the six large suppliers.

Methodology

We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical domestic consumption values (TDCV) for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). The chart includes collective switching tariffs from Q1 2016. All tariffs shown in the chart are for a dual fuel, direct debit customer. Dual fuel refers to a situation where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier.

A standard variable tariff refers to a supply contract which is for a period of an indefinite length and which does not contain a fixed term period that applies to any of the terms and conditions. It’s an energy supplier’s basic offer. If a customer does not choose a specific energy plan, for example after their fixed tariff ends, they will be moved on a standard variable tariff until they have chosen a new one. A customer can also make an active choice to select a standard variable tariff.

Tariffs with limited availability depending on customer features (for example, tariffs which are only available to new customers, also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs, or tariffs restricted to certain regions) are excluded from the calculation to make sure that all tariffs considered are generally available to all customers across GB.

Tariffs available with white label suppliers are included in the calculation of the cheapest tariffs. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.

To calculate the average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers we took the cheapest tariff offered by each supplier in the market (i.e. one tariff per supplier) and then ranked the tariffs in order of price. We then took the simple average of the 10 cheapest tariffs in this list. This method is to ensure a cross section of suppliers is included in the calculation.

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Chart

Source: Energyhelpline; Suppliers.

Information correct as of: January 2019

This chart shows average prices in the last quarter for each of the 12 larger suppliers in the non-price protected segment. These include suppliers’ default tariffs (SVTs and, if available, fixed term default tariffs) and cheapest tariffs, which are compared with the average price of the market cheapest tariff in the period between July and September 2018.

In this period, Bulb was offering only one tariff.

 

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Average tariff prices by supplier: Standard variable and fixed default vs cheapest available tariffs (GB)
SupplierSupplier's annual average fixed term default tariffSupplier's average annual standard variable tariffSupplier's cheapest annual average tariffMarket cheapest annual average tariff
British Gas119212051188917
SSE11961136917
E.ON12081110917
EDF12271108917
Scottish Power124512531108917
npower12301040917
First Utility11991094917
OVO Energy11901123917
Utility Warehouse11971055917
Co-operative Energy12181115917
Bulb981981917
Green Star Energy12191199917

More information

At-a-glance summary

In Q4 2018, the average standard variable tariff (‘SVT’) price for a domestic customer with one of the twelve larger suppliers in the non-price protected segment ranged between £981 and £1,253.

In this period, two of these suppliers offered a fixed term default tariff. The average prices of these two tariffs over Q4 2018 were slightly less expensive than their respective SVTs, with the difference being no greater than £13.

The average cheapest deals in this period were all above the average market cheapest tariff of £917, ranging between £981 and £1,199. The average SVT price differentials in the period were between £18 and £190 relative to these suppliers' cheapest tariffs (it was zero for Bulb, with only one tariff) and between £63 and £336 relative to the market cheapest tariff.

For an overview of the SVT and price trends over time see our chart on the Retail price comparison by company and tariff type.

Relevance and further information

This chart measures the savings available to customers on default tariffs if they change tariff or switch supplier.

It should be considered jointly with our chart on the Number of non-price protected domestic customer accounts by supplier: Standard variable, fixed and other tariffs (GB)

Our data shows default tariffs are usually more expensive than other deals available in the market. Customers on default tariffs are potentially missing out on significant savings on their bills compared to cheaper tariffs from their existing or another supplier.

For previous updates, please see our page here.

Methodology

  • We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). All tariffs shown in the chart are for a dual fuel, direct debit customer. We do not show prices from suppliers with fewer than 250,000 non-price protected customer accounts, for either gas or electricity. 
  • We use weekly prices across the quarter prior to publication to calculate the average SVT price. We take the price data for each Monday of every week in the analysed period. The source is Energyhelpline for SVT and cheapest tariffs, while fixed term default tariffs are sourced from suppliers. SVT prices in this chart always refer to paper billing prices. 
  • We use the same calculations to produce the average cheapest tariff price for each supplier and for the average market cheapest tariff price. When calculating the cheapest tariff at both individual supplier and market level, we exclude tariffs restricted to certain regions. This is so we give a representative picture of tariffs generally available to all customers across GB. 
  • When calculating the cheapest tariff at individual supplier level, we include tariffs only available to existing customers (also known as ‘retention' tariffs) and exclude tariffs only available to new customers (also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs). 
  • When calculating the cheapest tariff at market level, we include tariffs only available to new customers (also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs) and exclude tariffs only available to existing customers (also known as ‘retention' tariffs). 
  • Collective tariffs or exclusive deals only available through a supplier’s website or through a specific price comparison website are included to the extent they are ‘open collective switches’ available to all customers. We also include tariffs restricted to a particular payment method, except for prepayment. 
  • The cheapest tariffs can include fixed and variable tariffs, may or may not involve exit fees, rewards or discounts, may only be available online and may be offered by any suppliers active in the market. Some suppliers included in the average market cheapest tariffs may not offer the Warm Home Discount. 
  • We include tariffs available with ‘white label’ providers in the calculation of the market cheapest tariff. Where relevant, we have also included them in the cheapest tariff offered by the parent supplier of the ‘white label’. ‘White label’ providers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity tariffs using their own brand.
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Chart

Source: Ofgem calculations using data from ICIS .

Information correct as of: January 2019

The chart shows summer-winter spreads for the GB gas market. The summer-winter spread is the difference between the gas price in summer compared to the following winter price.

Policy Areas:

  • Gas - wholesale markets

Data Table

Gas summer-winter spreads at the National Balancing Point (GB)
Month beginning2005-062006-072007-082008-092009-102010-112011-122012-132013-142014-152015-162016-172017-182018-192019-202020-21
01/04/200412.111.17
01/05/200412.210.72
01/06/200412.2910.52
01/07/200413.5110.6
01/08/200414.2111.04
01/09/200415.7412.21
01/10/200419.5612.41
01/11/200418.2511.53
01/12/200417.5412.44
01/01/200520.5612.54
01/02/200522.5612.95
01/03/200527.3114.99
01/04/200518.9511.43
01/05/200522.9315.94
01/06/200528.6221.61
01/07/200535.123.67
01/08/200529.4217.95
01/09/200527.6618.64
01/10/200525.0719
01/11/200531.2222.18
01/12/200538.3328.45
01/01/200642.5731.41
01/02/200636.127.45
01/03/200641.1828.4
01/04/200647.4431.2726.7
01/05/200630.9325.98
01/06/200629.0924.08
01/07/200625.4419.99
01/08/200623.7316.36
01/09/200622.4314.78
01/10/200622.0314.88
01/11/200619.5714.57
01/12/200621.5515.3
01/01/200720.8213.69
01/02/200722.4213.01
01/03/200728.7416.04
01/04/200731.211714.4
01/05/200718.6715.22
01/06/200718.314.94
01/07/200716.9114.41
01/08/200715.1812.79
01/09/200714.3612.09
01/10/200713.6810.88
01/11/200713.8910.8
01/12/200714.8611.35
01/01/200816.7612.64
01/02/200817.5814.17
01/03/200817.9315.77
01/04/200815.5912.75
01/05/200815.2413.58
01/06/200817.3712.87
01/07/200819.7713.73
01/08/200821.5315.88
01/09/200820.5116.81
01/10/200818.616.78
01/11/200818.5516.11
01/12/200817.8915.09
01/01/200918.0715.54
01/02/200920.1616.29
01/03/200924.2218.09
01/04/200921.1917.21
01/05/200920.117
01/06/200919.6416.05
01/07/200919.4815.8
01/08/200921.2316.43
01/09/200918.814.21
01/10/200919.8315.25
01/11/200918.5114.93
01/12/200919.2413.75
01/01/201017.6214.09
01/02/201015.1213.86
01/03/201013.0312.39
01/04/201010.8712.2112.02
01/05/201012.3411.71
01/06/201012.0611.54
01/07/201010.910.77
01/08/201010.689.6
01/09/201010.839.61
01/10/201010.739.93
01/11/201010.128.99
01/12/20108.928.52
01/01/20118.737.8
01/02/20119.677.76
01/03/201111.28.38
01/04/20119.279.38
01/05/20119.349.58
01/06/20119.889.71
01/07/201111.3310.23
01/08/201111.9110.14
01/09/201111.349.65
01/10/2011129.59
01/11/201113.4810.33
01/12/201114.5411.33
01/01/201215.7311.98
01/02/201216.2512.72
01/03/201216.6913.18
01/04/201216.112.7311.46
01/05/201212.3511.12
01/06/201211.2710.17
01/07/201210.839.82
01/08/201211.689.78
01/09/201211.199.56
01/10/201210.549.51
01/11/20129.949.72
01/12/201210.169.78
01/01/201310.039.51
01/02/20138.629.02
01/03/20137.969.15
01/04/20137.288.588.25
01/05/20138.347.81
01/06/20138.297.93
01/07/20137.918.14
01/08/20137.548.01
01/09/20137.628.06
01/10/20137.17.88
01/11/20137.087.65
01/12/20137.777.93
01/01/20148.247.99
01/02/20149.898.38
01/03/201411.199.18
01/04/20149.538.6
01/05/20149.918.69
01/06/201410.188.9
01/07/201410.848.95
01/08/201410.259.63
01/09/201410.419.37
01/10/201410.099.01
01/11/20149.278.65
01/12/20148.318.35
01/01/20157.98.61
01/02/20158.028.72
01/03/20157.757.88
01/04/20157.677.06
01/05/20157.97.25
01/06/20157.897.16
01/07/20157.266.84
01/08/20156.816.02
01/09/20156.465.84
01/10/20156.65.85
01/11/20154.794.43
01/12/20155.564.78
01/01/20165.684.84
01/02/20167.035.3
01/03/20167.15.56
01/04/20166.125.51
01/05/20165.644.91
01/06/20165.615.07
01/07/20166.535.58
01/08/20166.445.69
01/09/20166.235.73
01/10/20166.475.84
01/11/20166.135.79
01/12/20166.935.95
01/01/20176.335.88
01/02/20176.896.68
01/03/20177.887.95
01/04/20178.077.73
01/05/20177.867.7
01/06/20178.497.97
01/07/20179.328.87
01/08/20179.39.2
01/09/20179.349.05
01/10/20179.229.2
01/11/20179.259.44
01/12/20179.9810.67
01/01/201810.6810.66
01/02/20189.8110.49
01/03/20189.6210.78
01/04/201810.7410.8
01/05/201810.610.93
01/06/20189.8510.61
01/07/20189.9010.64
01/08/20189.5410.62
01/09/20189.1310.39

More information

Gas summer-winter spreads: At-a-glance summary

Summer-winter spreads have fallen significantly over the past decade and continue to remain low. The spreads for 2019-20 and 2020-21 are currently low by historical standards, although there is a slight upward trend. Generally, these low trends are at least partly because of increased imports from other capacity. Much of our new import capacity is able to operate flexibly. It can often be a substitute for storage by responding to variations in demand.

Relevance and further information

The summer-winter spread is an important indicator of trends in the profitability of long-range or seasonal gas storage. This is because gas storage facilities generally make money by injecting gas when the price is low (i.e. in summer) and withdrawing it when the price is high (i.e. in winter).

Methodology

The summer-winter spread is calculated by subtracting the average contract price of quarters two and three from the contract price of the following quarter one in a given year.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Spark and dark spreads (GB).

Source: Ofgem analysis of data from ICIS and Bloomberg.

Information correct as of: January 2019

The chart shows clean spark and dark spreads in GB. These indicate the average revenue a power station can expect from generating a unit of electricity during ‘baseload’ operation, after fuel and carbon costs. 

Clean spark spreads refer to gas generation and clean dark spreads refer to coal generation. 

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - wholesale markets

Data Table

Spark and dark spreads (GB)
DateSpark (low eff)SparkSpark (high eff)DarkPower price (baseload)
01/10/20076.049.2315.481.9143.82
01/11/200713.7517.4424.6512.7157.35
01/12/20075.759.617.125.351.24
01/01/200810.3514.3622.1910.2157.73
01/02/20088.0611.8719.312.7453.08
01/03/20086.4610.5618.574.554.92
01/04/200814.0618.6927.7616.7768.85
01/05/200819.624.0532.7414.9572.18
01/06/200831.8336.5945.8821.488.01
01/07/200834.3338.9247.8818.5588.53
01/08/200834.1238.2546.3115.8282.86
01/09/200844.4949.6659.7640.47105.58
01/10/200836.3940.6849.0637.0587.06
01/11/200821.1525.2433.2525.7669.56
01/12/200812.5216.724.8922.2162.01
01/01/200910.3914.7423.2423.7761.79
01/02/20095.618.9915.5911.9745.52
01/03/20096.699.1313.915.2735.58
01/04/20098.6210.9115.383.4335.67
01/05/20099.812.0116.333.5635.93
01/06/200910.1612.2616.373.8734.98
01/07/200911.7313.6117.292.6433.97
01/08/200911.9613.817.41.0533.72
01/09/200912.4414.1517.50.2532.68
01/10/200911.3613.4217.451.3835.72
01/11/20098.2410.3914.6-0.5333.68
01/12/20096.799.2313.990.6135.57
01/01/20105.017.9513.723.339.85
01/02/20104.196.8712.121.8335.92
01/03/20105.638.0912.91-0.0134.75
01/04/20106.929.4514.41-0.2236.88
01/05/20106.059.0314.87-0.5641.33
01/06/20104.978.1114.26-0.6942.12
01/07/20103.837.1913.752.7743.53
01/08/20102.725.8712.03-0.0739.95
01/09/20104.94813.980.1341.12
01/10/20103.286.6813.330.4143.5
01/11/20103.587.214.282.1146.4
01/12/20105.9810.3818.999.358.03
01/01/20110.974.9912.840.248.43
01/02/20110.634.5112.09-0.3946.47
01/03/2011-0.174.212.730.7451.41
01/04/20111.485.6613.82-1.0650.86
01/05/20111.135.2913.420.2350.27
01/06/20111.175.3713.581.4750.82
01/07/20111.665.5813.240.5347.96
01/08/20112.025.8613.360.4247.36
01/09/20113.487.2714.690.8848.32
01/10/20110.674.5712.212.4246.83
01/11/2011-1.182.8310.653.8546.15
01/12/2011-1.512.39.753.3343.54
01/01/2012-1.442.259.463.8442.17
01/02/2012-3.41.059.7311.6649.1
01/03/2012-1.272.6910.459.5145.64
01/04/2012-1.882.1610.0711.1545.91
01/05/2012-1.632.229.7311.8543.79
01/06/2012-1.961.789.099.6242.24
01/07/2012-1.851.929.299.3142.71
01/08/2012-2.571.148.386.7641.21
01/09/2012-4.98-0.897.1110.5943.39
01/10/2012-3.780.579.0615.4647.6
01/11/2012-3.211.29.8415.8949
01/12/2012-2.511.9110.5617.4249.76
01/01/2013-2.481.9610.6319.549.96
01/02/2013-2.412.1411.0520.0351.44
01/03/2013-4.191.4912.5832.8662.9
01/04/2013-5.13-0.358.9817.1651.3
01/05/2013-4.50.028.8515.5148.89
01/06/2013-2.052.1310.2915.2447.31
01/07/2013-4.250.238.9916.148.73
01/08/2013-5.3-0.857.8515.4747.31
01/09/2013-4.020.529.3916.5949.63
01/10/2013-4.86-0.378.4114.8248.22
01/11/2013-2.312.3711.532053.05
01/12/2013-5.46-0.78.6117.9250.81
01/01/2014-5.43-0.937.8514.9747.67
01/02/2014-3.740.48.4812.9845.15
01/03/2014-2.581.399.1712.8144.41
01/04/2014-1.741.949.136.6741.77
01/05/2014-0.3839.624.7639.62
01/06/20140.963.989.892.2736.67
01/07/20141.174.079.740.6435.46
01/08/20141.274.3710.441.7137.97
01/09/20140.684.2811.337.4843.28
01/10/20140.74.4311.739.344.81
01/11/20140.724.7612.6511.748.43
01/12/2014-2.871.098.847.8343.96
01/01/2015-1.212.269.067.1439.86
01/02/2015-1.891.889.258.6242.68
01/03/2015-0.912.629.527.6140.8
01/04/2015-1.042.7810.232.7144.03
01/05/2015-1.71.939.010.4841.13
01/06/2015-0.573.0210.031.0841.84
01/07/2015-0.353.2510.291.4542.2
01/08/20151.124.4911.080.8140.99
01/09/20151.264.7311.52.3442.23
01/10/20150.473.8410.430.8840.3
01/11/20151.244.3710.48-1.3238.2
01/12/2015-0.622.48.29-3.1735
01/01/20163.035.8911.47-0.836.8
01/02/20162.154.8110.01-2.533.59
01/03/20163.546.1911.38-1.5434.92
01/04/20162.515.1810.38-3.1333.99
01/05/20162.285.0210.37-3.2734.64
01/06/20162.255.2211.03-2.337.37
01/07/20163.456.4112.18-4.4838.37
01/08/20164.527.2312.51-7.0536.47
01/09/201623.0725.6330.638.7853.32
01/10/201619.4322.9629.858.3661.12
01/11/201623.7527.6335.2114.6869.6
01/12/20166.8410.6117.98-1.2251.42
01/01/20173.667.8516.05-0.9353.23
01/02/20171.625.6713.6-2.4549.56
01/03/20171.965.3712.04-7.542.26
01/04/20172.956.2712.74-7.5642.1
01/05/20172.445.7312.14-7.5341.24
01/06/20174.127.1313.01-11.3639.68
01/07/20176.329.4315.5-9.2243.05
01/08/20171.615.1412.06-10.7643.4
01/09/20172.436.2213.62-8.9247.17
01/10/20172.366.1313.48-10.2846.82
01/11/20171.185.4313.75-5.9151.45
01/12/20171.856.4615.47-1.4856.35
01/01/20182.217.0714.37-6.4250.84
01/02/2018-1.833.7212.05-1.1253.68
01/03/2018-3.542.511.544.0856.79
01/04/2018-0.035.0412.66-6.4350.74
01/05/2018-0.584.913.13-8.3754.25
01/06/2018-0.54.9513.13-11.0954.00
01/07/20180.376.1014.68-10.0357.61
01/08/2018-0.026.1815.47-8.4661.94
01/09/2018-3.423.7014.36-5.8067.69

More information

Spark and dark spreads: At-a-glance summary

Spark spreads have improved over the last three years and gas generation has been more profitable than coal since mid-2015, with higher clean spark spreads relative to clean dark spreads. This has led to more gas plants producing electricity. With the power price remaining broadly flat, the improvement has come from a falling gas price.

The chart shows an inversion in this trend for March 2018. This is due to both a decrease in coal prices and a dramatic surge in gas prices due to temperatures below seasonal standards and a number of outages in this period. As a result, coal-fired generation ran close to maximum capacity.

Relevance and further information

Clean spark and dark spreads give some insight into the profitability of coal and gas-fired generation. As such this is a good indication of which kinds of plants are likely to operate or whether investment in new plants is likely.

Methodology

  • Dark and spark spreads are calculated using the following fuel efficiency assumptions. 
  • The efficiencies used are: Dark = 35 %, Spark = 50 %, Spark (high efficiency) = 60 %, Spark (low efficiency) = 45 %.
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Chart

Source: Six large suppliers.

Information correct as of: January 2019

This chart shows the proportion of monthly internal switches for domestic gas and electricity customer accounts for the six large suppliers. As a benchmark, the chart also shows monthly external switching rates (ie to another supplier) for the whole market.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Large suppliers: Internal and external switching rate by fuel type (GB)
Electricity total internal switching rateGas total internal switching rateElectricity total external switching rateGas total external switching rateElectricity internal switching rate by tariffGas internal switching rate by tariff
Nov-145.03%5.70%0.89%1.03%2.34%2.77%
Dec-144.21%4.75%1.13%1.19%1.86%2.14%
Jan-154.78%5.61%0.69%0.74%2.91%3.54%
Feb-155.22%5.96%0.94%1.10%2.89%3.34%
Mar-155.26%5.94%1.38%1.45%3.40%3.93%
Apr-155.41%6.21%0.99%1.02%2.70%3.15%
May-153.84%4.26%0.97%0.94%1.69%1.89%
Jun-153.14%3.38%0.83%0.83%1.61%1.75%
Jul-153.34%3.64%0.86%0.91%1.82%2.01%
Aug-153.95%4.29%0.91%0.93%1.76%1.89%
Sep-153.50%3.80%1.01%1.06%1.98%2.19%
Oct-153.78%4.15%1.26%1.31%2.02%2.24%
Nov-153.92%4.25%1.24%1.30%2.10%2.31%
Dec-153.31%3.55%1.11%1.15%1.67%1.76%
Jan-164.78%5.39%0.88%0.90%3.00%3.46%
Feb-165.00%5.54%1.40%1.45%3.15%3.53%
Mar-164.88%5.40%1.63%1.72%2.72%3.08%
Apr-164.40%4.80%1.38%1.30%2.28%2.56%
May-163.82%4.23%1.24%1.24%2.12%2.37%
Jun-164.43%4.82%1.20%1.20%2.28%2.48%
Jul-164.26%4.59%1.09%1.05%1.95%2.07%
Aug-162.82%2.98%1.11%0.99%1.55%1.65%
Sep-163.90%6.26%1.25%1.29%1.99%2.09%
Oct-165.10%5.48%1.74%1.82%2.12%2.23%
Nov-164.45%4.85%1.38%1.41%2.05%2.25%
Dec-163.14%3.41%1.51%1.51%1.33%1.47%
Jan-174.33%4.81%1.14%1.14%2.18%2.46%
Feb-175.46%6.02%1.42%1.40%2.93%3.28%
Mar-175.11%5.51%1.83%1.84%2.91%3.19%
Apr-174.73%5.20%1.60%1.55%2.92%3.22%
May-174.46%4.78%1.47%1.45%2.23%2.33%
Jun-174.02%4.36%1.35%1.37%1.97%2.19%
Jul-173.76%4.04%1.25%1.33%2.15%2.37%
Aug-174.35%4.50%1.47%1.51%1.86%2.07%
Sep-174.24%4.31%1.85%1.96%1.85%2.07%
Oct-174.28%4.60%1.89%1.99%2.03%2.29%
Nov-174.16%4.48%1.56%1.62%2.17%2.40%
Dec-174.42%4.78%1.36%1.40%1.66%1.80%
Jan-184.06%4.37%1.14%1.09%2.13%2.31%
Feb-184.91%5.12%1.50%1.50%3.06%3.19%
Mar-184.97%5.33%1.57%1.61%2.90%3.18%
Apr-186.94%7.35%1.58%1.60%3.29%3.43%
May-186.04%6.61%1.64%1.72%2.10%2.33%
Jun-186.08%6.33%1.61%1.67%3.43%3.58%
Jul-185.53%6.05%1.56%1.57%2.48%2.63%
Aug-185.70%6.03%1.65%1.69%3.42%3.55%
Sep-186.62%7.13%1.85%1.86%2.76%2.98%

More information

At-a-glance summary

Internal switching rates among the six large suppliers have been consistently higher than external switching rates, with regular seasonal spikes in Spring and Autumn.

There was a break in the usual seasonal fall in both internal and external switching rates in Q2 2018. There was a large increase in the internal switching rate for both electricity and gas. The internal and external switching rates remained high in Q3 2018, relative to previous quarters.

Relevance and further information

Together, internal and external switching rates provide a more comprehensive indicator of how engaged consumers are in the domestic retail energy market.

To note, we also publish monthly switching numbers separately. The two sets of data use different sources, and run to different timescales.

Methodology 

Internal total switching refers to a customer changing tariff, payment method or account management (online/offline) with their existing supplier. 

Internal tariff switching only includes tariff changes that, as a minimum, represent ‘active choices’. For example, the observed switch from a ‘dead’ tariff or an existing fixed tariff to a default standard variable tariff may not reflect an active choice and is not included in the internal tariff switching rate.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Gas bid-offer spreads by contract type (GB).

Source: Ofgem calculations using data from ICIS.

Information correct as of: January 2019

The chart shows bid-offer spreads across a range of contracts for gas delivered on the GB gas hub (the National Balancing Point) for different periods of time in the future. Figures are presented as monthly averages of daily spreads.

Policy Areas:

  • Gas - wholesale markets

Data Table

Gas bid-offer spreads by contract type (GB)
Month beginningDay-aheadFront MonthFront QuarterFront SeasonSecond SeasonThird SeasonFourth Season
01/01/20060.15%0.23%0.40%
01/02/20060.36%0.27%0.34%
01/03/20060.21%0.25%0.28%
01/04/20060.16%0.19%0.27%
01/05/20060.26%0.25%0.24%0.27%0.34%0.50%0.40%
01/06/20060.66%0.25%0.28%0.28%0.24%0.38%0.24%
01/07/20060.15%0.26%0.18%0.36%0.23%0.34%0.25%
01/08/20060.20%0.27%0.18%0.40%0.33%0.39%0.28%
01/09/20060.37%0.26%0.20%0.40%0.26%0.42%0.34%
01/10/20060.39%0.22%0.18%0.30%0.38%0.42%0.49%
01/11/20060.20%0.19%0.21%0.29%0.51%0.37%0.53%
01/12/20060.33%0.26%0.26%0.36%0.51%0.33%0.42%
01/01/20070.34%0.33%0.43%0.42%0.31%0.37%0.32%
01/02/20070.27%0.44%0.68%0.68%0.27%0.40%0.29%
01/03/20070.31%0.52%0.51%0.53%0.32%0.50%0.33%
01/04/20070.33%0.54%0.53%0.21%0.36%0.29%0.49%
01/05/20070.33%0.52%0.58%0.27%0.44%0.33%0.41%
01/06/20070.33%0.65%0.61%0.28%0.36%0.24%0.43%
01/07/20070.23%0.45%0.42%0.37%0.48%0.45%0.57%
01/08/20070.20%0.48%0.34%0.28%0.41%0.46%0.59%
01/09/20070.17%0.42%0.35%0.32%0.33%0.43%0.59%
01/10/20070.19%0.44%0.35%0.53%0.41%0.55%0.42%
01/11/20070.16%0.33%0.28%0.53%0.35%0.44%0.38%
01/12/20070.14%0.33%0.26%0.37%0.33%0.41%0.36%
01/01/20080.12%0.29%0.33%0.28%0.25%0.40%0.32%
01/02/20080.10%0.32%0.32%0.25%0.23%0.41%0.31%
01/03/20080.10%0.26%0.29%0.26%0.14%0.19%0.16%
01/04/20080.08%0.20%0.25%0.19%0.20%0.17%0.31%
01/05/20080.09%0.22%0.26%0.18%0.26%0.21%0.30%
01/06/20080.08%0.21%0.21%0.17%0.22%0.18%0.26%
01/07/20080.15%0.28%0.23%0.24%0.23%0.19%0.24%
01/08/20080.10%0.28%0.23%0.22%0.30%0.20%0.35%
01/09/20080.08%0.27%0.23%0.24%0.23%0.18%0.32%
01/10/20080.17%0.27%0.35%0.34%0.29%0.40%0.37%
01/11/20080.19%0.36%0.42%0.40%0.35%0.42%0.46%
01/12/20080.27%0.28%0.33%0.43%0.34%0.49%0.41%
01/01/20090.11%0.38%0.50%0.43%0.36%0.53%0.42%
01/02/20090.15%0.41%0.56%0.52%0.36%0.55%0.38%
01/03/20090.16%0.41%0.54%0.55%0.37%0.43%0.35%
01/04/20090.32%0.50%0.79%0.35%0.44%0.28%0.49%
01/05/20090.19%0.43%0.56%0.31%0.35%0.28%0.42%
01/06/20090.26%0.41%0.53%0.36%0.33%0.31%0.46%
01/07/20090.24%0.56%0.46%0.38%0.36%0.32%0.41%
01/08/20090.27%0.52%0.39%0.31%0.34%0.28%0.28%
01/09/20090.30%0.57%0.53%0.57%0.52%0.47%0.45%
01/10/20090.29%0.39%0.63%0.49%0.45%0.59%0.51%
01/11/20090.18%0.44%0.69%0.55%0.42%0.58%0.54%
01/12/20090.17%0.46%0.56%0.65%0.50%0.66%0.65%
01/01/20100.19%0.47%0.82%0.62%0.47%0.74%0.68%
01/02/20100.15%0.37%0.54%0.46%0.51%0.86%0.77%
01/03/20100.19%0.42%0.53%0.65%0.53%0.72%0.58%
01/04/20100.15%0.45%0.84%0.51%0.66%0.59%0.78%
01/05/20100.23%0.45%0.72%0.50%0.60%0.59%0.80%
01/06/20100.14%0.42%0.50%0.43%0.52%0.47%0.72%
01/07/20100.13%0.41%0.62%0.50%0.63%0.59%0.75%
01/08/20100.13%0.37%0.54%0.47%0.51%0.55%0.63%
01/09/20100.12%0.26%0.31%0.41%0.41%0.46%0.61%
01/10/20100.12%0.24%0.48%0.35%0.39%0.52%0.44%
01/11/20100.13%0.28%0.41%0.37%0.41%0.60%0.60%
01/12/20100.08%0.30%0.35%0.48%0.42%0.64%0.60%
01/01/20110.10%0.31%0.52%0.40%0.37%0.51%0.50%
01/02/20110.12%0.23%0.41%0.36%0.30%0.45%0.47%
01/03/20110.08%0.25%0.28%0.34%0.25%0.43%0.34%
01/04/20110.12%0.19%0.36%0.19%0.30%0.30%0.35%
01/05/20110.10%0.20%0.39%0.27%0.34%0.36%0.55%
01/06/20110.09%0.17%0.27%0.23%0.33%0.26%0.57%
01/07/20110.11%0.18%0.34%0.26%0.28%0.24%0.44%
01/08/20110.11%0.28%0.24%0.22%0.29%0.27%0.49%
01/09/20110.16%0.22%0.24%0.30%0.26%0.24%0.43%
01/10/20110.11%0.20%0.33%0.27%0.25%0.37%0.40%
01/11/20110.11%0.19%0.29%0.26%0.24%0.30%0.44%
01/12/20110.12%0.26%0.29%0.37%0.31%0.43%0.44%
01/01/20120.12%0.23%0.40%0.37%0.33%0.44%0.41%
01/02/20120.10%0.29%0.52%0.51%0.36%0.54%0.51%
01/03/20120.11%0.29%0.38%0.42%0.31%0.42%0.50%
01/04/20120.09%0.24%0.43%0.27%0.32%0.36%0.46%
01/05/20120.11%0.22%0.35%0.29%0.38%0.35%0.45%
01/06/20120.11%0.30%0.33%0.31%0.34%0.31%0.37%
01/07/20120.13%0.21%0.34%0.31%0.37%0.35%0.55%
01/08/20120.12%0.20%0.32%0.31%0.34%0.34%0.42%
01/09/20120.12%0.22%0.29%0.30%0.36%0.42%0.51%
01/10/20120.08%0.16%0.33%0.28%0.30%0.40%0.41%
01/11/20120.09%0.16%0.27%0.31%0.30%0.46%0.43%
01/12/20120.12%0.17%0.24%0.30%0.33%0.47%0.51%
01/01/20130.09%0.18%0.28%0.27%0.24%0.37%0.35%
01/02/20130.09%0.14%0.27%0.26%0.22%0.35%0.36%
01/03/20130.15%0.21%0.32%0.34%0.24%0.35%0.36%
01/04/20130.10%0.17%0.33%0.17%0.26%0.34%0.58%
01/05/20130.09%0.13%0.24%0.14%0.25%0.31%0.62%
01/06/20130.14%0.16%0.21%0.24%0.32%0.27%0.55%
01/07/20130.09%0.11%0.17%0.16%0.21%0.19%0.43%
01/08/20130.09%0.12%0.13%0.12%0.17%0.17%0.32%
01/09/20130.09%0.10%0.14%0.15%0.21%0.15%0.32%
01/10/20130.08%0.09%0.13%0.15%0.17%0.26%0.46%
01/11/20130.09%0.11%0.15%0.16%0.16%0.25%0.34%
01/12/20130.09%0.11%0.14%0.17%0.17%0.24%0.33%
01/01/20140.08%0.12%0.20%0.18%0.18%0.29%0.22%
01/02/20140.11%0.18%0.21%0.21%0.22%0.27%0.28%
01/03/20140.11%0.15%0.18%0.19%0.19%0.30%0.26%
01/04/20140.14%0.23%0.21%0.19%0.34%0.37%0.54%
01/05/20140.12%0.20%0.30%0.17%0.38%0.31%0.43%
01/06/20140.16%0.25%0.29%0.24%0.26%0.35%0.60%
01/07/20140.21%0.36%0.26%0.24%0.29%0.31%0.53%
01/08/20140.19%0.21%0.24%0.23%0.25%0.24%0.26%
01/09/20140.17%0.19%0.20%0.20%0.34%0.28%0.31%
01/10/20140.18%0.17%0.19%0.25%0.33%0.27%0.37%
01/11/20140.17%0.18%0.18%0.25%0.27%0.34%0.36%
01/12/20140.12%0.16%0.17%0.27%0.25%0.25%0.29%
01/01/20150.17%0.26%0.35%0.35%0.31%0.44%0.38%
01/02/20150.13%0.22%0.26%0.28%0.35%0.45%0.39%
01/03/20150.15%0.20%0.23%0.24%0.21%0.36%0.36%
01/04/20150.26%0.22%0.24%0.25%0.31%0.35%0.55%
01/05/20150.13%0.18%0.26%0.20%0.31%0.27%0.48%
01/06/20150.24%0.22%0.24%0.25%0.31%0.33%0.44%
01/07/20150.13%0.20%0.19%0.18%0.20%0.24%0.37%
01/08/20150.11%0.16%0.20%0.18%0.24%0.32%0.36%
01/09/20150.14%0.13%0.15%0.15%0.20%0.23%0.33%
01/10/20150.21%0.12%0.17%0.19%0.17%0.24%0.33%
01/11/20150.19%0.18%0.18%0.22%0.19%0.34%0.49%
01/12/20150.23%0.16%0.20%0.27%0.22%0.43%0.47%
01/01/20160.22%0.23%0.28%0.28%0.27%0.36%0.36%
01/02/20160.20%0.32%0.42%0.42%0.35%0.43%0.51%
01/03/20160.18%0.22%0.32%0.31%0.31%0.45%0.38%
01/04/20160.27%0.27%0.34%0.31%0.40%0.44%0.58%
01/05/20160.14%0.24%0.32%0.31%0.38%0.44%0.54%
01/06/20160.23%0.20%0.29%0.30%0.32%0.45%0.60%
01/07/20160.21%0.16%0.23%0.22%0.32%0.32%0.49%
01/08/20160.24%0.28%0.34%0.32%0.36%0.35%0.50%
01/09/20160.34%0.37%0.42%0.40%0.51%0.61%0.71%
01/10/20160.15%0.22%0.28%0.38%0.36%0.50%0.54%
01/11/20160.18%0.16%0.25%0.35%0.34%0.44%0.45%
01/12/20160.18%0.15%0.21%0.24%0.30%0.57%0.63%
01/01/20170.17%0.24%0.26%0.27%0.27%0.37%0.48%
01/02/20170.13%0.16%0.25%0.26%0.29%0.37%0.43%
01/03/20170.11%0.13%0.21%0.24%0.25%0.37%0.38%
01/04/20170.26%0.14%0.28%0.17%0.28%0.31%0.58%
01/05/20170.20%0.14%0.24%0.17%0.24%0.34%0.52%
01/06/20170.24%0.11%0.19%0.17%0.24%0.24%0.34%
01/07/20170.14%0.11%0.13%0.13%0.15%0.29%0.34%
01/08/20170.15%0.12%0.15%0.14%0.32%0.27%0.49%
01/09/20170.13%0.10%0.13%0.15%0.23%0.31%0.42%
01/10/20170.11%0.18%0.16%0.21%0.25%0.41%0.39%
01/11/20170.07%0.10%0.16%0.22%0.25%0.34%0.33%
01/12/20170.17%0.17%0.23%0.31%0.21%0.45%0.48%
01/01/20180.09%0.19%0.19%0.21%0.17%0.26%0.27%
01/02/20180.10%0.14%0.21%0.22%0.21%0.33%0.27%
01/03/20180.18%0.15%0.21%0.23%0.25%0.36%0.44%
01/04/20180.16%0.15%0.21%0.24%0.32%0.35%0.53%
01/05/20180.17%0.15%0.15%0.15%0.30%0.27%0.56%
01/06/20180.13%0.14%0.16%0.18%0.34%0.30%0.62%
01/07/20180.13%0.13%0.16%0.14%0.23%0.32%0.46%
01/08/20180.10%0.12%0.14%0.13%0.18%0.24%0.55%
01/09/20180.19%0.13%0.19%0.19%0.25%0.27%0.56%

More information

Gas bid offer spreads: At-a-glance summary

Bid-offer spreads in the GB gas market are low by international standards, indicating that it is relatively easy to trade in the GB gas market. 

Bid-offer spreads across a range of different contracts have tightened since 2010. 

Relevance and further information

The bid-offer spread is one indicator of market liquidity. It is the difference between the best bid to buy and the best offer to sell. It measures the premium an urgent buyer must pay if it wants to buy and the discount an urgent seller must make if it wants to sell. Tighter spreads suggest a more liquid market and robust pricing. 

Liquidity is an important feature of mature markets, often reflecting a large number of buyers and sellers. Liquid markets also facilitate new entry by making it easier to buy and sell gas at a good price. For example, in a liquid market a new supplier can more easily enter the market and buy the gas they need to cover their consumers’ demand whilst also having confidence in the price they are paying for that gas.  

Methodology

The bid-offer spread is calculated by subtracting the bid price from the offer price and then dividing by the offer price. It is them multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. 

Spreads are based on over-the-counter trading and are assessed by using ICIS’s price assessment.

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Chart

Source: ICIS data & Ofgem calculations.

Information correct as of: January 2019

This chart shows the monthly average of volatility for GB gas, electricity baseload and electricity peakload prices based on Day-ahead contracts.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - wholesale markets
  • Gas - wholesale markets

Data Table

Price volatility of gas and electricity by month: Day-ahead contracts (GB)
Month beginningElectricity (baseload)Electricity (peakload)Gas
01/01/200399%643%332%
01/02/2003102%635%313%
01/03/200356%232%158%
01/04/200338%135%128%
01/05/200340%177%141%
01/06/200347%216%192%
01/07/2003116%531%111%
01/08/2003159%687%141%
01/09/200384%424%210%
01/10/200356%323%194%
01/11/200360%334%135%
01/12/200377%484%125%
01/01/200490%407%256%
01/02/200494%452%444%
01/03/200439%127%113%
01/04/200428%118%105%
01/05/200430%162%115%
01/06/200442%228%67%
01/07/200435%169%58%
01/08/200418%105%70%
01/09/200418%125%100%
01/10/200443%144%126%
01/11/200456%238%133%
01/12/200442%211%119%
01/01/200546%231%131%
01/02/200537%167%126%
01/03/200581%319%416%
01/04/200532%153%160%
01/05/200517%72%93%
01/06/200526%124%135%
01/07/200546%279%126%
01/08/200517%106%92%
01/09/200529%146%89%
01/10/200533%176%103%
01/11/200550%194%226%
01/12/200579%338%294%
01/01/200670%282%209%
01/02/200659%205%205%
01/03/2006114%436%389%
01/04/200681%331%291%
01/05/200623%94%121%
01/06/200629%145%219%
01/07/200665%302%182%
01/08/200690%444%90%
01/09/200638%190%105%
01/10/200648%227%567%
01/11/200672%297%217%
01/12/200687%328%183%
01/01/200763%294%154%
01/02/200741%194%120%
01/03/200730%154%140%
01/04/200733%167%86%
01/05/200742%219%106%
01/06/200753%290%84%
01/07/200740%181%107%
01/08/200733%129%95%
01/09/200744%172%127%
01/10/200775%248%122%
01/11/200792%413%113%
01/12/200777%363%91%
01/01/200861%266%92%
01/02/200820%102%50%
01/03/200815%70%49%
01/04/200831%156%41%
01/05/200824%111%78%
01/06/200843%234%48%
01/07/200843%203%75%
01/08/200833%160%212%
01/09/200834%149%146%
01/10/200841%156%105%
01/11/200848%212%144%
01/12/200860%277%98%
01/01/200960%275%110%
01/02/200935%151%100%
01/03/200923%98%87%
01/04/200916%66%96%
01/05/200928%102%71%
01/06/200931%109%82%
01/07/200931%112%68%
01/08/200918%65%81%
01/09/200928%111%203%
01/10/200921%92%266%
01/11/200918%93%106%
01/12/200922%89%66%
01/01/201031%127%141%
01/02/201020%50%99%
01/03/201010%42%60%
01/04/201013%51%75%
01/05/201020%77%113%
01/06/201016%60%73%
01/07/201014%59%55%
01/08/201011%52%49%
01/09/20108%34%72%
01/10/201013%47%83%
01/11/201014%56%42%
01/12/201051%239%49%
01/01/201123%112%40%
01/02/20118%30%38%
01/03/201112%37%31%
01/04/201113%40%53%
01/05/20116%26%55%
01/06/20116%26%22%
01/07/20116%31%22%
01/08/20118%32%24%
01/09/201112%48%66%
01/10/201113%65%86%
01/11/201114%51%48%
01/12/20119%44%34%
01/01/201212%43%36%
01/02/201225%108%144%
01/03/201215%70%70%
01/04/201214%50%49%
01/05/201211%42%29%
01/06/201211%54%29%
01/07/201210%39%28%
01/08/20128%34%29%
01/09/201210%34%30%
01/10/201212%43%25%
01/11/201221%87%24%
01/12/201220%70%20%
01/01/201320%80%32%
01/02/201320%79%32%
01/03/201337%125%87%
01/04/201333%119%105%
01/05/201314%42%25%
01/06/201313%44%35%
01/07/201313%45%46%
01/08/201311%29%18%
01/09/201313%35%15%
01/10/201314%51%21%
01/11/201320%75%33%
01/12/201321%73%20%
01/01/201421%77%17%
01/02/201416%60%19%
01/03/201419%53%35%
01/04/201415%47%33%
01/05/201412%41%30%
01/06/201410%35%42%
01/07/201412%53%43%
01/08/201412%53%47%
01/09/201418%74%51%
01/10/201423%89%41%
01/11/201442%187%50%
01/12/201426%108%26%
01/01/201528%90%36%
01/02/201524%97%39%
01/03/201518%74%38%
01/04/201517%51%27%
01/05/201517%48%28%
01/06/201517%50%28%
01/07/201514%47%22%
01/08/201512%37%31%
01/09/201511%41%28%
01/10/201511%43%24%
01/11/201517%64%36%
01/12/201523%71%34%
01/01/201629%115%39%
01/02/201630%149%39%
01/03/201633%170%25%
01/04/201628%121%27%
01/05/201624%117%58%
01/06/201621%96%39%
01/07/201624%104%32%
01/08/201626%126%43%
01/09/2016151%495%131%
01/10/2016182%663%87%
01/11/2016141%638%43%
01/12/201685%425%41%
01/01/201730%167%54%
01/02/201718%89%52%
01/03/201717%79%30%
01/04/201717%69%25%
01/05/201723%126%35%
01/06/201742%189%79%
01/07/201782%371%77%
01/08/201732%130%42%
01/09/201722%100%30%
01/10/201726%94%64%
01/11/201719%94%28%
01/12/201721%82%52%
01/01/201821%81%42%
01/02/201816%76%47%
01/03/201867%248%478%
01/04/201829%128%83%
01/05/201818%95%33%
01/06/201817%66%44%
01/07/201817%71%36%
01/08/201810%54%24%
01/09/201813%63%33%

More information

Price volatility of gas and electricity (Day-ahead contracts): At-a-glance summary

The volatility of Day-ahead gas and power prices has been generally decreasing in recent years. This is consistent with a number of recent trends including the declining profitability of conventional flexible generation, the closure or mothballing of old gas and oil-fired plants, and low levels of investment in new flexible gas capacity.  Volatility for both gas and power remained low over the course of 2015 and the first half of 2016, but increased during winter 2016/17.

A sharp increase in the average of volatility for GB gas has been registered in March 2018, with record high gas prices due to both high demand and supply issues: gas demand reached the highest value in seven years and there were a series of unplanned outages across GB supply infrastructure that increased the gas price further.

Relevance and further information

Price volatility is an important market indicator for a range of reasons. For example:

  • Companies with capacity that can flexibly increase or decrease their supply of gas or electricity can profit from high volatility by increasing output when prices are high and decreasing output when prices are low. Such companies include gas storage facilities or conventional coal and gas-fired power stations.
  • High levels of volatility can challenge smaller companies where they are less able to access credit and collateral. 

Methodology

The monthly calculation takes the logarithmical differences of daily average prices across two consecutive trading days. These are used to calculate the relative standard deviation on a rolling monthly basis (21 trading days). 

To show the data in annual terms, the value obtained is multiplied by the square root of the total number of trading days in a year (252 trading days). 

Volatility values are usually expressed as a percentage, so the annual value is finally multiplied by 100. 

All volatility values for a given month are then averaged together to get a single monthly data point.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Prepayment price cap and prices since January 2016 (GB).

Source: Energylinx (Until May 2017) & Energyhelpline (June 2017 onwards).

Information correct as of: March 2019

This chart compares trends in prices since 2016 for a dual fuel customer paying prepayment. It shows both the market cheapest tariffs and average standard variable tariffs (SVT) for this payment method. The values are calculated for a customer with typical energy use.

From February 2017 the prices shown in the chart, including the level of the prepayment price cap, are calculated using the new TDCV values that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Electricity - wholesale markets
  • Gas - retail markets
  • Gas - wholesale markets

Data Table

Prepayment price cap and prices since January 2016 (GB)
DateSVT - prepayment (market average)Cheapest tariff - prepayment (all suppliers)Prepayment price cap
28/12/20151163.441055.61
28/01/20161163.181055.61
28/02/20161158.611054.20
28/03/20161138.391051.22
28/04/20161131.321030.27
28/05/20161131.321017.61
28/06/20161131.32985.97
28/07/20161130.22985.97
28/08/20161130.22985.97
28/09/20161130.22985.97
28/10/20161130.22985.97
28/11/20161122.72985.97
28/12/20161122.72985.97
28/01/20171115.77985.97
28/02/20171061.14970.67
28/03/20171059.99970.67
28/04/20171032.30970.671050.35
28/05/20171032.30979.271050.35
28/06/20171032.30979.271050.35
28/07/20171032.69979.271050.35
28/08/20171031.31979.271050.35
28/09/20171034.46979.271050.35
28/10/20171030.60978.041031.27
28/11/20171030.60978.041031.27
28/12/20171030.60957.121031.27
28/01/20181030.72960.061031.27
28/02/20181030.72945.761031.27
28/03/20181030.85945.761031.27
28/04/20181079.09946.631088.55
28/05/20181086.20946.631088.55
28/06/20181086.19946.631088.55
28/07/20181086.08946.631088.55
28/08/20181086.06946.541088.55
28/09/20181086.06983.861088.55
28/10/20181135.42983.861135.99
28/11/20181135.42983.861135.99
28/12/20181135.42983.861135.99
28/01/20191135.231016.481135.99
28/02/20191135.231023.391135.99
28/03/20191135.99

More information

At-a-glance summary

In April 2017, the prepayment price cap came into force, limiting the amount that suppliers can charge their prepayment customers. These customers tend to be unable to access the cheapest deals and are also more likely to be in vulnerable circumstances.

The cheapest prepayment tariffs available in the market have remained below the average SVT for a prepayment customer following the introduction of the prepayment price cap.

On 1 April 2018, the level of the prepayment price cap rose from £1,031 to £1,089 for a dual fuel customer who uses a typical amount of energy. This increase was mainly due to higher wholesale energy costs and policy costs to support low carbon forms of electricity generation. On 1 October 2018, the level of the prepayment price cap increased again to its current level. For more information on the latest updates, see our chart Breakdown of the prepayment price cap.

As suppliers increased their prepayment SVT prices to the new level of the cap, the differential between the average prepayment SVT and the market cheapest PPM tariff increased to £140 in May 2018. The differential has remained over £100 since then. At the end of February 2019, the differential was around £112.

Relevance and further information

This chart helps us track the differential between the average prepayment SVT and the market cheapest PPM tariff price a customer will pay if they use prepayment to pay their energy bills. Both prices are compared with the prepayment price cap that currently apply to all prepayment customers, excluding those on ‘interoperable’ smart meters.

Customers who get the Government’s Warm Home Discount (WHD) and are on a standard variable or default tariff were protected by a ‘safeguard tariff’ set at the level of the prepayment price cap until the end of 2018, after which they were transferred to the default tariff price cap. The default tariff price cap came into effect on 1 January 2019, limiting the amount that suppliers can charge customers on default tariffs.

The default tariff cap has different levels set to reflect how customers pay, where they live and the type of energy meter they have. When transferred, WHD customers will be placed on the cheaper default cap level set for direct debit payment methods – it won’t matter how they pay.

You can find further information on energy price caps here.

Methodology

  • We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1).  
  • All prices shown are for a dual fuel customer (i.e. where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier).  
  • The market average SVTs are based on the prices of the 12 largest suppliers in the prepayment segment. We have weighted the SVT of each supplier using an estimate of their total share of all prepayment accounts (for prepayment). We update the weightings every six months in January and July to reflect customer numbers four months prior to publication. The time lag is due to data availability. For example, the average given for 28 January 2017 uses weights based on customer numbers at 31 October 2016, while the average for 28 December 2016 uses weights at 31 March 2016.  
  • An SVT refers to a supply contract which is for a period of an indefinite length, and which does not have a fixed-term period applying to any of the terms and conditions. It’s an energy supplier’s basic offer. If a customer does not choose a specific energy plan, for example after their fixed tariff ends, they will be moved onto an SVT until they have chosen a new one. A customer can also make an active choice to select an SVT. 
  • We exclude tariffs with limited availability – such as tariffs only available to new customers (also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs) or tariffs restricted to certain regions - when calculating the market cheapest tariff. This is so we give a representative picture of tariffs generally available to all customers across GB. 
  • We include tariffs available with ‘white label’ suppliers in our calculation of the cheapest tariffs. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand. 
  • The cheapest tariff shown on the chart includes any collective switching tariffs after the first quarter of 2016. 
  • In all cases, the prices shown are based on suppliers’ tariffs averaged across GB regions. The level of the prepayment price cap is based on the values published on our website, adjusted to reflect current typical domestic consumption values, and to include VAT.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Estimated network costs per domestic customer (GB average).

Source: Ofgem analysis of network companies’ cost information .

Information correct as of: March 2019

This chart shows our estimate of trends in the annual cost of the different components of network charges for a domestic customer with a fixed amount of consumption. Balancing Services Use of System charges are not included in the chart.

Click the ‘more information’ tab above for a summary of the latest trends, an explanation of network costs and for further detail on how we calculate the costs.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - distribution
  • Electricity - transmission
  • Gas - distribution
  • Gas - transmission

Data Table

Estimated network costs per domestic customer (GB average)
Annualised network costsElectricity (transmission)Electricity (distribution)Gas (transmission)Gas (distribution)
Apr-1532969120
May-1532969120
Jun-1532969120
Jul-1532969120
Aug-1532969120
Sep-1532969120
Oct-1532969120
Nov-1532969120
Dec-1532969120
Jan-1632969120
Feb-1632969120
Mar-1632969120
Apr-16391019120
May-16391019120
Jun-16391019120
Jul-16391019120
Aug-16391019120
Sep-16391019120
Oct-16391019120
Nov-16391019120
Dec-16391019120
Jan-17391019120
Feb-17391019120
Mar-17391019120
Apr-1737909114
May-1737909114
Jun-1737909114
Jul-1737909114
Aug-1737909114
Sep-1737909114
Oct-1737909114
Nov-1737909114
Dec-1737909114
Jan-1837909114
Feb-1837909114
Mar-1837909114
Apr-1835859113
May-1835859113
Jun-1835859113
Jul-1835859113
Aug-1835859113
Sep-1835859113
Oct-1835859113
Nov-1835859113
Dec-1835859113
Jan-1935859113
Feb-1935859113
Mar-1935859113
Apr-19358710114
May-19358710114
Jun-19358710114
Jul-19358710114
Aug-19358710114
Sep-19358710114
Oct-19358710114
Nov-19358710114
Dec-19358710114
Jan-20358710114
Feb-20358710114
Mar-20358710114

More information

Estimated network costs per domestic customer: At-a-glance summary

  • The majority of network costs for a domestic customer are for the use of the gas and electricity distribution networks.
  • For a household whose consumption does not change, on average across GB network costs in 2019/20 will increase for gas distribution, electricity distribution, and gas transmission. For electricity transmission, costs compared to the previous charging year will rise broadly in line with inflation.
  • Actual costs will vary depending on where a customer lives, how much energy they use, and what type of meter they have.

What are network costs?

Suppliers are charged for the costs to build, maintain, improve and operate the energy networks. Most of the networks are owned by monopoly businesses. Therefore through regulation, we limit the revenue that these companies can recover from customer charges to run the networks.

The network charges paid by suppliers vary depending on where their customers live, what type of meter they have, when energy is used and how much energy they use. In total, these charges accounted for approximately a fifth of a dual fuel bill in 2019.

Different charges apply for the high voltage/pressure transmission networks (which take electricity and gas around Great Britain) and the lower voltage/pressure distribution networks, which connect customers to the overall networks.

As well as the charges to suppliers that are considered here, electricity generators and gas producers are also charged for their use of the networks. It is important to note that trends in network costs will therefore also affect supplier costs indirectly through wholesale prices.

Methodology

  • Network costs are calculated by combining charging information published by the network companies with assumptions about consumption and losses for domestic customers.
  • All costs are calculated for medium annual typical domestic consumption values of 12,000kWh for gas and 3,100kWh of electricity, which is held fixed across the charging years. The actual network costs a supplier incurs to serve a customer will depend on how much energy is used, the timing of its use as well as the charges that apply from one year to the next.
  • The costs shown are GB averages, calculated by taking a simple unweighted average of the tariffs that apply in different regions of the country.
  • The costs are expressed in nominal money (i.e. the amount of money a customer ‘pays over the counter’), rather than in real terms (i.e. after adjusting for inflation). For electricity, the costs reported are for a standard unrestricted meter.
  • Balancing Services Use of System charges are not included on the chart. These charges cover the cost of services used to balance the electricity system and internal system operator operating costs.

The methodology we use to calculate these charges is consistent with our methodology for the Default Tariff Cap. Further details on the calculations are available in our Default Tariff Cap publications.

Further information

You can find further information on the different components making up an energy bill at Understand your gas and electricity bill.

To see how the network fits together, visit The energy network: How it works for you.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Breakdown of the default tariff price cap (GBP £).

Source: Ofgem.

Information correct as of: 7 February 2019

This chart shows a breakdown of the costs that make up the default tariff price cap for a dual-fuel, direct debit customer with typical consumption. It helps to explain the relationship between the level of the cap we set, and the different cost factors that influence it each time we update it.

The default tariff cap is effective from 1 January 2019. It has different levels set to reflect how you pay, where you live and the type of energy meter you have. For a detailed breakdown of the set cap prices by payment method, meter type and region, please see our industry page. Customers should contact their supplier for details specific to their tariff. 

The default tariff price cap limits how much a supplier can charge customers on default tariffs, including standard variable tariffs, per unit of energy. It doesn’t cap the total cost of a bill. That’s because the amount customers pay also depends on how much gas or electricity they’ve used. Suppliers can charge less than the set level of the cap, but not more. 

We update this chart every six months in February and August, to reflect the levels of the cap that will come into effect in April and October.

Click the ‘more information’ tab above for a summary of the latest trends, details of how to interpret the component costs and allowances, and for information on our methodology.

Policy Areas:

  • Domestic consumers
  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Breakdown of the default tariff price cap (GBP £)
Wholesale costsNetwork costsPolicy costsOperating costsEarnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT)VATPayment method uplift allowanceHeadroom allowance
2018/19 winter44725813719820541212
2019 summer52127015120422601213

More information

At-a-glance summary

  • The level of the tariff cap is based on the underlying costs required to supply energy. It applies from 1 January 2019.
  • We publish the level of the price cap in February and August to apply on 1 April and 1 October respectively each year.
  • The tariff level will reflect changes in the costs to supply energy. We determine how much each independent component of the cap should change by looking at external cost data. Details of the latest update can be found at Default tariff cap: 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2019.

Relevance and further information

This chart summarises the different costs that make up the default tariff price cap.

We update the level of the cap every six months, either reflecting changes in underlying costs, or increases in inflation. Our calculations cover:

  • wholesale energy costs: how much a supplier has to pay to get the gas and electricity to supply households with energy (we base this on forward prices for energy to be delivered over a 12-month period)
  • network costs: the regional costs of building, maintaining and operating the pipes and wires that carry energy across the country to households
  • policy costs: the costs related to government social and environmental schemes to save energy, reduce emissions and encourage take-up of renewable energy
  • operating costs: the costs incurred by suppliers to deliver billing and metering services, including smart metering
  • payment method uplift allowance: the additional costs incurred by suppliers to bill customers with different payment methods
  • headroom allowance: this allows suppliers to manage uncertainty in their costs, and also offer competitive deals beneath the set level of the cap.
  • Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT): a fair rate of return allowed for suppliers, to ensure they can finance their businesses.
  • VAT: 5% tax added to the level of the tariff.

Methodology

  • The level of the cap is based on calculations of the costs required for an efficient supplier to provide energy. It also includes some additional allowances to manage uncertainty, and ensure suppliers can finance their activities, amongst other things.
  • We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical domestic consumer’ with ‘medium’ energy use. At October 2018, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). Find out more at Typical domestic consumption values.
  • All prices shown are for a dual fuel customer paying by direct debit (i.e. where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier). 
  • Further details of the methodology for calculating the level of the Default Tariff can be found in our statutory consultation on the default tariff cap and decision documents.

For a detailed breakdown of the cap by meter type and region, please see our page for the latest level for 1 April to 30 September 2019.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Breakdown of the prepayment price cap (GBP £).

Source: Ofgem analysis.

Information correct as of: February 2019

This chart shows a breakdown of the costs that make up the prepayment meter price cap. It helps to explain the relationship between the level of the prepayment price cap we set, and the different cost factors that influence it each time we update it. We update this chart in February and August, to reflect the levels of the prepayment price cap that will come into effect in April and October.

The prepayment price cap limits how much a supplier can charge customers on prepayment meters per unit of energy. It doesn’t cap the total cost of a bill. That’s because the amount customers pay also depends on how much gas or electricity they’ve used. Suppliers can charge less than the set level of the cap, but not more. All prices shown here are for a dual fuel customer with typical energy use.

We extended the prepayment price cap to a further one million vulnerable customers in receipt of the government’s Warm Home Discount who were on a standard variable or default energy tariff on 2 February 2018 (under the label of a ‘safeguard tariff’). These customers transferred to the broader price cap for customers on default energy tariffs when it became effective on 1 January 2019.

Click the ‘more information’ tab above for a summary of the latest trends, details of how to interpret the component costs and allowances, and for information on our methodology.

For a detailed breakdown of the cap by meter type and region, please see our page for the latest level for 1 April to 30 September 2019.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Breakdown of the prepayment price cap (GBP £)
Wholesale costsNetwork costsPolicy costsOther, indirect cost allowancePrepayment uplift allowanceHeadroom allowanceVAT
2017 summer361257125166642850
2017/18 winter352258112168652749
2018 summer378258135171662952
2018/19 winter421257134172673154
2019 summer493271144174673459

More information

At-a-glance summary

  • We update the level of the prepayment price cap on 1 April and 1 October each year. The update on 1 April 2019 will increase the set level by £106 from its previous level at 1 October 2018.
  • The rise in the tariff level reflects increases in wholesale, network, and policy costs.
  • Other categories of costs remained largely unchanged. These categories are the costs to comply with social and environmental government schemes, network costs, operating costs, costs specifically associated with prepayment meters and ‘headroom’, which is designed to allow suppliers to offer competitive deals underneath the cap.

Relevance and further information

This chart summarises the different costs that make up the prepayment meter price cap applying to customers with prepayment meters (excluding those with fully interoperable smart meters). 

The Competition and Markets Authority introduced the price protection of a price cap to prepayment meter customers, who can’t easily access the cheapest tariffs, in April 2017. These customers are often in vulnerable circumstances. They designed the tariff based on a broad estimate of how much it costs an efficient supplier to provide gas and/or electricity to certain groups of customers. 

As the energy regulator, Ofgem administers and calculates the level for the cap.

We update the level of the tariff every six months, either reflecting changes in underlying costs, or increases in inflation. Our calculations cover:

  • wholesale energy costs: how much a supplier has to pay to get the gas and electricity to supply households with energy (we base this on forward prices for energy to be delivered over a 12-month period);
  • network costs: the regional costs of building, maintaining and operating the pipes and wires that carry energy across the country to households;
  • policy costs: the costs related to government social and environmental schemes to save energy, reduce emissions and encourage take-up of renewable energy;
  • other, indirect cost allowance: this includes operating costs and is inflated by the Consumer Price Index
  • prepayment uplift allowance: the additional costs involved in supplying prepayment customers compared to credit customers, which is inflated by CPI; and
  • headroom allowance: this allows suppliers to offer competitive deals underneath the set level of the prepayment price cap, and is calculated as a proportion of other cost elements.

Methodology

  • The level of the cap is based on calculations of wholesale costs, network costs, policy costs, operating costs and costs specifically associated with prepayment meters. It also includes a degree of ‘headroom’, which is designed to allow suppliers to offer competitive deals underneath the level we set for the prepayment price cap.
  • We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical domestic consumer’ with ‘medium’ energy use. At October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). Find out more at Typical domestic consumption values.
  • All prices shown are for a dual fuel customer (i.e. where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier). 
  • Further details of the methodology for calculating the level of the prepayment price cap can be found in the CMA Order and Explanatory Note
  • The figures presented here are calculated differently from the data on the domestic dual fuel bill breakdown over time for the large suppliers. This data is from the historical financial reporting by the large suppliers. The figures used to calculate the prepayment price cap are estimates across the whole market, and we make certain assumptions. For example, we calculate wholesale prices based on the forward prices for energy delivered over a 12-month period, but individual suppliers may differ in their purchasing strategies – some suppliers buying wholesale energy as much as two to three years in advance and some nearer the time that they launch their products.
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