Standard variable tariff comparison: 28 November 2016

Publication date
28th November 2016
Information types
Policy areas

This page gives a snapshot of how ‘standard variable’ rate tariffs (SVTs) compare on average by supplier and against the cheapest available tariffs.

These figures represent a typical dual fuel customer paying by direct debit and with typical consumption. The pricing information refers to a representative snapshot taken on 28 November 2016 and should not be used as a price comparison tool. To access accredited price comparison sites, see Compare gas and electricity tariffs.

For figures on the number of SVT accounts and price differentials from April 2017, please see the Ofgem Data Portal. We now publish this data alongside our retail market indicators. Please note the information on this page uses a different methodology to our more recent figures. We explain what's changed in the methodology below.

Table: Standard variable tariff information

Supplier (1) Number of customer accounts on standard variable tariffs (2)  Proportion of customer base on standard variable tariffs (%) (3) Average annual cost of  a standard variable tariff (£) (4)

Difference between a supplier’s standard variable tariff and its cheapest tariff (£) (5)

Difference between a standard variable tariff and the average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers (£)    (5) (6) (7) (8)
British Gas 6,639,056 74% 1,044 129 166
Co-operative Energy 96,158 42% 1,121 245 244
EDF Energy 1,943,277 56% 1,069 136 192
E.ON 3,170,499 73% 1,057 41 179
Extra Energy 36,641 14% 1,130 154 252
First Utility 175,208 19% 1,071 157 193
Npower 1,737,642 59% 1,077 180 199
Ovo 225,952 35% 1,064 67 186
ScottishPower 1,541,307 50% 1,081 129 203
SSE 3,864,044 91% 1,068 98 190
Utility Warehouse 503,955 94% 1,012 150 134

Source: Pricing information sourced from Energylinx as at 28 November 2016. All prices include VAT. Customer accounts information based on Ofgem data received from suppliers for March 2016. All information is based on the most recent complete data Ofgem held at 28 November 2016. 

Methodology: Calculating the tariff rates and differences

  1. The table shows the number of domestic customer accounts at March 2016 on standard variable tariffs by supplier (the total of electricity, gas and dual fuel accounts, for all payment methods). It also shows the difference in price between standard variable tariffs and the cheapest tariffs at November 2016, and the cost of an average bill for standard variable tariffs at November 2016.
  2. A dual fuel customer account is counted as one account (rather than two accounts to cover gas and electricity).
  3. All tariffs are for a dual fuel direct debit customer with an average typical domestic consumption value (3100 kWh/year for electricity and 12500 kWh/year for gas).
  4. Tariffs with limited availability, such as offers to only new or existing customers, or tariffs restricted to certain regions are excluded. Collective tariffs are included.
  5. The cheapest tariffs can include fixed and variable tariffs, may or may not involve exit fees, rewards or discounts and may be offered by any suppliers active in the market. Some suppliers included in the average of the cheapest tariffs may not offer the Warm Home Discount, which would be a relevant consideration for eligible consumers currently with a supplier that does offer it.
  6. The average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers is £878. To calculate this, we took the cheapest tariff offered by each supplier in the market (i.e. one tariff per supplier) and ranked them in order of price. We then took the simple average of the 10 cheapest tariffs. This is to ensure a cross-section of suppliers is included in the calculation. It means the 10 cheapest suppliers are selected from all active suppliers in the market, rather than just those named in the table above.
  7. The cheapest tariffs can include fixed and variable tariffs, may or may not involve exit fees, rewards or discounts and may be offered by any suppliers active in the market. Some suppliers included in the average of the cheapest tariffs may not offer the Warm Home Discount, which would be a relevant consideration for eligible consumers currently with a supplier that does offer it.
  8. Tariffs available with ‘white label’ providers have been included in the calculation of the average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers. Where relevant, they have also been included as the cheapest tariff offered by the parent supplier of the ‘white label’ (for the calculation in the second to last column).

Changes to our methodology from June 2017

Please note, our SVT tariff rates and differences figures from 2017 use a different methodology to the tariff information presented on this page for November 2016. The new methodology has the following changes:

  • We have excluded prepayment accounts from all calculations, due to the prepayment price cap that applied from 1 April 2017.
  • We show the total number of domestic customer accounts paying by non-prepayment methods, broken down into four categories: accounts on an SVT held for more than three years with a supplier, accounts on an SVT held for less than three years with a supplier, accounts on other non-standard variable tariffs and accounts on fixed tariffs.
  • Instead of using snapshot figures, we compare SVT and cheapest tariffs based on average prices over the previous quarter.
  • We include variable tariffs associated with reward schemes, bundles or added services in ‘other non-standard variable tariffs’. This is designed to deal with the situation of suppliers with more than one variable tariff, which proved problematic in December).

What is a 'standard variable' tariff?

A standard variable tariff is a supply contract with an indefinite length that does not have a fixed-term applying to 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 are moved to an SVT until they choose a new one. A customer can also make an active choice to select an SVT.

Our data shows that standard variable tariffs are usually more expensive than other deals available in the market. As of October 2016 around 19 million domestic energy accounts (15 million paying by non-prepayment methods) are on SVTs and are potentially missing out on significant savings on their bills compared to cheaper tariffs from their existing or another supplier.