Average Unit Cost of Electricity in the UK 2019

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Most recently, the average electricity bill in the UK was around £600 per year. But there's quite a bit of variation around the UK, due to differences in household energy consumption and the price paid per kWh for electricity in different regions. Additionally, unit costs vary depending on how you pay: credit, direct debit or prepayment. We've broken out costs according to these different variables so you can see how your cost of electricity compares.

Unit Cost of Electricity per kWh, by UK Region

Regardless of how you pay for your electricity, residents in North Scotland, the South West, Merseyside & North Wales and South Wales all pay more than 15p/kWh on average to supply electric to their homes—unit costs in these areas are 8%, 8%, 6% and 5% more than the UK average, respectively.

AreaAverage variable unit price (p/kWh)
East Midlands13.9
South Scotland14.0
West Midlands14.2
North East14.3
North West14.3
South East14.7
Northern Ireland(7)14.7
South Wales15.1
Merseyside & North Wales15.2
South West15.5
North Scotland15.6
United Kingdom14.4

Standing (Fixed) Charges for Electricity in the UK

In addition to having some of the highest variable unit costs for electricity, North Scotland and Merseyside & North Wales residents also pay amongst the highest standing charges. A standing charge is like the line charge on your telephone—it's a fixed cost you'll pay regardless of how much energy you use. Northern Ireland is the only area in the UK where you don't pay a standing charge on standard credit and prepay contracts.

AreaAverage fixed cost (£/year)
South East£70.3
South West£71.0
East Midlands£73.8
North West£74.1
South Wales£74.1
West Midlands£75.0
North East£75.3
North Scotland£75.7
South Scotland£78.4
Merseyside & North Wales£78.6
United Kingdom£72

Here's How Your Electricty Costs Change with Payment Type

How you pay may affect your variable unit charges. As you can see in the table below, paying with a regular direct debit is usually the cheapest way to buy electricity. Prepayment meters tend to have the highest standing (fixed) charges, averaging £85 in the UK—costing households an additional £20 per year vs. paying via direct debit. The highest variable unit charges for electricity are paid by those using credit (that is, you get a bill from your supplier which you then pay with a cheque, credit card, etc.).

Payment typeCreditDirect debitPrepayment
AreaAvg unit price (p/kWh)Avg fixed cost (£/year)Avg unit price (p/kWh)Avg fixed cost (£/year)Avg unit price (p/kWh)Avg fixed cost (£/year)
East Midlands14.8£85.113.6£65.713.6£91.1
Merseyside & North Wales16.4£87.814.9£70.214.9£91.1
North East15.5£84.813.9£66.714.0£91.8
North Scotland16.5£90.515.4£64.815.2£95.6
North West15.3£83.714.0£64.813.9£91.4
Northern Ireland(7)14.7£0.015.1-£22.814.4£-
South East15.9£78.314.4£64.314.2£90.5
South Scotland15.0£87.413.7£70.213.7£92.7
South Wales16.0£88.614.9£61.914.5£95.0
South West16.8£77.815.3£64.715.0£89.8
West Midlands15.4£85.213.9£66.814.0£89.8
United Kingdom15.5£82.014.1£64.614.0£85.1

If you're in a position to pay via direct debit, that is usually the cheapest option. If you're looking to save money on your electricity bills, looking into switching tariff or supplier can be a useful exercise. To learn more, see our guide on Energy Switching.

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