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

The average cost of electricity is 15.5 p/kWh in the UK. Regardless of how you pay for your electricity, residents in North Scotland, the South West, Merseyside & North Wales and South Wales pay the most, with per kWh costs running more than 16p/kWh on average to supply electric to homes. In fact, consumers in the South West and North Scotland pay 7.1% and 7.3% more than the UK average, respectively.

AreaAverage variable unit price (p/kWh)
East Midlands14.9
South Scotland15.2
North West15.2
West Midlands15.4
North East15.4
Northern Ireland15.9
South East15.9
South Wales16.1
Merseyside & North Wales16.1
South West16.6
North Scotland16.7
United Kingdom15.5

Standing (Fixed) Charges for Electricity in the UK

In addition to having some of the highest variable unit costs for electricity, South Scotland and London 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)
North East£80.5
South East£81.5
South Wales£81.7
East Midlands£82.5
South West£82.8
North West£83.7
West Midlands£84.3
North Scotland£85.4
Merseyside & North Wales£86.0
South Scotland£86.6
Northern Irelandn/a
United Kingdom£81.2

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. Interestingly, prepayment meters used to have the highest standing (fixed) charges, costing households an additional £20 per year vs. paying via direct debit back in 2017. However, the highest charges for electricity (both variable and fixed) are now paid by those using credit (paying by "credit" is when you get a bill from your supplier which you then pay with a cheque, credit card, etc.). In fact, average variable charges cost 8% more and fixed charges cost 33% more when paying by credit than paying by direct debit.

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 Midlands15.8£103.414.8£74.914.0£86.6
Merseyside & North Wales17.3£102.616.0£80.215.5£87.9
North East16.4£101.715.1£76.715.3£71.2
North Scotland17.5£105.616.6£73.415.7£103.0
North West16.1£103.415.1£77.314.8£83.1
Northern Ireland16.2£-15.7£-15.9£-
South East17.2£97.515.7£76.615.3£84.1
South Scotland16.2£103.315.1£80.814.8£87.6
South Wales16.8£104.316.0£73.215.5£84.8
South West18.0£97.116.4£77.015.8£91.2
West Midlands16.5£103.415.2£76.814.9£88.2
United Kingdom16.5£99.515.3£74.714.9£82.1

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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