In terms of energy consumption, customers tend to be grouped by the industry into low, medium and high users. These groups were originally identified by Ofgem. Different tariffs will be aimed at different level users accordingly, so – for example – the best value deal for a high user may not be such good value for someone who uses considerably less fuel.
But which are you? Well, the following summaries of typical users should help. Although it’s worth bearing in mind that the best way to tell is by knowing how many kilowatt hours (kWhs) of gas or electricity you use. You can judge this from your bill, or even find out in real time if you have a smart meter.
Your average low user will use 10,000 kWhs of gas and 1,650 kWhs of electricity in a year. This level of use will typically be incurred by a small household – one or two residents in a modestly-sized property. Other factors may limit usage, such as spending a lot of time away or working long hours. Users in this group are likely to use appliances only sparingly.
Your average medium user will use 20,500 kWhs of gas and 3,300 kWhs of electricity annually. Best buy tables for gas and electricity are generally based on this group. Medium users will tend to live in mid-sized houses (two or three bedroom) and consist of parents who work in the day and are therefore likely to use more power in the evenings and on weekends. A nuclear family, basically.
According to the industry, those in the high group consume 28,000 kWhs of gas and 4,950 kWhs of electricity each year on average. This level of use will be incurred by a large household – so four or more occupants in a property with four or more bedrooms. Regular heating and appliance use is likely as is multiple televisions and so this will bump up the usage.
Remember the group you’re in isn’t necessarily hard and fast. It could conceivably change with your circumstances – for example if you took on lodgers, or had children. Moreover, these group summaries are intended as a guide only. Realistically, usage will vary from one household to the next. For this reason, using a Consumer Focus accredited comparison site such as Confused.com is your best bet for finding the tariff that suits your circumstances.
If you don’t have bills handy to do the maths, you might find our reading your meter article helpful.
Also if you’re concerned that your consumption is too high, and you’d like to save a bit of money, then read our article on how to cut down on usage.