Regional variations in business electricity prices

Article posted

26th Jun 2024

Read time

4-7 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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Electricity prices for businesses in the UK can vary significantly depending on the region. For businesses, understanding these regional differences is crucial for budgeting and managing operational costs. In this article, we explore the factors that contribute to the variation in electricity prices across the UK, focusing on the North, the South, and London, where prices range from 30p/kWh to 27p/kWh.

Northern UK: Higher costs at 30p/kWh

Businesses in the northern parts of the UK face higher electricity costs, averaging around 30p per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Several factors contribute to this higher price:


Distribution costs

The infrastructure for distributing electricity in the North can be more expensive to maintain and operate. The rural and remote areas often require more extensive and costly networks.


Supply and demand

There can be less competition among suppliers in the North, leading to higher prices. Additionally, colder climates can increase demand for electricity, particularly in the winter months, driving up costs.


Renewable energy investments

The North has a significant number of wind farms and other renewable energy projects. While these are beneficial for sustainability, the initial investment costs can translate into higher prices for consumers.


Southern UK and London: competitive rates at 27p/kWh

In contrast, businesses in the South of the UK, including London, enjoy slightly lower electricity prices, averaging around 27p per kWh. This can be attributed to several factors:


Higher population density

The South, particularly London, has a higher population density, which can lead to economies of scale. The cost of distributing electricity is spread over a larger number of consumers, reducing the per-unit cost.


Greater competition

There tends to be more competition among electricity suppliers in the South and London. This competitive environment helps keep prices lower as suppliers vie for business customers.


Infrastructure efficiency

The infrastructure in the South is generally more modern and efficient, reducing the cost of maintenance and operation, which can help lower electricity prices.


Factors influencing business electricity prices

Several overarching factors influence the cost of electricity for businesses across the UK:


wholesale energy prices

The cost of electricity in the wholesale market is a significant determinant of the prices businesses pay. Wholesale prices can fluctuate based on global energy markets, availability of natural resources, and geopolitical events.


Government policies and taxes

Government regulations, taxes, and subsidies for renewable energy projects can impact electricity prices. For example, policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions might encourage investment in renewable energy but also lead to higher initial costs.


Energy consumption patterns

The amount of electricity a business consumes and when they consume it can affect the price they pay. Peak demand times typically see higher prices, while off-peak times may offer lower rates.


Contract terms

The terms of the electricity supply contract, including the length of the contract and the type of pricing (fixed or variable), also play a role in determining the final cost for businesses.


Strategies for managing electricity costs

Businesses can take several steps to manage and potentially reduce their electricity costs:


Energy efficiency measures

Investing in energy-efficient equipment and practices can significantly reduce electricity consumption. This includes upgrading to LED lighting, optimising heating and cooling systems, and implementing energy management systems.


Renewable energy sources

Generating electricity on-site through renewable sources like solar panels can help businesses reduce their reliance on the grid and lower their energy costs in the long run.


Negotiating contracts

Businesses should regularly review and negotiate their electricity supply contracts. Working with an energy consultant can help identify the best deals and contract terms.


Load shifting

Adjusting energy-intensive operations to off-peak times can help take advantage of lower electricity rates.


The variation in business electricity prices across the UK highlights the importance of regional factors and market dynamics in determining energy costs. By understanding these differences and implementing strategic measures, businesses can better manage their electricity expenses and improve their bottom line. Whether in the North, South, or London, staying informed and proactive is key to navigating the complexities of the energy market.

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