The tariff comparison rate (TCR) is often quoted on energy comparison sites and on energy suppliers bills and websites but what does this mean?
What is the Tariff Comparison Rate?
The tariff comparison rate (TCR) is an amount that the tariff would cost a typical customer. It is used to help customers to compare energy tariffs based on comparative price, similar to the APR for credit cards.
The tariff comparison rate factors in the unit rate, any standing charge, and discounts based on medium energy usage. It is expressed as an amount per kilowatt hour (p/kWh). This figure should not be confused with the price per unit that you are charged for as this rate does not include any other charges.
The tariff comparison rate was introduced in 2010 to help customers understand energy pricing as the number of tariffs available per energy supplier was greater and the deals were unnecessarily complicated.
Since then the UK energy market has evolved and energy suppliers are restricted on the number of energy tariffs that they can offer and there is a drive for simpler tariff structures, so the market is less complex.
As result in June 2017 Ofgem no longer required energy suppliers and price comparison sites to provide tariff comparison rates, however, many are still using these rates.
Where Will You Find the Tariff Comparison Rate?
Your current tariff comparison rate can be found on your energy bills, on your energy account if you have an online account, and in any energy supplier communications that refer to your energy tariff.
When you are searching for new tariffs, the tariff comparison rate may be displayed in the energy suppliers’ quote, their literature about the tariff, and on some price comparison sites.
Is the Tariff Comparison Rate a Good Indicator of Your Spending?
The tariff comparison rate is an indicator only of what that tariff might cost per kilowatt hour and is not an accurate figure of what your actual costs might be. As the rate is based on medium usage if you are a high or low user of energy it will not reflect your expected price per kilowatt hour of energy.
It does give a simple way to compare tariffs but to ensure the tariff is right for you and offers the best value you should compare quotes based on your own energy consumption. You can do this by using a price comparison website or using the energy suppliers’ quoting tool.
Finding the Best Energy Tariff for You
The simplest way to compare energy suppliers is by using a price comparison site to see which energy supplier/s can offer you the best tariff.
To get the most accurate comparison you should use your actual consumption data from your current energy bills and use an annual figure where possible. If you do not have the energy usage figures you can select the level of usage you have but this will not give you an accurate reflection of your anticipated costs.
Power Compare has a price comparison tool that is powered by the Ofgem accredited uSwitch service. We also have a useful guide that can help support you through the switching process if you need help.
It is worth knowing that you may get a cheaper tariff if you are able to:
- Pay by direct debit
- Manage your account online rather than receiving paper bills, and submit your own meter readings
- Get both gas and electricity from the same supplier on a dual fuel tariff