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Overview

Most utility companies in the UK operate in a competitive market. This means that when you select your utilities you normally have a choice of suppliers.

You normally do not have to pay a fee in order to activate an account with a utility supplier in the UK. You should also be aware that most companies, particularly if you have just arrived in the UK, will require payment by direct debit directly from your bank account (this will normally give you a discount).
 

Electricity and Gas

Most suppliers tend to sell both Gas and Electricity together. Dual deals tend to be cheaper than those offered when only either Gas or Electricity is taken out. You can access a price comparison tool from the consumer focus website Energy Watch . By entering your postcode and level of consumption you can find out the various options available to you.
 

Water

Water is one utility that seems not to have a number of suppliers to select from. You should enquire with your local supplier for rates and procedures to activate your water account. Web search engines should help you to find out your local supplier.
 

Telephone

There are a number of telephone companies with a very wide choice of deals available. As an expatriate you will probably be interested in a fixed price deal for international calls. Luckily there are many such deals available on the market (and some also include free local or national calls and reduced tariffs for calls to mobile phones). The main telephone operator in the UK is British Telecom , along with a large number of competitors such as Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky, Primus, etc.     

Most operators offer a combined “bundle of services” whereby you can subscribe to telephone, internet and TV in one deal.
 

Internet

There are a number of internet providers with a very wide choice of deals available giving you access to broadband connections. It is worth it to verify whether you can have internet access as part of your telephone or mobile phone deal (as this is often the case). The main operators in the UK are BT, Vodafone, O2, Orange, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Plusnet, BE and Sky.
 

Mobile phones

There are a number of mobile phone providers with a very wide choice of deals available. It is worth it to verify whether you can also have internet access as part of your mobile phone deal (as this is often the case). The main operators in the UK are Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, 3 and Virgin Mobile. You can normally either subscribe to a contract plan (i.e. committing yourself for a certain period and paying a monthly bill) or to a “pay as you go” plan. The contract plan normally has the advantage of having all or part of the cost of the phone included.
 

Digital/Satellite TV

In the UK you have a choice between digital and satellite “free-view” services and pay-tv services. Free-view channels can be received either via digital signal or satellite dish. There is a fairly wide choice of channels. In view of this it is worth it to view what is on offer for free before entering into a paying deal. If you are interested in the free satellite service, you can review this on the Freesat website . In order to view free channels you will either need a decoder or a tv which already incorporates this. The main operators of paying services are Sky, Virgin Media and BT Vision.
 

Rubbish Collection

You normally pay for your rubbish collection as part of your Council Tax. You should enquire with your local Council for the collection schedule.

 
 
 
 
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Click on the link below to access an online comparison tool for electricity prices 
 
 
 
All the information on Expats Plaza is free to view. If after having reviewed the information on Expats Plaza you believe this has been useful to you, please visit the Support Us page.
 
 
This page was last updated on 30.12.2010
 
 
Expats Plaza is the website for the Expatriates living in the UK