With electricity prices seemingly climbing ever skyward, if you want to keep your costs down you need to undertake a thorough electricity price comparison to ensure you find the cheapest energy suppliers in your area.

Here's how to compare electricity prices so you cut the cost and have more money left in your pocket.

What are you looking for?

Before you compare electricity rates and providers it makes sense to establish exactly what you need from your supplier.

Pick a type of tariff

Deciding on the type of electricity tariff you are looking for is a big part of picking the best provider for your circumstances.

As with other utilities including gas, there are two main types of electricity tariffs, fixed and variable.

Essentially a fixed or capped tariff will restrict the amount you pay for a set period. This means you know your costs won't exceed a certain level for the duration of the tariff; however in return for this guarantee the price per unit charged by fixed tariffs tends to be more - at least to start with - than their variable counterparts.

A variable, or flexible tariff doesn't offer any guarantee on the price you're charged per unit so it could change at any time. Alternatively, if prices do fall while you are on a variable tariff, the price you pay could also drop.However, as they don't provide this protection they tend to be cheaper from the outset,

How much electricity do you use?

Most tariffs incorporate a standing charge into their energy prices, meaning that the price of your electricity per kWh will drop after you've used a set amount.

This means that if you use a small amount of electricity, the standing charge will have a greater impact on the overall cost of your usage, rather than if you use a high amount and move onto the lower rate quicker.

If you are unsure how much electricity you currently use, you can check a past statement or look at your Annual Energy Statement.

When do you use your electricity?

If you can be flexible in when you use the bulk of your electricity then you may want to consider opting for a tariff which offers reduced rates at certain times of the day.

Economy 7 is a type of energy tariff that charges you less for using energy at off-peak times. It's designed to encourage people to use electricity when it's at its cheapest.

The off-peak period lasts 7 hours, (hence the name Economy 7) and usually starts at around 1:00am although this will depend on where you live.

During this 7 hour period the cost of electricity can be up to 4 times cheaper than the standard tariff price.

Dual fuel?

If you currently have two different supplies for your electricity and gas, you could save money by combining the two utilities onto one duel fuel tariff.

While there is no guarantee that a duel fuel tariff will be cheaper than separate tariffs with different utility suppliers, most will come with discounts of up to 100, or 8% off your bill if you combine the two.

Decide how will you manage and pay your bills

If you're happy to manage your account online and pay by direct debit then you could cut the cost of your electricity significantly.

This is something worth taking into consideration when looking for the cheapest electricity suppliers as the level of discount on offer for each of these could change which supplier proves to be the cheapest option.

However, if you prefer to receive paper statements and pay your bills as they are due then you may be less concerned with the level of discount on offer for managing and paying in this way.

Check the rates

Once you've decided exactly what you want from your supplier and narrowed you options to those offering what you're looking for, you need to compare prices directly.

The main factor you need to check is the kWh rate (price per unit) you are charged for your electricity, both with and without any standing charge, so you find the cheapest suppliers overall.

By checking all these factors you should be able to find the cheapest energy supplier for your electricity usage!

To compare rates you can use our electricity comparison UK table and find the best supplier for your circumstances.