Puzzled by your gas or electricity bill? Energy bills can be difficult to understand, and many customers struggle to see how they have been charged for their usage.
It’s sometimes difficult to know when and where you are using most energy. This makes it more difficult to reduce consumption, and also to find a cheaper deal on your gas or electricity.
In order to help you to understand your energy bill, we’ve compiled this guide to explain each part of the bill and what each section means.
1. Account Number: This is your unique customer number which you will need to quote if you contact your supplier.
2. Bill Summary: Your bill summary shows charges, discounts and VAT over the billing period.
3. Total Charges: This is the amount you are required to pay.
4. Date and Package Details: This is the date your bill was issued, and also the name of your tariff.
5. Contact Information: Suppliers must provide this information in case you need to contact them about your account.
6. Electricity Supplier Number: Your electricity supply number (or MPAN) is a unique number assigned to your meter. This is usually located on the front of your bill and can also be found on the meter itself.
7. Message Panel: The message panel features pricing information, special offers and announcements.
8. Account Details: This section shows details of your recent payments and dates they were made.
9. Bill Breakdown: This is probably the most important part of your bill as it shows how you’ve been charged. This includes kWhs used, standing charges, discounts and VAT. Suppliers must show the period you are being billed for, your meter readings at the start and end of the period, and the unit prices you are being charged.
Note that the meter readings are followed by an ‘A’ (Actual Reading), ‘E’ (Estimated Reading) or ‘C’ (Customer reading). If your readings are estimated, it is likely that your usage has not been calculated correctly. It is therefore important to provide meter readings regularly, such as each quarter.
It’s also useful to know that if you are charged at both higher and lower unit rates for your energy (for example, you may be charged 5 pence per kWh for the first 1000 kWh used, and 3 pence per kWh thereafter), this is shown on a pro-rata basis.
So using this example, if you receive your bills on a quarterly basis, you will be charged the higher rate for the first 250 kWh used during that quarter. This is so that the higher unit rate is spread equally across the year.
10. Total Charges: Your total charges are shown again here (see 3).
11. Meter Point Reference Number: This is your MPRN, which is a unique number assigned to your gas meter. It’s found on the meter itself, and also on your gas bill.
12. In Case of Emergency: Suppliers must provide details of who to call in case of electricity or gas emergencies, such as a loss of supply.
13. Minicom Services: These are details for those who are hard of hearing.
14. Calculating your Gas Charge: This section explains how your gas charge has been calculated.
15. Codes of Practice/Priority Service: This section advises on your supplier’s additional services – including customer complaints, special needs and prepayments.
16. Customer Service: This section should advise you what to do if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, or if you have any unresolved issues. Your supplier should also include contact details for the energy ombudsman.
17. Consumption Graph: This section shows your present energy consumption, compared to the same period last year. You can use this information to monitor and reduce how much energy you use, thereby saving you money.