Understanding your gas and electricity bill

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If you find reading and understanding your energy bill confusing, you’re not alone.

Deciphering the mixture of terms and jargon, reference numbers, and tariff information can be like trying to comprehend a completely different language. However, understanding your bill is an important first step in taking control of your energy use and saving yourself money. Luckily, most bills follow a similar format and this simple guide should help you on your way to becoming a master at decoding your energy bills.

1) This is the date your bill was issued 

2) Sometimes known as your ‘account number’, you’ll need to quote this whenever you are in contact with your supplier

3) The Bill Summary section will always show you the period you are being charged for, the date and amount of your last bill, and your current balance (how much you owe or are in credit)

4) Next, the section will show you the breakdown of this bill for both fuels. The Standing Charge covers the fixed costs of providing your home with gas and will vary slightly between suppliers. VAT should always be charged at the domestic rate of 5%. 

5) This shows the date you must pay the bill by

6) Sometimes referred to as your MPRN, every property connected to Mains Gas has one and it is unique for your household

Energy Bill

7) Your bill will always include the name of the tariff you are on, if you’re on a fixed rate this will often include the final month of the tariff. 

8) Your bill will highlight the following information: your current payment method; the end date of your tariff; any exit fees you will occur if you decide to leave the plan early; your annual usage and any fees or discounts you receive.

9) There will be a detailed breakdown of the cost of your bill. Note that the current reading is estimated, when you receive a bill you should check your meter to make sure this is close to what the actual meter shows, if it is a lot lower, you are likely to have a bigger bill than normal next time. 

10) If you’ve been with your supplier for over a year, most bills now show you a graph comparing your energy use for this billing period to the same period last year. If your use is substantially higher during this period, you might want to assess why that’s the case and if there are any measures you can implement to lower your energy use. 

11) These explain how your supplier converts a volume of gas into kilowatt-hours before they charge you for use. Your Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) considers factors a regular kWh rate doesn’t, including standing charges and discounts. 

12) You do not actually pay this per unit but it can be used as a comparison tool when comparing tariffs, as it will boil down the costs of a tariff into one p/kWh figure.

As you can see, the page detailing your electricity tariff will be largely similar to the gas page above so we’re only going to point out a few differences and important things not to miss on your bill

Energy Bill 2

13) Electricity is charged at a higher rate than gas, so it’s likely that the majority of the cost of your energy bill will come from electricity charges. It’s also therefore the best area to tackle when you want to lower your bills. 

14) Energy suppliers now have to show you whether you are on the cheapest tariff they offer and provide potential savings from switching if you are not. Switching to their suggested tariff is an easy way to save money, but make sure you aren’t affected by exit fees before you switch. It should also only be used as a guide of the potential savings, they are not guaranteed.

15) Your electric’s Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) is similar to your MPRN for gas. It is unique to your property and might be asked for when switching suppliers.

Energy Bill 2

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