If you’re struggling with gas and electricity arrears or need help with rising gas and electricity bills, read our guide to gas and electric arrears.
In this guide we’ll cover:
- What information is on your energy bill
- How your bill is calculated
- Why you should take regular meter readings
What information is on my energy bill?
Most energy bills contain the same information:
- Your name and address
- Your customer account number
- The name and contact details of your energy supplier
- The name of the tariff you’re on for your gas and electricity
- How much gas and electricity you’ve used since your last bill
- Your latest gas and electricity meter readings, or estimates
- Your estimated annual cost
- Your payment method
- The amount of money you need to pay your energy supplier
- Your gas and electricity meters’ reference numbers
Check your details
It’s important to check that your details are up to date or you could be paying for more than your own energy use.
- Make sure the name and address on the bill is right and it isn’t just addressed to ‘the occupier’
- Make sure the billing period is correct and doesn’t include time before or after you lived in the property. If you’re moving house, make sure to take a meter reading the day you move out, and provide a new reading for day you move in
- Check the meter reference numbers match those on your bill
The tariff is the price you pay per unit for the gas or electricity you use. This also includes a standing charge. This is a fixed daily amount you pay for energy, regardless of use.
Types of tariff
There are two main tariff types, fixed rate and variable. Your supplier may also offer other tariffs.
Your energy use
This should show a breakdown of your usage over the last period. This could be monthly, quarterly or yearly.
Bills need to show the cost of your energy for the last 12 months, unless you’ve been with your supplier for less than a year.
Estimated annual cost
This predicts the cost of your energy for the next year based on what you've used in the last twelve months. It assumes you stay on the same tariff and use the same amount of energy.
Terms and conditions
Suppliers should outline the terms of your contract. This should include exit fees and tariff end dates.
Tariff end dates
If you’re on a fixed-rate tariff at the moment, you’ll automatically roll over onto your provider’s standard variable-rate deal when the tariff ends.
Early exit fees
With some plans you may need to pay an early exit fee if you want to change suppliers or move onto a new tariff. Your provider can’t charge you any exit fees if you switch within 49 days of the end of your current tariff, so it’s important to know when your tariff ends.
How your bill is calculated
The unit rate is the price for each unit of gas or electricity you use. Units are calculated as pence per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Different tariffs may have more than one unit rate – for example, day, night and weekend rates. These should be shown separately on your bill.
What does 'kWh' mean?
A kilowatt hour is the measure used to explain how much energy you use.
Energy is measured in watts, 1,000 watts is equal to one kilowatt (kW).
If you use an appliance rated at 1,000 watts for one hour, you’ll be billed for 1kWh.
Examples of appliances and their kWh energy usage:
- Electric kettle - 0.1 kWh
- Electric oven - 1.56 kWh
- Washing machine - 0.63 kWh
- LCD TV - 0.21 kWh
A standing charge applies to both gas and electricity. It is a fixed daily charge which is not affected by the amount of energy you use. The standing charge is used to cover the costs that your energy provider incurs supplying you gas and electricity.
What Credit and Debit means on your bill
Credit (or ‘CR’) on your bill means you’ve overpaid, debit (or ‘DR’) is when you owe the supplier.