Energy bills are not always easy to interpret and understand. However, it is crucial for you to be able to use them to work out how much energy you use and the precise the amount you are paying for it.
What does my energy bill contain?
All bills differ slightly in terms of how they are laid out; however, they all ought to contain the information below.
The bill will have 2 pages to it. The first page contains:
- Your name and Address – This should be on the front of the bill. Ensure that this is the case and update your supplier should you have to.
- Energy Supplier – The name of your energy supplier and its contact details should be on the bill.
- Customer Reference Number – This is the way in which the energy company identifies you and accesses your details. Ensure that you quote this number when you contact the supplier. Do not mix this up with your Meter Number (please find below).
- Amount Owed and Deadline Date – Your energy provider ought to clearly inform you of the amount you owe them and when they anticipated being paid.
- Billing Period – Herein you are informed of the date the bill was sent out and the time period it covers.
- Tariff Name – This is vital as you need to know what your tariff is called and what kind of tariff it is, especially if you wish to compare energy deals and find out what else is on offer.
- Previous Bill and Bill Summary – This provides snapshot details of your last bill, the amount you paid and a summary of amount you owe this time (including deducted discounts as well as any VAT that has been added).
- Payment Options – Usually at the bottom of page one you are provided with a list of ways in which you can pay your energy bill. These include debit or credit card, Internet, phone banking, SMS, at the Post Office, in cash at a PayPoint or at any bank or by post.
The second page will contain the following information:
Meter number, readings, and calculations
Here you will see the most crucial information.
- Your meter number enables you to identify the meter in your building and provide the correct readings to your energy supplier.
- This will depict your most recent meter reading and the last one, and inform you as to whether this information is “actual” or “estimated”.
- This will also inform you of the amount of energy you have used by calculating the difference between the two figures
- This figure will be depicted in kilowatt hours or kWh as your energy supplier charges you a set amount per kilowatt hour
- You are going to pay a single rate should you pay a standing charge for things like meter readings and the connection cost to the network.
- If you do not pay a single rate then you are going to pay a higher price for a set number of energy units, followed by a lower rate thereupon.
A graph which shows the amount of energy you have used.
You will be able to see your present use compared with your use for the same period 12 months earlier.
Hereby, your energy supplier can estimate the amount of energy you are likely to use over the next 12 months and its cost.
Further contact details
Your bill should highlight a list of useful numbers to call, say, if you have an emergency or you need to make a complaint.
This is needed should you be paying your bill at the Post Office or bank.
What else is on my energy bill?
Other factors you need to know about energy bills:
- Direct Debit – Should you pay your bills by direct debit you will receive a discount from the energy supplier as it means your account is simpler for them to deal with.
- Online bills – Online bills mean avoiding estimated bills by informing your supplier of your meter readings regularly.
- Annual statements – From December 2011 all bills will have include an annual statement. Energy suppliers will be required to tell you exactly how much energy you have used over the year, what it has cost, and (provided they continue with the same tariff) how much they are likely to pay over the next year. Suppliers will also be required to alert customers to any discounts and to prompt them to switch to a cheaper energy tariff or payment method if one is available.