What do I need to know about my energy bills?
Gas and energy bills can often be confusing, making it difficult to decipher them and understand where your money is being spent. To help you master your next bill we have answered some of the most common questions regarding gas and energy bills.
I have just moved house, who are my energy providers?
If you have just moved into a new home you should be told who your energy provider is. If this isn't the case you can call the national meter number helpline on - 0870 608 1524 to find your gas provider. To locate your electricity provider you'll need to contact your regional network distributor - see contact numbers here. (link to national grid number list)
Has my meter been estimated or read?
It's may not be prominent, but somewhere on every energy bill, it will tell you whether your meter has been read or whether the reading has been estimated. A small 'E' next to the latest reading indicates estimated usage, a 'C' tells you that you, the customer, took the reading and an 'A' (for actual) means that the energy supplier has taken a reading.
If your usage has been estimated, there's a chance you're paying too much. Read the meter yourself if it is lower than your estimated usage call your supplier - they'll send you a revised bill.
Why do I pay a standing charge?
Ofgem requires suppliers to include a standing charge in all their energy plans. This is a fixed cost for each day you are connected to your gas and electricity networks. The cost is designed to pay for the maintenance of the networks and is usually the same for everyone and not related to the amount of energy you use.
If you want to try and avoid paying this charge, you'll find some energy providers have a standing charge of zero but it's important you offset this against unit rate to make sure you get the best deal before you switch.
What is a two-tiered tariff?
On some energy bills, you will notice there are two different figures shown as the cost per kWh. This means you are on a two-tiered tariff, where the first proportion of your energy usage is charged at one rate, then the remainder is charged at another, lower rate. This is a way for energy suppliers to include a minimum charge, even when your energy plan doesn't state one.
My electricity provider offers an economy 7 energy plan, what is it?
Economy 7 is a differential tariff that could help reduce your electricity bills. By tracking your day and night usage separately, providers will offer you a reduced nightly rate and a higher rate in the day. To make economy 7 cost effective you will need to be using more than 40% of your electricity at night otherwise it's cheaper to stay on a more standard fixed rate tariff.
Where does the VAT appear on my Bill?
The total amount payable at the bottom of your bill is usually shown with VAT included. Note that VAT for domestic energy is set at a reduced rate of 5%, while businesses have to pay the standard rate of VAT.
What is my current rate?
You can find your current tariff rates on your next energy bill. Alternatively if you manage your account online, you'll also be able to view your current tariff rate there.