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Understanding your energy bill – YouGen

Understanding your energy bill

On the 1st April 2022, the energy price cap will increase by 54% which means the average household (paying via direct debit) will see their energy bill increase by £693 per year. The price cap only affects households on standard (variable) tariffs but as a result of soaring energy prices households on fixed tariffs are likely to see similar increases when their deal comes to an end. Now it is more important than ever to ensure that you understand your energy bills so you don’t get caught out by rising energy prices and understand what you’re paying for.

We’ll be taking a look at what an energy bill typically looks like and the important information it should show you.

First, let’s look at the first page which can often look something like this:

‘Your estimated annual cost’: this figure is the estimated amount of money you can expect to spend on your energy usage per year. This figure is based on historic meter readings and is updated every time you submit a new reading. If you do submit a reading it doesn’t get updated immediately, and may take a month or so to be reflected in your estimated usage. When you switch, this information will be passed over to your new supplier to help them charge you accurately.

If you don’t submit regular readings, this figure may over or under-estimate your usage. Submitting regular readings is especially important if you’ve moved into a new property as the estimated annual figure will be based on the previous occupants, and not your usage. Energy usage can vary greatly within the home and can be affected by different types of occupants. Submitting regular readings is incredibly important as it will ensure your monthly bills are accurate as well as your estimated annual usage which will help your supplier predict how much your new tariffs will cost you.

If you struggle to submit your readings, it’s super easy to get a smart meter installed which is free of charge and means your readings will be submitted directly to your supplier every month. You’ll never receive an estimated bill again! More information about smart meters can be found here – https://www.smartenergygb.org/about-smart-meters

Charges and credits on your account: this will show how much energy you’ve used within two dates (the billing period). A positive balance means you are in credit, which is normal in the summer months. A negative balance can be expected in the winter months, but too much debt isn’t normal so please speak to your provider about increasing your payments in line with your usage. This section should also show any payments or refunds you have received within the billing period.

Could you pay less?: Your bill must show whether there is a cheaper tariff you could switch to, but ensure you always shop around with other providers to see if you could get a better deal elsewhere.


Moving on to the 2nd page, this gives more details about the charges you have incurred and further information about the tariff you are on.

Your charges in detail: the billing period should be broken down to give more information about your usage and whether the readings were based on accurate or estimated figures. The above bill shows that both readings are ‘customer readings’. Some bills may use C (Customer) or A (Actual) vs. E (Estimate) to show what kind of reading has been used. Some suppliers use a fixed monthly billing system, so will always send you a bill at the same time every month. If you don’t submit a reading to match this billing period, they will use estimated readings. Some companies, like Octopus, will send you a bill as often as you submit readings – unless it’s been over 3 months and then they’ll send you an estimated bill.

* VAT on domestic energy is always 5%, if you’re being charged more than this you’re probably being charged a commercial rate. Speak to your provider about changing this.

MPAN / MPRN: (Meter Point Administration Number) & (Meter Point Reference Number) for the electricity and gas meters. These are unique numbers which links to the supply of your property.

Meter Serial Number: a unique number associated with the meter installed at the property, the number on your bill should always match the number on your meter. When a new meter is installed, a new meter serial number will need to be updated. It isn’t very common, but sometimes the wrong meter can be linked to the wrong property, so if you’re concerned about your usage always double-check the meter serial number matches what is provided on your bill!

About your tariff: this will show useful information about your tariff, when it ends (if you’re on a fixed tariff) and if you have any exit fees (if you wish to change to a new tariff/provider) and how you pay for your energy. It will also show the unit rates and standing charges for each fuel, this is how much you are charged for each kWh of energy that you use. With fixed tariffs, your unit rates will not change, but this does not mean that your monthly payment will stay fixed. If you increase your usage your monthly payment may have to increase to cover your higher usage, but your unit rates will still stay the same.

Standing Charge – these are the costs incurred for having energy supplied to your home, nearly all tariffs have a standing charge. If it doesn’t the unit rates are usually very high to compensate for this, so make sure you do your calculations correctly and see if it works for you.  Even if you are a very low energy user, you will still have to pay a standing charge every month. As you can see on the bill above, £175.71 (ex. VAT) will be charged annually for the standing charge alone. You’ll still have to £14.64 per month (ex. VAT) even if you use no energy at all.


We understand that 2022 may be a difficult year for people in terms of paying for their energy, at Better Housing Better Health we are here to help if you have any concerns or queries about your energy usage and paying for your usage. For more information on how we can help, please call us on 0800 107 0044 or email bhbh@nef.org.uk. Better Housing Better Health currently operates in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and parts of Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire – if you do not live in these areas please speak to your local authority and see if they offer similar support services.



Source: yougen.co.uk

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