How to read an energy bill

In this video our energy expert Scott Byrom explains the information on an energy bill, how to take a meter reading, and how to use this to save money on your energy...

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Scott Byrom: A question we often get asked is “how do I understand my energy bill”? But there’s no reason to be left in the dark.

The account number will be on the front page of your energy bill. This confirms your reference number or account number which will be used when speaking to a provider, either on the phone or though your online account.

Most bills are actually estimated bills, but in this instance it’s an actual bill, meaning it’s more accurate. It confirms the time period it’s covered, also the tariff type and name and also the payment method.

The information around your tariff can appear anywhere else on the bill – generally on the left or top right hand corner of the bill itself. Some providers refer to the tariff in a different manner. Sometimes it will be a package; in this instance, it can be a deal, a product or a tariff.

The front page also confirms whether your account is in credit or in debt. This can help you manage your monthly direct debits or payment methods to ensure you’re paying your bill accurately.

Whilst looking pretty daunting at first, each section on this bill just refers to a different time period. The most important thing to look at is the most recent section on your bill, and make sure that it relates accurately to the meter readings you can currently see.

In this instance you can currently see the first reading is an estimated then followed by an actual reading, confirming that the customer has given the exact details through to the supplier. Ensure that these details match, and if not contact your supplier to give them the correct details.

For most people watching this video your energy tariff will consist of two rates. The first will be a higher tier 1 rate that will be applicable for a certain threshold of your usage. The second rate, which will be lower, will be applicable to all remaining kilowatt hours (kWh) that you use.

So the first thing we’re checking for is to make sure that the meter reading reflects exactly what we’re seeing on our bill. So it’s checking the most recent number, going back to the timeframes, down to the bottom or the most recent information and checking it against your meter. Does it match? Yes – excellent, everything’s accurate – if not, get in touch with your supplier, and give them the actual meter reading.

When reading your meter, be sure to take the first numbers, ignoring those that are either inside the red box or may appear as red numbers themselves.

So hopefully now we know a little bit more about our bill, and we’ve checked to see if our meter readings reflect that on the bill itself, to make sure our bills are accurate. The next thing to do is make sure we’re on the best possible deal.

So when it comes to finding the right deal, there are three main energy tariffs to remember:

  • Variable – often the cheapest and prices go up or down.
  • Fixed – which means your price will stay exactly the same for whatever time period that tariffs available for.
  • Capped – prices can’t go up, but they can go down.

To find the right deal, now that we’ve got all the information with us, is go online and enter the details themselves and compare the whole market to see what’s the best product for us.

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