Sometimes you might receive a gas or electricity bill that is much higher than usual.
This page explains some of the reasons why you might get a bill that seems very high and what you can do about it.
Top tipsAvoid an unexpected high bill by taking regular meter readings and informing your energy supplier of any changes in your circumstances that might change your consumption levels. This could include having a baby or children leaving home.
Check the prices and consumption on your bill to see whether the price of gas and electricity has gone up since your last bill.
Your supplier should give you 30 days’ notice of any price rises, usually by a letter or email.
Estimated meter readings
If you’ve been billed on estimated readings for some time and your meter has now been read, you may have a large catch-up bill.
If you haven't had any bills for a long time, your supplier must follow rules about how far back it can bill you.
If you're elderly, disabled or long term sick you may be able to get help to read your meter through your supplier’s Priority Services Register. Contact your supplier to find out if you can register.
Used more energy than usual
If something has happened recently to make you spend more time at home or use more energy, your bill could be higher than usual. Reasons for using more energy include:
- you’ve just started working from home
- you’ve just retired or become unemployed
- you’ve been ill
- you’ve just had a baby
- you’ve had people staying
- unexpectedly cold weather for the time of year might have increased your usage
- you’ve just moved house and are still getting used to the heating system and timers
- you’ve started using some additional electrical appliances
- you have a faulty gas or electrical appliance which is using more energy
- you accidentally left an appliance on for a long time
- your boiler needs servicing.
If the cause of your high energy use is a faulty appliance, you have to pay the bill. But you might be able to make a claim against the business that sold you the faulty appliance.
- More information on your rights and options with faulty goods.
Mistakes on your bill
Check your bill to make sure it's correct. Mistakes include:
- an inaccurate meter reading has been used by mistake – check the reading on your bill against your meter
- you have been billed for the wrong property – check the address on the bill
- you have been billed for the wrong meter – check the meter reference number (also called MPR or MPAN) on your bill against the reference number on the meter itself
- you have been billed for the wrong kind of meter – check whether your meter is imperial (four digits) or metric (five digits), and that your bill shows this correctly.
If any of these apply, tell your supplier and ask for a new bill.
If you think there may be a fault, keep a log of meter readings every day for a week. If you have done this and still think there's a fault, contact your supplier with this information. They can carry out tests on your meter to find out whether is faulty.