Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

If you think your energy bill is too high

This advice applies to England

Your energy bill should reflect the amount of gas or electricity you’ve used. For example, your bill will probably go up if you put the heating on more often or start using a tumble dryer.

If your bill suddenly has suddenly gone up and you weren’t expecting it, it’s worth finding out why it’s happened.

If you pay by direct debit, you can find out what to do if your supplier has increased your direct debit payments.

If you have a prepayment meter, you can find out what to do if you keep running out of prepayment credit.

Check if your bill is estimated

If you don’t give your supplier meter readings, they’ll send you estimated bills. For example, if you don’t give them a meter reading during the summer, they might send you an estimated bill based on the energy you used in winter.

Check your bill - it should say if it’s estimated.

You don’t need to pay your bill if it’s estimated. Send a meter reading to your supplier to get an updated, accurate bill instead. Check how to send a meter reading.

Send your supplier a meter reading every month to keep your bills accurate.

If you have a smart meter and your bills say they’re estimated

This means your smart meter isn’t sending automatic readings to your supplier. For example, this can happen if you recently switched to a new supplier.

You’ll need to read your meter and send your supplier the meter readings. Check how to:

If you got an accurate bill after getting estimated bills

If you’ve recently sent your supplier a meter reading for the first time in a while, your bill might be higher than your old, estimated bills.

Your supplier might have underestimated your energy bills if you didn’t give them a regular meter reading. They use these meter readings to give you accurate bills based on the energy you’ve used.

Send your supplier a reading every month to keep your bills accurate.

You’ll need to pay the bill, but you can get help if you can’t pay it in full. Check what to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills.

If you still think there’s something wrong with the bill, you can complain to your supplier.

If your supplier bills you for energy you used more than 12 months ago

You don’t usually have to pay this. Under 'back billing' rules, your supplier shouldn’t bill you for energy you used more than 12 months ago.

Check what to do if your supplier tries to overcharge you.

Check how to reduce costs if you pay less for electricity at night

If you pay less for electricity at night you’ll have a two rate tariff, often known as ‘Economy 7’. This means you pay less for energy you use overnight, and more during the day.

If you have night storage heaters

It’s important to know how to use these properly so you don’t pay more than you need to. Check how to reduce your night storage heater bills on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.

If you have an immersion heater

If you can, you should set the timer on your hot water tank so that the immersion heater comes on during the night. It’s worth doing this even if you only use hot water during the day.

Check your meter is set up properly

If you’re sure your heaters are set up right, check your meter. If your meter isn’t set up properly you could be paying the more expensive daytime rate for the energy you’re using at night.

You can check your meter’s set up properly by using a bit of electricity during the day and looking at your meter display. You should only see your daytime meter reading go up.

If you’re not sure what time your daytime rate starts and ends, check if it’s on your bills or contract or ask your supplier.

Follow these steps to check your meter’s set up properly:

  1. Look at your current meter reading and make a note of it - if you're not sure, check how to read your meter
  2. Boil a kettle full of water - this will use some electricity
  3. Check your meter again
  4. See if the numbers have increased on the correct display

If the numbers increase on the wrong display, contact your supplier and ask them to check your meter is set up properly.

You can get more advice about saving money with Economy 7 meters on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.

Check if your electrical appliances are increasing your costs

Some electrical appliances can cost a lot to run. You might be getting a higher bill if you recently started using a new electrical appliance, for example a:

  • tumble dryer
  • plug-in heater
  • hot tub

You can check how much electricity you’re using on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.

Check how energy efficient your home is

You might be able to save money by making your home more energy efficient - for example, making changes so you use less electricity and gas. Find out how to make your home more energy efficient.

Check if your energy supplier has put their prices up

Your supplier will usually let you know if their prices change, but it depends on your contract.

You can check to see if the price they charge you has gone up by comparing your recent bills. Check if your ‘unit rate’ or ‘standing charge’ have changed between bills.

If you aren’t sure, contact your supplier and ask them if they’ve increased their prices - find out more about what to do if your supplier has put their prices up.

Check if you’ve been billed for the wrong meter reading

If your bill isn’t an estimate, you should be able to use your bill to check if you’ve been billed for the wrong meter reading. For example, the supplier might have made a mistake and given you a bill based on someone else's meter reading.

You should:

  1. Look at your most recent bill
  2. Find the meter readings on it that your supplier used
  3. Read your meter and compare it to the number on the bill - check how to read your meter

If there’s a big difference, your supplier might have billed you for someone else’s meter - or you might have given them an inaccurate reading. Contact your supplier and give them the new reading - you should ask them to:

  • send a new bill based on the new meter reading
  • check you’ve been billed for the right meter

Check if your meter is faulty

Meter faults are rare, but there could be a problem with your meter if your bills suddenly go up and you haven’t changed how much gas or electricity you use.

Check if your meter is faulty and find out how to get it fixed.

If you need help paying your bill

If you’re struggling to pay your gas or electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them. Your supplier has to help you find a solution.

You might also be eligible for extra financial help. Check what to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills.

Further help

You can find out how to save money on your gas and electricity to keep your bills down.

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone or by email.

Did this advice help?
Why wasn't this advice helpful?

Please tell us more about why our advice didn't help.

Did this advice help?

Thank you, your feedback has been submitted.