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Understanding your energy bill

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

Most households with a gas or electricity supply will receive a regular bill, telling you how much energy you’ve used and how much you have to pay.

Not everyone gets a regular bill, but at the very least you should receive a statement each year from your gas or electricity supplier. Your bill will contain useful information such as your energy use, information about your current tariff plus projected costs and tariff options for the year ahead. A statement of account for direct debit will also provide the same information as a bill, even though it tells you what you've paid rather than what you owe. This information can help you understand your current circumstances and make an informed choice about switching suppliers.

This page outlines what information should be included on an energy bill and explains how you can tell if your bill is accurate.

What information should be on your bill?

Your gas and electricity bills should generally contain the following information:

  • your supplier’s address and contact details
  • your customer reference number. Use this to make a payment or to identify yourself when contacting your supplier
  • your name and address
  • the amount of money you owe, or in the case of a direct debit or pre-payment meter, the amount you've paid. This is usually printed in bold on the front page
  • what dates the bill covers
  • the previous and current meter readings
  • whether the reading is an estimate or actual, usually shown by an E or A
  • the number of units of energy you’ve used, shown in kilowatt hours (KWh)
  • the price per unit of gas or electricity
  • the daily standing charge costs. A standing charge is a set daily charge that covers the cost of maintaining your supply
  • details of any discounts
  • VAT charges
  • the unique reference number for your supply - also called the MPR or MPAN
  • emergency phone numbers, such as what to do if there’s a gas leak

Your energy supplier should read your meter at least once a year. If they can’t access your meter, they will ask you to take a reading. It is a good idea to take readings more regularly than this, to help ensure you are billed for your actual use rather than an estimate.

Checking your bill

Check your bill to make sure you're being charged the right amount for your gas and electricity.

Read your meter

If your energy bill is based on an estimated meter reading you should read your gas or electricity meter regularly yourself and provide this information to your energy supplier, so it can send you a revised gas or electricity bill, based on your actual usage.

Contact your supplier

If you think there's something wrong with your bill or you don't understand something on it, contact your supplier, who should explain it to you.

Next steps

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