A Guide To Understanding Your Energy Bill
There are a number of different facts and figures that will be displayed on your bill. Though the layout will depend on which company you are with, and whether you are a single or dual fuel customer, there are certain things that you should look out for. Namely:
- Balance (Credit or debit)
- Plan Details (& Tariff)
- Usage (Energy Consumption)
Balance (Credit or Debit)
This is where you find out whether you owe the supplier money, or have paid enough that you are in credit. Taking a look at whether or not you are in credit on your account will help you to understand whether you are paying the right amount through your direct debit.
If you are in credit during the winter months (when most people use more energy), then you mat like to look at paying a lower direct debit amount. Being in credit during the summer months, on the other hand, can be a good idea, since it can help to spread the higher cost of winter energy over the whole of the year. (An exception to this might be where the energy supplier is providing interest in any amount that you have overpaid. OVO, for example, pays 5% interest on credit, which is better than many bank returns.)
If you are in debit in the summer months, this can be problematic, since you will likely accrue an even larger debt as you move into the winter months. Your supplier may automatically increase your direct debit amount if this is the case. Even if they do not, you may wish to do so in order to avoid a mounting debt problem.
Plan Details (& Tariff)
Somewhere on your energy bill, you will also find details of your current plan. Check whether you are on a variable or fixed rate tariff. Some suppliers will also give you details of whether you are on their cheapest tariff, or could save money by switching to another plan within their company. Bear in mind, however, that they only list their own deals. In order to find the cheapest deal you will have to compare offers from all the main suppliers with Money Pug.
The plan details should tell you if there is a fixed charge, and also what you are paying per unit of energy. If you are on certain economy tariffs, there may be a different unit charge during the day and night (or during certain periods).
Another piece of information that you should find on your bill is when your current plan will come to an end, if you are on a fixed rather than rolling deal.
Usage (Energy Consumption)
The third important piece of information on your bill is, rater obviously, how much energy you are actually using. You should see information on energy usage over the period of the bill, and also an estimate of your annual usage for the year. They may also include information on how this estimated annual usage differs from your energy use in the previous year.
It is important to check whether the figures for usage are actual or estimated. Figures may be estimated if you have not provided the company with recent meter readings. It is important to make sure that you check your meter regularly if you do not have a Smart Meter that updates the supplier automatically.
By checking your energy usage on your bill, you might be able to work out when and how you are expending the most, and where you might be able to cut energy consumption, and save.
In addition to these pieces of information, you will also see a QR Code on your bill. These are scannable codes that you can use to make it easier to compare and switch your energy supplier. The code contains information such as the supplier name, tariff name and your annual usage. If you have a smartphone, you can quickly scan the code and find the information you need very quickly and easily.
Understanding the basics of your energy bill, whether you receive paper bills or do everything online, can make it much easier to compare and switch. Different energy suppliers may do things a little differently to one another – but the key facts and pieces of information remain the same. Figure out how to retrieve these key pieces of information and you will be a lot closer to taking full control over your energy and making sure you get the best options for you.
Money Pug aims to make your job as easy as possible. We aim to make sure that everyone gets the best possible energy deal for their needs, and can do so with as little stress and fuss as humanly possible.
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