Bills & Payment

I need help understanding my Bill

Understanding your bill

We know that understanding your bill can sometimes be confusing. With so many different figures to look at, combined with lots of technical terms and confusing jargon, it’s no surprise that people have trouble getting to grips with their bills.

But understanding your energy bills couldn’t be more important. Not only do you want to make sure your bill is accurate and you aren’t being overcharged, you also want to make sure you’re on the best tariff for your needs.different figures to look at, combined with lots of technical terms and confusing jargon, it’s no surprise that people have trouble getting to grips with their bills.

So, to try and make things a bit clearer, we’ve put together this handy step by step guide which explains everything you need to know about your energy bill and your annual statement.

There’s quite a bit of terminology you’ll come across on your energy bill, annual statement, and across the rest of our site. The below list covers pretty much all of the terms you need to know in order to understand your energy bill.

Energy Bill Jargon Buster

Actual bill

A bill based on your actual meter readings, rather than estimated readings. On your energy bill, this will usually be represented as “A” for actual bill, or “E” for estimated bill. It’s always your best option to provide us with actual meter readings every quarter, to ensure you get accurate bills.

Billing period

The period of time you’re being charged by, so this might be monthly, or maybe quarterly.

Calorific Value (CV)

How much heat is generated when a certain amount of gas is burned. This is essentially a representation of the energy contained in your gas, and therefore the quality of the gas you receive.

Capped price tariff

A tariff which guarantees the price per unit you’ll pay won’t go above a certain amount for a set period of time. It is possible that the price per unit could decrease, but it will not exceed the cap.

Direct debit

A payment method where the amount of money you owe is taken automatically out of your bank account on a monthly or quarterly basis, so you don’t need to worry about missing payments. It’s important that you make sure you have enough money in your account to cover your bill, or you could end up being subject to overdraft charges by your bank.

Dual fuel

A tariff where you get your gas and electricity supply from the same provider.

Economy 7

An electricity tariff that features different prices for electricity used at different times of the day. On this tariff you would get cheaper energy during a 7 hour period overnight, referred to as off-peak time.

Economy 10

This tariff works is similar to Economy 7, except you get 10 hours of cheaper electricity. The 10 hours will usually be split between the morning, afternoon and night, and may vary with different suppliers.

Estimated meter reading

If you don’t provide actual meter readings, your bill will use estimated meter readings. This estimate will be based on your energy consumption in the past. It’s always best to provide actual meter readings, so you can ensure your bill is accurate.

Fixed price tariff

A tariff where the price per unit you pay for your energy is fixed for a certain period of time. Your bill may increase or decrease depending on your energy consumption, but the price per unit you pay will neither increase nor decrease.

kWh (Kilowatt hour)

This is the standard measurement of energy used to create your bill. One kilowatt hour is equal to one kilowatt of power for one hour. Your energy bill will include a breakdown of how many kWh of energy you’ve consumed, as well as giving you the price per kWh.

Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)

A unique 21-digit number that is assigned to the electricity meter at your property, and can be found on your electricity bill. If you want to switch energy suppliers, you will need to quote this number.

Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)

A unique 6-10 digit number that is assigned to the gas meter at your property. This is the gas equivalent of the MPAN and can be found on your gas bill.


The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets is a government regulator for the energy industry, with responsibilities including setting price controls and protecting customers’ interests.

Prepayment meter

An energy meter that enables people to pay for their gas and electricity before they use it, rather than after. Payment is usually made using tokens, keys or smartcards that can be topped up.

Rolling contract

A contract that will carry on indefinitely until you decide to switch to a new contract or new supplier.

Smart meter

A new type of meter, which will eventually replace your existing gas and electricity meter. By 2020, all UK energy suppliers will have introduced smart meters as standard. With smart meters, you can benefit from more accurate billing, real time and historic information about your energy consumption and more convenient payment methods.

Find out more about smart meters

Standing charge

A fixed daily charge you will incur regardless of how much energy you consume. This charge is in place to cover the costs of keeping your home connected to the energy grid. All energy plans now include a standing charge.

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