Understanding your energy bills

The cost of energy has gone up. This means your bills might be higher than usual, even if you’re using the same amount of energy.

Energy Price Cap

Between 1 April to 30 June 2024 the energy price cap is set at £1,690 per year for a typical household who use electricity and gas and pay by Direct Debit.

Energy price cap (Ofgem)

Your bill is not capped. It’s based on how much energy you use.

This applies to all households in Great Britain. You cannot get cheaper deals by changing suppliers at the moment.

Check your direct debit is right (MoneySavingExpert calculator)

How energy bills are calculated

Gas and electricity bills are made up of 2 costs:

  • the amount of energy you use
  • a fixed daily charge for supplying energy to your property, called a standing charge

You have to pay the standing charge no matter how much energy you use.

Energy is sold in units. A unit rate is how much a unit of energy costs.

Bills can be calculated in 3 ways:

  1. Estimated, where the supplier guesses how much energy you use based on the average for a home of the same size and number of people.
  2. Actual, where you provide a meter reading, and your bill shows the energy you have used.
  3. Smart, when you have a smart meter that sends meter readings automatically to the supplier. 

How to understand your energy bill (Which?)

Economy 7

Some people have Economy 7 meters where electricity is cheaper during the night.

Economy 7 explained (Confused.com)

Check you’re paying the right amount

If your bills are estimated, you could be using more or less energy than you pay for.

If you think your energy supplier is overcharging, you could give them meter readings to get an updated bill.

Your payments will go up if you use more energy than they estimate.

Some suppliers let you spread the cost seasonally, so your bills are less in the summer and more in the winter. Check if you pay seasonally. You can ask to spread the cost equally throughout the year instead.

Contact Scope’s Disability Energy Support to discuss how much you’re paying.

Gas and electricity refunds

If you pay for more energy than you use by direct debit, you might be in credit with your supplier. This means they owe you money.

Depending on your supplier, they might:

  • pay the amount back by reducing your direct debit payments
  • refund money they owe you at the end of the year

You can claim back credit at any time. But leaving money on your account can help you pay for higher energy costs in the winter or if prices go up.

How to claim back credit from your energy supplier (Citizens Advice)

If your supplier will not refund you, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Get help with your energy bills

For help with gas and electricity bills:

Energy-saving tips

You might be able to make some changes in your home to reduce how much energy you use.

Temperature and heating

The ideal temperature for your home is between 18 and 21 degrees. Turning your heating down by 1 degree can save you money.

Turning down radiators in rooms you are not using saves around £50 a year.

Washing and drying clothes

Washing clothes at 30 degrees and doing 1 less load of washing each week can save you £29 a year.

Drying clothes on racks or outside where possible instead of using a tumble dryer can save £60 a year.

Washing dishes

Wash up in a bowl rather than using a running tap.

If you have a dishwasher, doing 1 less load each week can save £14 a year.

Turning things off

Turning appliances off at the socket can save £55 a year.

Fixing draughts

Draught-proof your windows, doors, letterboxes and keyholes. This stops heat from escaping. Fixing draughts can save up to £95 a year.

How to draught-proof your windows and doors (Energy Saving Trust)

Energy-efficient products

Fitting a water-efficient shower head can save money.

Check if you can get free water-saving devices (Save Water Save Money)

Energy-saving ideas

Quick tips to help you save energy (Energy Saving Trust)

10 ways to save on your energy bills (Which?)

Find ways to save energy in your home (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 26/02/2024

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