How to read your power bill

See how much information you can garner from your electricity bill 171 62891 0 14091465 300

Are you guilty of looking at the final figure of your power bill and ignoring all the fine print and calculations that led to this amount? If you want to reduce your electricity prices, it is important to read and understand all the figures contained in your bill.

Here is a wee break down of all the costs you should be looking for and what you can do to ensure you are getting a good deal.


There are two different tariffs that make up your final power bill - your variable and fixed rate tariffs.

You might know variable rates by their other name, consumption charges, referring to the amount you are charged per kilowatt hour during peak and off-peak times. This rate will vary from bill to bill depending on how much electricity you use.

Your fixed rate, on the other hand, refers to your supply or service charges. This is the amount you are charged to draw electricity to your property and maintain the poles and wires. This is usually calculated on a per day basis and so is unlikely to change too much from month to month.

These rates can also increase if you have reached the end of your contract period. If your contract is due to expire, consider doing an electricity comparison to see if you could be entitled to a better deal.

Estimate or actual reading?

Many gas and electricity suppliers will send a meter reader around every second month to give an actual reading of how much you are really using.

During the remaining months of the year you might get an estimate, which is based on the amount used during the same period the year before.

As a result, your estimate reading could vary substantially if you have had a change of household, for example if there are more people currently in your property than before or if you have made more energy saving measures.

Some suppliers may let you read your own meter during the estimate months, so your bills will be more accurate, while others may supply you with a smart​ meter. This is used to read your power usage virtually so there is no need to have an estimate reading done. It sends the amount directly to your supplier who bills you accordingly.

Electricity usage comparison

If you look on your electricity bill, there should be a graph or table outlining your usage compared to that of similar sized households in this area.

This could give you some indication of how much energy you are saving. Let it act as a benchmark offering you something to work towards.

Posted by Tim Wolfenden.