Check your account regularly

It’s important to check you haven’t paid too much into your account, or if you owe money knowing exactly how much is useful.

No matter how you pay or even if you pay by direct debit, it can quickly happen that you don’t pay enough so you are building up arrears. Or even it could be that you are struggling with the monthly payments but actually have built up some credit in your account.

Some people prefer to have a ‘buffer’ of credit in their account to cover any extra usage, but many would prefer to be paying the correct amount in the first place so as not to have to get credit back from suppliers. Some suppliers may even give interest on the money in your account!

Below are a few examples of different bills to help you recognise the different layout. Each one will show you a breakdown of your usage and cost, which is:

  • The daily standing charge, which is purely to be connected – whether or not you use energy.
  • Then a price per kWh or unit of energy used, 1 unit of electric will power a washing machine for around an hour and 1 kwh of gas would power a small gas ring burner for an hour.
  • Note if you are on a prepayment meter and don’t use gas in the summer – you will still need to top up a small amount from time to time to cover the daily standing charge.
  • 99% of tariffs now have a daily standing charge. Those tariffs which have no standing charge will have above average unit costs which nearly always make it a more expensive tariff – unless you aren’t using a property for months at a time.

So take a look at the below guides for each different supplier which will help you to understand how to read your energy bills.