Reading your Energy Bill
Controlling your energy bills is one of the most important aspects of managing your energy spend.
And learning exactly what your bill is telling you will help you stay on top of matters and hopefully spot any problems before they happen. Here are a few things that could help you understand what your electricity or gas bill is telling you.
- Electricity Supply Number - It's your unique electricity supply number, but what does it look like?
- Gas Supply Number - It's your unique gas supply number, but once again what does it look like?
- Meter Reading Symbols - What those letters alongside the meter reading numbers mean
- Your Electricity Distribution Company - How to find out who looks after the wires that connect you to the grid?
Information to help you read your bill
Your premises will have a unique electricity supply number. This is known as the MPAN or Meter Point Administration Number, and should be shown on both your bill and your electricity meter. The MPAN may also be refered to as the 'M Number' (see example below).
And if you would like to know what the numbers shown in each of the MPAN fields actually mean, click here
Every gas meter can be uniquely identified by its MPRN or Meter Point Reference Number. Exactly the same as the MPAN relating to your electricity meter, no other property in the UK will have this number (see example below)
Two of the most important components shown on your energy bill will be your 'previous' and 'latest' meter readings. These will enable you to check that readings used for the period in question are in line with expectations, in other words your own readings.
However, almost important is the readings themselves are the context in which they have been used. Many readings are provided by means other than a supplier's agent taking the meter reading as a true account. Although, it is a legal requirement that their should be a regular independent meter reading, most energy accounts are managed on the basis of readings submitted by the customer.
When we read our gas or electricity bill, each reading should have a symbol after similar to those shown below, so you know how it was arrived at.
(The reality is that most bills will fail to give any indication whatsoever, but we can only hope for improved practices from the suppliers).
- (A) Actual meter reading. Normally read by the supplier or their authorised representative
- (C) Customer has provided the meter reading (usually by telephone or on-line)
- (E) Estimated reading made by the supplier
- (F) Final meter reading when leaving a property or switching energy supplier.
- (N) New meter's initial reading when first installed
- (R) Final reading from a meter that has been physically removed
The Distribution company is responsible for management of the distribution system and electricity wires which transports the electricity to your meter. And of course this may well be a different company to that which is currently your electricity supplier.
This is a list of the Distributor ID numbers that will help you identify the local Distribution Company responsible for physically supplying your electricity:
10 - Eastern Electricity
11 - East Midlands Electricity
12 - London Electricity
13 - MANWEB
14 - Midlands Electricity
15 - Northern Electricity
16 - NORWEB
17 - Scottish Hydro-Electric
18 - Scottish Power
19 - Seeboard
20 - Southern Electricity
21 - SWALEC
22 - SWEB
23 - Yorkshire Electricity
You can find out which Distributor is responsible for supplying your premises by checking the number in the bottom left box of your MPAN label (see example MPAN label below which shows it's Distributor ID No.20 - Southern Electricity).