If you’re confused by your energy bill, you’re not alone – suppliers are often seen as having the most complicated bills.

We have taken an example of an energy bill from British Gas and have shown you where you will find the key information.

The main information on your British Gas bill

Charges, balance and credit / debit

A: Your balance will tell you if you are in debit or credit at British Gas. Knowledge can be a good indicator to know if your domiciliation is at the right level to cover your energy consumption.

If you take out a loan during the winter months, chances are you will have to pay a lower direct debit amount. If you owe your supplier during the summer months, you will accumulate even more debt as you move into winter when your usage increases. Your provider can automatically increase the amount of your direct debit in this case.

Providing regular meter readings keeps your balance as accurate as possible.

Plan details and annual usage

This example is for electricity – gas would follow the same format on a different page

B: This is an example of a QR code that you will find on your invoice. The unique code on your invoice contains information about your rate and usage. Apps like Uswitch’s Switching Made Simple app can scan this code, compare your current bill, and let you know if there are cheaper offers to switch to.

VS : Your rate name could quickly indicate whether or not you are on your provider’s often expensive default rate (standard variable rate). British Gas’ standard variable tariff is called “Standard”. You will also need the name of your current fare for a comparison.

RE: This is the date your current plan ends. After this point, you will be transferred to a rate chosen by your provider, which could cost you more. You need to switch to a fixed plan again at this point to avoid paying too much.

E: If your plan has an exit fee, you may need to pay the amount shown if you upgrade to another plan before your current plan ends.

F: This is your annual usage in kilowatt hours. This is generally estimated on the basis of previous meter readings. Uswitch can use this figure to calculate how much you would pay for the next 12 months on different plans.

Scan your way to energy savings!

With the Uswitch app for iPhone and Android, you can get an instant, tailored energy comparison

Find out more

Counter details

G: Your Electricity Supply Number (MPAN) and Gas Supply Number (MPRN) are displayed side by side on dual fuel bills, or separately if you receive an invoice for each fuel. Your MPAN is the one that starts with an S, and the MPRN is just a 10-digit string.

Here are some common terms you’ll see on your energy bill, and what they mean:

Fixed rate – A fixed rate is just that: it means that your rate cannot be changed by your provider until the end date of your plan. You can get a fixed rate plan for one, two or three years. Learn more about fixed plans, including how they work and the cheapest current plans.

Floating rate – Unlike fixed plans, variable plans are often used by providers for their standard plans. This means that if the supplier announces a price increase, your energy costs will increase.

kWh – A kilowatt hour or kWh is a name given to a unit of energy, and it is the standard unit among gas and electricity providers. One kWh will provide enough energy to power a 100 watt bulb for 10 hours.