Don’t you just hate things you can’t control? Lockdowns, traffic, ‘the Great British weather’… The list goes on. Most people would put their energy bills on the list of unpredictabilities too. But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Here’s our simple guide to understanding what ‘estimated usage’ really means, and how you can use it to take control of your energy bill.
Let’s start at the beginning. How do you work out the cost of my bill?
There’s three ways that we calculate your energy bill:
Firstly, we send a meter reader round to read your meter and charge you for exactly how much energy you’ve used.
You give us your meter readings, either online or over the phone, and we calculate your bill from there.
If we don’t have a meter reading, then we’ll give you an estimated bill. Without your meter readings we don’t know exactly how much you’ve spent, so we could give you a higher or lower bill that you should actually have.
What does ‘estimated’ mean then?
You get an ‘estimated’ bill when we haven’t got any recent meter readings for your property. To help us estimate how much electricity and gas you’ve used, we use some clever equations, including your past energy use, what time of year it is, how well-insulated your house is and how many people live there. But because an estimated bill is just an estimate, when we do get accurate readings, you may have to pay or get paid the difference.
Don’t think you like the sound of estimated bills? Then here’s what you can do.
We make sure your estimated bills are as accurate as they can be, but if you want to understand exactly how much energy you’re using, then you’ll need to send us your meter readings. This means you’ll only pay for the energy you’ve used. Plus we’ve made it really easy to send us a meter reading – all you need to do is log in to your online account.
How come my bill says ‘estimated’ when I sent in a reading?
It can take up to three weeks to calculate your bill from your meter reading, so if a bill is sent out before then then you might still get an estimate. We’ll let you know when we need your meter readings to make things easier for you.
Struggling to remember when you need to give meter readings? Or maybe your gas meter is difficult to get to? If you want to take the hassle out of meter reading altogether, then a smart meter is probably right up your street. Your smart meter will automatically send us your meter readings, while you can monitor and control your energy use through the excellent in-home display. Interested? We’ll be in touch with you as soon as we’re ready to fit smart meters in your area.
Want to talk to us about your bills?
If you’re having problems paying for your electricity or gas, let us know. The sooner you get in touch, the more help we can give you. You can drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0808 501 5200. We can talk through your options and also recommend ways to keep on top of your energy use.
Remember, the best way to get an accurate bill is to read your meter regularly. If you’re unsure about how to read your meter or you have any other questions, head over to our help and support section.