Understanding your gas and electricity bills

Your energy bill can help you keep track of how much you’re using and give you the information you need when comparing energy deals.

Your customer number and bill period

Energy companies give you your own unique customer number or account number to identify you.  This is so that when you contact them or access your online account they’ll know it’s you. The bill period will show you the start and end date of consumption that your bill or statement covers.

Did you know that most companies will accept a digital copy of your energy bill as proof of address, or to apply for a loan or mortgage? It counts as a utility bill. If you’re with us, it’s easy to view or download your current or previous bills online.

How much is your energy bill?

You’ll see a snapshot of:

  • Your opening balance
  • Total energy costs within the bill period – inc. VAT
  • Any adjustments such as discounts and refunds
  • How much you’ve paid within the bill period
  • Your new balance

If you don’t have smart meters, the best way to get more accurate bills is to submit regular meter readings. That way you’ll only pay for the energy you use when you use it.

If you think your energy bill is wrong, our FAQs may help to identify the issue.

About your energy tariff

Here you’ll find a summary of your current tariff including unit rates and standing charges, any exit fees, tariff end date, your chosen payment method and estimated annual usage.

This information may come in handy when comparing energy suppliers to find the best deals for you.

Want to understand the differences between fixed and variable rate energy tariffs? Read our guide to learn more.

How your bill is calculated

You’ll see two main charges on your energy bill:

Unit rate

This is the price for each unit of gas or electricity you use calculated as pence per kilowatt hour (kWh). A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of how much energy you’re using per hour. One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts. You’ll be using watts of energy on all the appliances you run including heating, lights and TV. If it’s on, it’s using energy.

Check out our helpful guide to learn more about what a kWh is and how it’s calculated.

Depending on the tariff you agreed with your supplier, you may have more than one unit rate, for example day, night and weekend rates - shown separately on your bill.

You’ll also see if actual or estimated meter readings have been used to calculate your energy use in the billed period.  If you don’t have smart meters that send automated readings, we’ll use the manual meter readings you provide or estimate how much you’ve used, which may not be accurate.

Standing charge

This is a fixed cost which keeps you connected to the energy network. It includes the cost of the pipes and power lines that supply the energy to your home, and maintenance of your meters. It’s like line rental for energy and you pay this no matter how much energy you use. 

Check out our handy guide to find out more about standing charges.

How does your gas and electricity use compare to the typical UK household? Check out our average energy bill guide. And, if you think you’re using too much energy, we can help with some energy saving tips.

Your meter point number

This number is unique to your meter.  For an electricity meter, it’s known as the electricity supply number or Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN). For a gas meter, it’s known as the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). We use this to identify your individual supply points so we can charge you correctly for your energy use.

Your energy bill payment date

This is the day your payment needs to reach your energy provider or, if you pay by Direct Debit, when your payment will come out of your account.

There’s lots of ways you can pay for your energy, but if you have a credit meter, the easiest and most convenient way to pay is by direct debit. Payments are made directly from your bank account - also known as outgoing payments - and avoids unnecessary late payment fees.

Paying by fixed monthly direct debit, means you can also spread the cost of your energy over 12 months.

If you’re a British Gas customer, it only takes a few minutes to find the best way to pay for you.

If you’re struggling to pay your bill, we’re here to help make it more affordable for you. We can also help people who are with other energy suppliers through the British Gas Energy Trust.

Read our bill guides and FAQs

If you’re a British Gas customer, check out our handy bill guides.

We’ve also put together some FAQs to help with understanding energy tariffs.

Your online account. Manage your energy account, whenever, wherever

Access your account online 24/7. It's here to make life easier. Download your bills, set up Direct Debits, and send meter readings, all from your phone or computer.

Login or register

How does your energy bill compare?

Some energy providers will use your bill to offer you cheaper tariffs that might be a better fit for you. It’s a good idea to compare your current energy tariff with the rates being offered by other companies, but make sure you check the tariff terms carefully, as there may be an exit fee if you choose to leave your current plan before it’s due to end.

If you think you could get a better deal, we can show you how to switch energy supplier.

Want to know more?

Average energy bill

How does the energy you use compare to the typical UK household?

An average energy bill

Fixed or variable tariffs

Which is better? Here we explain the differences to help you decide.

Fixed vs variable energy tariffs

Energy saving tips

Reduce your bill and your carbon footprint – try our energy saving tips.

Save energy