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If your energy bill seems too high or low

This advice applies to England

If you've received a bill that doesn't seem quite right - for example, because it seems too low or too high - there could be a number of reasons why.

There’s different guidance if you’re wondering why your direct debit payments have increased.

Your bill could have been estimated

If your meter hasn’t been read in a while, your bill may have been estimated. This means that your supplier has looked at your average energy use over a period of time and used this to calculate your bill.

This could be why your bill seems too high or low.

How to check

Your latest energy bill will say whether it's been estimated or based on actual readings. If you’re unsure where to find this information, check our tool for understanding your bill.

What to do

If your bill has been estimated, take a meter reading and give it to your supplier. Ask them to send you an updated bill.

You can find your supplier’s contact details on your bill.

There's a slightly different process if your direct debit payments have increased.

You may have changed the amount of energy you use

Your bill might be higher or lower due to changes in the amount of energy you’ve been using.

Have a think about anything that may have meant your energy use has changed. For example, you may have used more energy than usual during a particularly cold spell, or you might be using a new electrical appliance that uses a lot of power, like a tumble dryer or electric heater.

What to do

The Energy Saving Trust has useful information about how to reduce the amount of energy you’re using.

If it’s your gas bill that’s high, you may want to think about getting your boiler serviced by a registered gas engineer. It’s a good idea to do this at least once a year.

There may be a mistake with your meter reading

If you or your supplier has read your meter lately but made a mistake - for example, by mixing the numbers up - it could mean that your bill has been calculated incorrectly. 

How to check

Take a new meter reading and compare it to the meter reading on your bill.

If the figures are fairly similar, this probably means that there isn’t a problem with your reading. If the numbers are quite different, a mistake could have been made. 

What to do

Send your new meter reading to your supplier and ask them to send you a new bill.

You’ve been billed for the wrong meter

Your supplier may have accidentally used the meter readings from another property to calculate your bill. This could mean your bill is wrong.

How to check

Your energy meter will have an identification number. This is called a:

  • Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) for electricity meters
  • Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) for gas meters

Check the MPRN or MPAN number on your meter (it will normally be on the front of your meter box) and compare it to the number on your bill. See our tool for understanding your bill if you’re not sure where to find it.

If the numbers are different then your supplier may be using the readings from a different meter.

What to do

If the numbers on your meter and bill don’t match, call your supplier and let them know. Give them your actual number and ask them to send you a new bill.

Your energy meter could be faulty

If your meter is faulty then any readings you give to your supplier won’t reflect how much energy you’ve used, meaning your bill would be wrong.

Find out how to check if your meter is faulty.

Your supplier has changed its prices

Suppliers sometimes change their prices, often because market prices have increased. 

You should normally be told about a change to the cost of your energy, but it depends on your contract. 

How to check

Your bill will show the cost of your energy (called a ‘unit rate’) in pence per kilowatt hours (kwh). Check your latest bill for the cost of energy, and compare it the previous bill, if you have one. If the figures are different then your supplier has changed its prices.

If you’re not sure where to find the cost of energy on your bill, use our tool for understanding your bill.

What to do

If the cost of your energy has gone up, your best option may be to switch providers or change tariff with your current provider. You can use our tariff price comparison tool to see if you could save money.

You can read more about your rights if your supplier raises its prices.

Further help

If you’ve tried the solutions above and you’re still not sure what the problem is, you can either:

  • contact your supplier and ask them to explain exactly how they worked out your bill
  • contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline - they can help you try and solve the problem

If you’re unhappy with the response you get from your supplier, you should make a complaint.

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