If you think your energy bill is too high
Your energy bill should reflect the amount of gas or electricity you’ve used. For example, your bill will probably go up if you put the heating on more often or start using a tumble dryer.
If your bill has suddenly gone up and you weren’t expecting it, it’s worth finding out why it’s happened.
If you pay by direct debit, you can find out what to do if your supplier has increased your direct debit payments.
If you have a prepayment meter, you can find out what to do if you keep running out of prepayment credit.
Check if your bill is estimated
If you don’t give your supplier meter readings, they’ll send you estimated bills. For example, if you don’t give them a meter reading during the summer, they might send you an estimated bill based on the energy you used in winter.
Check your bill - it should say if it’s estimated.
You don’t need to pay your bill if it’s estimated. Send a meter reading to your supplier to get an updated, accurate bill instead. Check how to send a meter reading.
Send your supplier a meter reading every month to keep your bills accurate.
If you have a smart meter and your bills say they’re estimated
If your meter isn’t working in smart mode you’ll need to read your meter and send your supplier the meter readings. Check how to:
If you got an accurate bill after getting estimated bills
If you’ve recently sent your supplier a meter reading for the first time in a while, your bill might be higher than your old, estimated bills.
Your supplier might have underestimated your energy bills if you didn’t give them a regular meter reading. They use these meter readings to give you accurate bills based on the energy you’ve used.
Send your supplier a reading every month to keep your bills accurate.
You’ll need to pay the bill, but you can get help if you can’t pay it in full. Check what to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills.
If you still think there’s something wrong with the bill, you can complain to your supplier.
If your supplier bills you for energy you used more than 12 months ago
You don’t usually have to pay this. Under 'back billing' rules, your supplier shouldn’t bill you for energy you used more than 12 months ago.
Check if your electrical appliances are increasing your costs
Some electrical appliances can cost a lot to run. You might be getting a higher bill if you recently started using a new electrical appliance, for example a:
- tumble dryer
- plug-in heater
- hot tub
You can check how much electricity you’re using on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.
Check if your energy supplier has put their prices up
Your supplier will usually let you know if their prices change, but it depends on your contract.
You can check to see if the price they charge you has gone up by comparing your recent bills. Check if your ‘unit rate’ or ‘standing charge’ have changed between bills.
If you aren’t sure, contact your supplier and ask them if they’ve increased their prices - find out more about what to do if your supplier has put their prices up.
Check if you’ve been billed for the wrong meter reading
If your bill isn’t an estimate, you should be able to use your bill to check if you’ve been billed for the wrong meter reading. For example, the supplier might have made a mistake and given you a bill based on someone else's meter reading.
- Look at your most recent bill
- Find the meter readings on it that your supplier used
- Read your meter and compare it to the number on the bill - check how to read your meter
If there’s a big difference, your supplier might have billed you for someone else’s meter - or you might have given them an inaccurate reading. Contact your supplier and give them the new reading - you should ask them to:
- send a new bill based on the new meter reading
- check you’ve been billed for the right meter
Check if your meter is faulty
Meter faults are rare, but there could be a problem with your meter if your bills suddenly go up and you haven’t changed how much gas or electricity you use.
If you need help paying your bill
If you’re struggling to pay your gas or electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them. Your supplier has to help you find a solution.
You might also be eligible for extra financial help. Check what to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills.
You can find out how to save money on your gas and electricity to keep your bills down.
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone or by email.