How to read your energy bill

From usage charges to supply fees, discounts and rebates, here's what you need to know about your energy bill.

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Apart from telling you what you owe, energy bills give a lot of information about how you use power..

These details are useful for cutting down on energy usage and costs. They can also help you decide if switching to a different plan or provider will give you a better deal. Here's the details that matter on your bill.

Key details to look for on your bill

While there is a lot of information on any electricity or gas bill, the main details to check include:

  • Due date. When payment must be received for any pay on time discounts to apply.
  • Amount due. This is usually shown at the top of your bill. In addition to the total amount, there may be a smaller total listed with any pay on time discount applied.
  • Average daily usage. This will help you compare to other energy plans.For electricity, daily usage is shown in kilowatts per hour (kWh). For gas, it is shown in megajoules (MJ) for the entire billing period.
  • Usage comparison details. If you have been with your provider for more than a year, you may see details about your average daily usage for the same billing period 12 months ago. For electricity bills, you can also see how your usage compares to other households in your area to give you an idea of how much power you're consuming.

Enter your usage to compare your bill to other plans on the market

The main components of your electricity bill

This is a sample energy bill from AGL where we've broken down each section. Remember that this information may not appear on the same side of your bill as our sample.

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Source: AGL

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The main components of your gas bill

Reading a gas bill is very similar to reading an electricity bill, as described above. There's only a couple of differences:

  • Usage. Gas usage is measured in megajoules (MJ), not kWh. You'll also find that your usage is generally split up and charged in 'blocks'. Gas is mostly charged on a block tariff, where your rates change depending on how much gas you've already used in a day.
  • Supply information. Gas meters have a Meter Identification Reference Number (MIRN) that serves the same purpose as the NMI of an electricity meter.

What about tariffs?

About a quarter of your flat fees cover the cost of generating your energy. About half of your fees go towards the distribution grid that got the power to your home or business. The final quarter of your fees go towards government initiatives and to the retailers' admin fees.

You can learn more about tariffs in our guide to energy fees.

How can I use my bill to save on energy?

  • Compare rates. With your actual usage in front of you, you can compare your current plan to others to see how much you stand to save. You can either compare your rates directly to other plans online or use our bill comparison tool to help you.
  • Consider tariffs. If you're on a single rate plan but realise that most of your energy use takes place in the morning or early afternoon, it might be worth considering switching to a time of use tariff. These charge more during peak times in the afternoon and evening but less at other times. For a detailed explanation of electricity tariffs, read our guide here.
  • Examine usage patterns. If your energy is spiking on particular days, think about why that's happening. Maybe you're running air conditioners or using extra hot water. Ways to save may include investing in more energy-efficient appliances or switching to a controlled load tariff for your hot water heater. We have a comprehensive guide on saving energy here.

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