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Understanding your energy bill

If you read and check your gas and electricity bills regularly, you should be aware of exactly what you’re being charged for your energy use, and what you’re paying in standing charges. This knowledge will help you to reduce the amount of energy you use. And that means you could cut your bills down.

Although all energy companies do their best to make sure your electricity and gas bills are as accurate as possible, mistakes do happen. You might be paying too much for your energy because of an inaccurate meter reading, or you may not be paying enough – which could mean you fall into energy debt. Reading and understanding your energy bills will help you spot any errors and put them right.

Energy bills explained

We’ve done our best to make your gas and electricity bills as easy to understand as possible. It’s part of our mission to make energy simpler, fairer and more transparent.

However, to comply with the law, we also have to include a great deal of other information. This means your bill runs to several pages, and it can be hard to find the particular facts and figures you want.

This guide walks you through an OVO bill as a sample UK energy bill, but in fact most energy companies’ bills should include the same details – just not necessarily in the same order.

The first part of your bill shows our contact details, your name and address, your OVO account number, your My OVO ID, your statement number and your statement date. That’s all pretty straightforward, except maybe your My OVO ID number. You use this to log into My OVO – but you can use your email address instead if you prefer.

Could you pay less?

This section lets you know whether you could pay less by switching to a different OVO tariff, or if you’re already on the cheapest one available. It explains what we believe your gas and electricity will cost over the year of your contract with OVO – this is known as your ‘future annual cost’.

Impartial advice and info on switching

This is standard information letting you know where you can get independent advice about your rights as an energy customer and how to save money on your energy bills.

Your statement at a glance

  • This page gives you an overall view of what you’ve been charged since your last energy bill. It shows you:
  • The period covered by the bill.
  • The balance carried over from your last bill – which could be a debit or credit balance. CR (credit) means you’ve paid for more energy than you’ve actually used, while DR (debit) means you owe money as you haven’t paid enough. If a debit balance keeps growing, your supplier may suggest raising your Direct Debit payment to catch up.
  • The cost of the gas and electricity you’ve used.
  • Any Interest Reward or discount you’ve earned.
  • The VAT you’ve paid.
  • The total charges for the month.
  • Your new balance.

About your tariff

This section reminds you of the details of your OVO Energy plan, including how you’re paying and when it ends.

Gas emergency

This section tells you what to do if you smell gas or think there’s a gas leak in or near your home.

Send us your meter readings!

A reminder for customers who haven’t yet got smart meters.

Our energy sources

This shows all the fuels and energy sources we use to provide your energy.

If you’re on our Greener plan, you may be puzzled that the list seems to show that you’re only getting a percentage of your energy, rather than 100%, from renewable sources. This is because we can’t actually separate out the renewable energy from the other sources – once they’re flowing through the grid, they’re all mixed together.

However, if you’re a Greener customer, we guarantee that for every unit of electricity you buy from us, we’ll buy one unit from a 100% renewable energy source. So the amount of electricity you take from the national grid is the same as the amount of electricity we feed into the national grid from renewable sources on your behalf.

Local Network Operators

Your Local Network Operator is the company you need to contact if there’s a power cut, so we provide their phone number here.

lightbulb  Electricity used

  • S number: The bottom half of this box is your Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN), which is shown again in the line below. This confirms that the electricity bill really does apply to your address. You should see the same number in bills from your previous energy suppliers, and from any future supplier you might switch to. The top half of the S number box shows the profile class, the meter timeswitch code and the line loss factor code. Probably very useful to meter engineers but not much help in understanding your energy bill.
  • Meter Serial Number: This is your electricity meter’s unique number and should also be shown on the meter itself, either printed on a sticker or engraved.
  • Tariff: This is your OVO Energy plan: Better, Greener or Simpler. It also shows whether you’re getting our ‘all online’ discount.
  • Meter readings: This shows you the type of meter you’ve got, such as ‘Anytime’ or ‘Economy 10’.
  • ‘Customer readings’ are the meter readings you’ve sent us, while ‘Estimated readings’ are our calculation of what you might have used since your last reading, based on average figures. If your energy provider sends meter readers round to check your meters, their readings are ‘Actual’. Some energy companies simply mark readings C, E or A.
  • Price £/kWh: This is the amount you pay for each unit (kWh) of electricity you use.
  • Standing charge: This covers the cost of delivering energy to your home, so it’s your share of the cost of the pipes and power lines that transport gas and electricity. It’s a fixed daily amount, multiplied by the number of days in the billing period.

gas  Gas used

Most of this section should be clear, or the same as the electricity references we’ve explained above, but here are a couple of other items:

  • Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN): This is the gas equivalent of your electricity MPAN, and confirms that the gas bill really does apply to your address. Your MPRN can also tell you whether your gas is brought to your home by the National Grid or an Independent Gas Transporter (IGT).  If it begins with 74, 75, 76 or 77, your gas is delivered by an IGT.
  • Meter units used in the charge period: On the next line we convert electric units to kWh, to make them easier to compare. How we convert them is explained under Formula in the following section, Explaining your Gas Statement.

Easy ways to pay your electricity and gas bills


1. Direct Debit

With Direct Debit you make a monthly payment, straight from your bank account, based on an estimate of how much energy we believe you’re likely to use in the coming months. If you send us monthly meter readings, we can get a much better picture and make sure your energy bills are spot on.

You’ll get a bill every month, either a few days before or after your Direct Debit comes out.

2.  Smart meter

Like to be in control? Choose a smart meter on Pay As You Go (PAYG). You can top up online, or with the OVO PAYG app, by text or in a PayPoint outlet – it’s super-flexible, to make things easier for you.

We’ll send you an annual statement, so you can keep tabs on what you’ve spent.

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