Energy advice

Understanding your energy use, and how we show it on your account

Knowing exactly how much energy you use at home puts the power in your hands. It helps make sure your energy quotes and bills are as accurate as can be. 

Here’s how we work out how much energy you’ve used, and how to find that information in your account.

Why is working out your energy use so important?

When it comes to energy bills, knowing exactly how much energy you’ve used could save you money. And it can also help you cut down your carbon footprint, lowering the impact of your home energy on the planet.

If you have a traditional meter, it’s important to take meter readings and send them to your supplier, so that your bills are accurate.

But the best way to know exactly how much energy you’re using is to have a smart meter. These automatically send meter readings to your supplier, and connect to your In-Home Display (IHD), so that you’re able to keep track. 

What happens if you overestimate your energy use

If you have a traditional meter, but you haven’t sent your meter readings, suppliers use estimates to work out your bill. But if the estimate is higher than the amount of electricity you’ve actually used, you could be paying too much. 

Similarly, if you use an estimate when looking for a quote to switch suppliers, guessing too high could result in a quote that’s higher than you’d be paying in reality.

At OVO, paying too much will lead to a positive balance in your account. That’s not necessarily a bad thing! As it can help to pay for your future energy costs when you use more over the winter.

Otherwise, you might also be eligible to apply for a refund.

What happens if you underestimate your energy use

On the flip side, if your supplier’s estimate is lower than the amount of energy you’ve actually used, then you might not be paying enough.

Initially, this means your Direct Debits will be smaller – which seems like a good thing. But later on down the line, you could be hit with a larger than expected bill.

Likewise, if you underestimate your energy use when you’re getting a quote, then it will look a lot cheaper. That might seem appealing – but you’ll be in for a surprise when your real bills start coming in. 

Find out more about how billing works.

Get a quote in under 2 minutes, to find out how much you could save.

Where can you find details of your energy use?

If you’re an OVO member, it’s easy to see how much energy you’ve used in your online account. Simply tap Usage in the sidebar. There you’ll find your energy use, shown in both kWh (that’s kiloWatt hours), and £ (on graphs).

You can check your daily energy usage by choosing the ‘Monthly’ view and hovering over the graph to see each day’s energy use in £ or kWh (choose either option using the button under the graph). By selecting any day’s usage on the graph you’ll get a more detailed breakdown of each day’s use from the timed readings your smart meter sends us.

Another way to see each day’s energy use listed in £ or kWh is to scroll down below the graph.

A kWh is a unit of measurement. It represents the amount of energy used to keep a 1,000 Watt appliance running for 1 hour.

Find out more about kWs and kWhs in our guide.

How we work out your energy use

We use the meter readings you (or your smart meter) send us, to figure out how much energy you’ve used. Whenever we get a reading from you, we update your energy use graphs.

If you have a traditional meter and you don’t send us a reading, we’ll use your previous readings to estimate what you’ve used that month. Likewise, if your smart meter fails to send us a reading for any reason, we’ll look at your old readings to work out an estimate. You’ll see these estimates on your bill.

So, the more often you (or your smart meter) send us readings, the more accurate your graphs are.

How we work out your energy costs

Each OVO Energy plan has its own unit rate. That’s the amount that you pay per kWh of electricity you use. 

We use your plan unit rates to show on the graph how much your energy use is costing in £.

This might be slightly different to the amount you’re charged on your bill. This can happen if you haven’t sent us regular meter readings. 

For example, if you haven’t sent us a recent reading, we’ll bill you for what we estimate you’ve used. But when we do get your next reading, we’ll rejig your energy use and costs graphs, so they’re accurate. We’ll then update what you owe us, or apply a positive balance to your account. This will be shown on your next bill. 

What’s the best way to make sure your graphs are 100% accurate? Send us a meter reading each month, ideally on the date we usually bill you.

Or, even better: get a smart meter. Nifty smart meters send us readings automatically, so you’ll never have to worry about it again, and your bills will always be correct.

Find out how to get a smart meter installed for free

What’s the average energy use?

The average household in the UK uses around 2,700 kWh of electricity per year.1 

Depending on where you live (and how you live!), this figure could be higher or lower. Flats and mid terrace houses tend to use less power, while detached houses use the most. Find out more, by reading our complete guide to average UK electricity use.

Meanwhile, the average household uses around 11,500 kWh of gas per year.1

Read our guide to finding out how much energy you’re using to heat your home

How to reduce your energy use

Bills looking higher than you’d like? Here are some top tips to help you cut down on the energy you use for heating. 

Looking for more tips? Check out our handy guides to saving energy around the house

How to switch energy suppliers

When you’re thinking of switching suppliers, it’s important to shop around. That’s how you make sure you’re getting the best deal for you. 

Once you know exactly how much energy you typically use, the process is simpler than you might think: 

  1. Go to different suppliers’ quote pages and enter your information

  2. They’ll come back straight away with a quote

  3. If you like what you see, all you need to do is give them a bit more info (like your bank details)

  4. Your new supplier will take care of the rest, and you’ll be switched over within 21 days

For more detail, read our full article on how to switch gas and electricity suppliers.

Getting a quote from OVO takes less time than boiling the kettle.

Sources and references

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