How to Read Your Electricity & Gas Bill – Explained – 2023

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Reading Your Energy Bill

Energy bills aren’t just there to tell you how much you owe your electricity company, they can give a lot of insights into your energy usage. Once you’re equipped with this knowledge, you’re better prepared and able to make informed decisions about your energy plan and habits. Read below to learn more about the information you can find on your energy bill, and how to use this information to help you save money by switching to the best energy provider for you.

What Information Is on My Energy Bill?

We've all been there. The daunting feeling of reading all those numbers, rates and complicated terms of your electricity bill and not understanding a single thing. Thankfully, in the last few years, it has become a lot easier to read and understand your energy bill.

Let's go step by step so you understand how to read your electricity bill.

There are 3 main parts to your electric bill:

  1. Account information: (name, address, meter number, account number, tax ID, etc.)
  2. Usage Summary: (your plan, energy rates, meter readings, amount of energy used, the total amount owed, usage history, etc)
  3. Payment Information (how much you owe, past payments, discounts and deductions, payment methods, company contact for support, etc)

Simplified Summary of Your Energy Bill Usually, all the relevant information will be displayed in a simplified summary on the first page of your Energy bill, but it's very important that you understand how to read your electricity bill and all the sections included so you know exactly what are you being charged for and whether that aligns with your usage habits

Below we break down what information you will find in more detail to help you with understanding your electricity bill a bit better.

Account Information: How to Read Your Electricity Bill

This section will show you an overview of your account information and can be found in the simplified summary on the first page, as well as on the second page of your bill.

  • Overview of Your Account Information:
  • Your Name, Address & Meter Number: your meter number is usually displayed in page 2 of your energy bill, along with its usage type (peak & off peak) and readings. Check that the number displayed matches the one of your meter.
  • Your energy account number: this is the number assigned to you by your energy provider. You will need it to discuss most issues with them.
  • Your tax invoice number: your tax invoice number is usually displayed next to your account number.
  • The Dates for the Billing Period: these are the dates that correspond to the time period you are being charge for.
  • Your Supplier's Contact Number: the contact number of your energy retailer, not to be confused with the distributor number. You will often see it listed under "Enquiries & moving address". Call this number for any issues with your billing, account or energy plan.
  • Your Distributor's Contact Number: the number of the energy distributor in your area, you will often see it listed under "Faults & Emergencies". The distributor is responsible of building and maintaining the energy infrastructure and are closely related to the reference price. When comparing energy plans or installing special energy infrastructure, you will often need to check who your distributor is.

Your account information is always shown on your bill in case you need to contact the company with questions or concerns.

You can quickly refer to the account information of your bill to help your provider to identify your account when you call. They will need: your name, address and account number.

Usage Summary: How to Read Your Electricity Bill

The next section of your bill contains information about your usage and how much you will be charged.

Your usage summary includes:

  • Overview of Your Usage Summary:
  • The name of your plan: this is the plan you signed up for with your provider. The details of the plan will not be displayed on the bill, you will have to check your retailer's documentation (usually given to you when you signed up for it) or call your retailer to learn more about it.
  • Your meter readings: you will identify your meter readings because they are normally displayed next to your meter number. Depending on what kind of meter do you have, or if you have a smart meter, your readings might look different, but you will be able to see if the reading was an estimate or an actual reading of your energy usage. With your meter readings, you can also see what kind of usage type you have (peak or off-peak) and the total kWh used. This is one of the most important elements to keep an eye on, since your meter readings will be used to determine your overall energy usage.
  • Energy usage breakdown: this will show you how much energy you used during the given period for the bill. You will see your average daily electricity usage (in kWh) along with the average cost per day and a comparison with the previous year's energy usage for the same time period. Some bills will also display a graph comparing your monthly usage.
  • Usage Charge: the usage charge is how much money you owe for each unit of energy consumed (usage units are represented as kWh for electricity & Mj for gas). You will normally find your usage charge next to your meter readings with your total electricity charges.
  • Supply Charge: the supply charge is the price you pay per day for having energy supplied to the property.
  • The total amount owed: the total amount of money you have to pay will be displayed in various sections of the bill and is usually included in the simplified summary of the first page. You will also find it next to your meter readings with your total electricity charges.
  • Rebates & discounts: any deductions or discounts you have with your energy supplier will be subtracted from your usage to calculate the total amount owed. Some people may not have any deductions in this section.

How to Read Your Electricity Bill's Payment Information

Lastly, your bill will include important payment information.

You will notice that the amount you owe is mentioned several times in different sections of your bill, however, it can also be found in the payment information section.

Your payment information includes:

  • How much you owe
  • The payment due date
  • Past payments you've made
  • Available payment methods
  • Company contact information
  • A payment slip

Once you have located your amount due to be paid and the payment due date, you should take a look at the payment methods section.

Most suppliers have multiple way to pay your bill. These tend to include:

  • Direct debit
  • In-person at the post office
  • Mail-in payments
  • Online payments
  • Over the phone
  • Using Bpay

Not all providers will offer the same payment methods. Check your bill to see the payment options your provider offers-

You'll also find a payment slip attached to your bill if you decide you would like to pay your bill by mail. Simply include your bill's the payment slip in the envelope when you send in your payment

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Electricity Bill Example

Now that you have learned how to read your bill, it's time we look at an example.

Here is an example of an electricity bill using an Origin Energy sample bill. Although this electricity bill example is for Origin Energy, most providers have the same basic layout in order to help you read the electricity bill more easily.

Electricity bill page 1 Electricity bill page 2 Electricity bill page 3
Example of how to read your electricity bill

Are Gas and Electricity Bills Different?

Gas and electricity bills are not very different and include many of the same details.

  • Account information
  • Usage information
  • Payment information

However, it's important to note that even if you have gas and electricity at your property with the same company, you will receive a separate bill for each.

The main difference you'll see when reading your gas bill is that your electricity is counted in kWh and your gas is counted in Mj. You will also likely have a different distributor listed on your bill for gas and electricity. However, for the most part, the bills will be pretty much the same.

How to Read a Gas Bill

Now that you've learned how to read an electricity bill and a gas bill here is an example gas bill from Origin Energy.

While this gas bill example is specific to one energy provider, most of the information found on this bill is the same as other energy providers in Australia.

Gas bill page 1 Gas bill page 2 Gas bill page 3
Example of how to read your gas bill

It’s important to remember that many smaller gas retailers are doing away with traditional methods of purchasing and paying for the energy you use, and every provider is different.

Pay-as-you-go, wholesale, or other methods of paying for and receiving energy are becoming increasingly popular. Check your bills for more information about your providers billing and payment methods.

How Much Should My Bill Cost?

There is no correct answer to how much your energy bill should cost as it depends on multiple factors specific to each persons individual situation.

However, the nationwide average for electricity bills in Australia is $1,645 / year. This number can be higher or lower depending on your state and your individual consumption.

If you have more questions about the average energy bill in your state or for a household of your size, you can take a look at our detailed report on the average annual electricity bill in Australia. Here you will see a state by state breakdown for average electricity bills in Australia between 2020-2021. (The 2022 report will be published in 2023.)

Need Energy Advice ?

Selectra's Energy Experts are Available to Help You Free of Charge

1300 560 964

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Call center currently closed (free service - open Monday to Friday from 10am -7pm)
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Speak To a Selectra Energy Expert About All Your Energy Needs !

Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

Energy bills are a big expense, and costs only seem to be increasing. Luckily your energy bill can help you learn more about your household’s energy usage, and ways you could lower your energy costs.

See our detailed guide on how to reduce your electric bills, where we cover all of the available methods to save on your bills.

 Tariff type: You can change your tariff to a time-of-use tariff to save you money by paying less when you use enrgy during off-peak hours. Likewise, adding a controlled load tariff to a large appliance like a pool heater or electric boiler, can save you on your annual energy costs as well.

 Energy usage: Look into energy saving measures if your bills seem abnormally high. These could range from unplugging appliances when not in use, to adding window treatments and other home renovations to increase energy efficiency.

 Switching plans or providers: If you’ve never compared energy providers before, you might be getting charged the highest rate at the default market offer. Switching providers is quite easy. Contact our Selectra representatives to see how you could save by switching tariffs.

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