Friday, 23 March 2012

Understanding your energy bills

Most people dread that moment when the postman arrives at the front door every day will what seems like an endless supply of bills, especially as the wording of them can sometimes be confusing.
Having a good understanding of what is documented in certain bills, for example when it comes for paying for gas and electricity consumption, is important as you want to know exactly where your money is going, particularly as you may be spending too much.
To make sure you’re not baffled the next time an energy bill lands on your door mat, here are what the main terms actually mean:

  • Calorific value (CV). The calorific value refers to the amount of energy created by burning the gas. On your bill it will be depicted as a figure in megajoules per cubic metre (MJ/m3) and the amount should be between 37.5-43.0 MJ/m3.  

  • kWh. The kWh is better known as kilowatt hours and this illustrates how much electricity and gas you have used as an energy consumer in a particular time frame. Use 1,000 watts for one hour and this is referred to as a kWh.

  • mpan. Mpan stands for your electricity Meter Point Administration Number and it’s a 21-digit reference unique to your property. This should be easily recognisable on your electricity bill as it appears in a box with the number broken up in several boxes.

  • mprn. The Meter Point Reference Number (mprn) is between six and 10 digits long and refers to the unique gas meter number. This reference number stays the same no matter which company provides your gas supply.

  • Primary/secondary units. The cost of the energy you consume is determined by the amount of primary and secondary kWh units you use. Depending on what tariff you’re on and which energy provider you’re with, you’re allocated a certain amount of units at a primary rate and then you charged a different rate for the secondary units used after that.
Of course, if you’re in doubt about anything that appears on any of your bills then be sure to contact that specific company without delay!

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