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Gas and electricity in the UK

Gas and electricity FAQs - a guide to common questions

Here at uSwitch we are often asked lots of questions about energy suppliers, bills and switching.

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From 'what is a standard charge?' to 'What is an MPAN number?', here is our list of the most common questions we are asked - and the explanations you'll need to answer them.

Where does UK gas and electricity come from?

As of 2015, about 45% of the UK's gas came from the UK, while the remaining gas came from European lines fed by Norway and Russia, as well as LNG tankers.

The UK's electricity is generated from fossil fuels, nuclear, renewable and imported energy.

Who is my gas and electricity supplier?

Check your latest energy bill for the name of your gas or electricity supplier. If you've just moved or don't have a bill, visit our guide to find out who is my energy supplier?"

What is dual fuel?

With a dual fuel plan you get your gas and electricity from the same energy supplier . This usually works out cheaper than a single fuel plan where you buy your gas and electricity from different suppliers.

This is because energy suppliers often offer discounts and reduced rates for dual fuel plans. Plus, with a dual fuel plan, you only have to deal with one energy company if you have any queries or problems with your gas and electricity. Compare dual fuel plans with uSwitch.

What is Economy 7?

Economy 7 refers to both the meter that tracks your electricity usage separately for day and night, and the tariff, which charges different rates for the day and night usage.

Read more about economy 7 here.

What is green energy?

Green energy is electricity or gas derived from renewable sources such as hydro energy, wind energy, solar energy and biomass.

How are my gas and electricity bills calculated?

Your energy bills are calculated on the basis of how many units of energy you consume. You may also pay a standing charge .

When your meter is read, the energy company will subtract the amount shown on the previous meter reading from the most recent one to work out your bill.

If your meter isn't read, you will get an estimated bill based on your past use or a standard rate. Units of electricity are measured in kilowatt hours . This is shown on your electricity meter .

Gas meters measure the volume of gas you used in cubic feet or cubic meters and the gas companies convert this into kilowatt hours. The price charged for each unit of energy varies according to what pricing plan or tariff you are on.

What information should my gas and electricity bills contain?

Your gas and electricity bills should give:

  • your last meter reading (either estimated or based on your submission)
  • the amount of electricity or gas you've used in the billing period as well as an annual consumption
  • VAT charges
  • price per kWh
  • your plan name
  • your meter numbers
Further reading: how to read and understand your energy bill .

How do I read my gas and electricity meters?

This will depend on the kind of meter you have. Check out our guide to reading your meter, and why it's important to submit regular meter readings, here.

Who should I contact if I have a complaint about my energy supplier?

First, you need to contact your energy supplier and go through their complaints procedure. If you need to escalate your complaint, you can get in touch with Citizen's Advice and failing all else, contact the Energy Ombudsman. For step-by-step advice on how to escalate your complaint, read our How to make a complaint about energy guide.

Read more…

Why pay more for the same energy?

Find and switch to a better energy deal in minutes