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Q&A: How do I read my British Gas bill?

If you're confused by your energy bill, you're not alone — suppliers are often regarded as having the most complicated bills out there

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Fortunately, uSwitch have taken a sample British Gas bill, and made it easy to quickly find everything from your gas and electricity unit rate to your standing charge to your annual consumption — you can even find out if your plan has an early exit fee.

This may not look exactly like your BG bill but, as long as your bill is recent, the general format should follow yours.

The main info on your British Gas bill

Charges, balance and credit / debit

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A: Your balance will inform you if you're in debit or credit to British Gas. Knowing this can be a good indicator of whether or not your direct debit is at the right level to cover your energy usage.

If you're amounting credit during winter months, it's likely you should be paying a lower direct debit amount. If you're in debit to your supplier in summer months, you'll accrue an even larger debt as you head into winter when your usage increases. Your supplier may automatically increase your direct debit amount in this instance.

Supplying regular meter readings keeps your balance as accurate as possible.

Plan details and annual usage

This example is for electricity — gas would follow the same format on a different page Bg b-f

B: This is an example QR code you would find on your bill. Your bill's unique code contains information about your tariff and usage. Apps such as uSwitch's "Switching Made Simple" app can scan this code, compare your current bill, and inform you if there are cheaper deals to switch to.

C: Your tariff name could quickly flag whether or not you're on your supplier's often expensive default tariff (standard variable tariff). British Gas' standard variable tariff is called "Standard". You'll also need your current tariff's name for a comparison.

D: This is the date your current plan ends. After this point you'll be rolled onto a tariff chosen by your supplier, which could cost you more. You should switch again onto a fixed plan at this point to avoid overpaying.

E: If your plan has an exit fee, you may need to pay the stated amount if you switch to another plan before your current plan ends.

F: This your annual usage in Kilowatt hours. This is usually estimated based on previous meter readings. uSwitch can use this figure to calculate how much you would pay for the next 12 months on different plans.

Meter details

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G: Your electricity supply number (MPAN) and gas supply number (MPRN) are displayed next to eachother on dual-fuel bills, or separately if you receive a bill for each fuel. Your MPAN is the one starting with an S, and the MPRN is simply a string of 10 numbers.

Help me understand my British Gas bill

Here are some common terms you’ll see on your energy bill, and what they mean:

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Fixed Rate — A fixed rate is just that: it means your rate cannot be changed by your supplier before your plan’s end date. You can get a fixed rate plan for one, two or three years. Find out more about fixed rate plans, including how they work and the current cheapest fixed rate plans.

Variable Rate — The opposite of fixed rate plans, variable rates are often what supplier’s use for their standard plans. This means that if the supplier announces a price rise, your energy costs will go up.

kWh — A kilowatt-hour or kWh is a name given to a unit of energy, and it is the standard unit across suppliers for both gas and electricity. One kWh will provide enough energy to power a 100-watt lightbulb for 10 hours.

Related info:

Energy bills explained - a guide to your energy bill

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