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How much energy do I use? Understanding energy consumption

How much energy do I use? Understanding energy consumption

Knowing how much energy you use can come in handy whether you’re switching energy or you just want to know whether you’re paying a fair price for your gas and electricity.

Thankfully, finding out how much energy you use on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis, in either monetary or kWh terms, can easily be determined in a few simple ways.

Compare energy prices here

It's a good idea to compare energy regularly to see what the latest prices mean for you, even though there are fewer deals available. Enter your postcode to get started.

How to find your energy consumption using your energy bill

Working out your household energy consumption starts with a good understanding of your energy bill.

Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done since energy bills come in all different shapes and sizes.

If you’re on a dual-fuel tariff you may get one bill for all your energy, while others will get two bills, one for the cost of gas and one showing the cost of electricity.

Then there's the frequency: you might get your energy bills monthly or quarterly. Finally, depending on what supplier you’re with and which plan you're on, your bill could have a different layout.

Luckily, there are a few common factors that will help answer the question: how much energy do I use? Use our handy guide to reading your energy bill for help locating the following:

  • Bill period
  • Somewhere in the main summary box, usually located on the front of your bill, you will find the billing period. These can vary significantly, so make sure you make a note of it, otherwise your spend may not make much sense.

  • Energy used
  • This is the crucial figure, and will usually be stated in pounds spent. Your bill will also usually specify whether this is based on a meter reading or is estimated.

  • Total
  • Remember that your energy use is subject to VAT. Also, there may be extra charges for other reasons, so besides the energy spent there will be a total amount owed.

  • Usage
  • Often tucked away on the second page of your bill is arguably the most important bit of info. Your energy usage breakdown will usually include kilowatt hours used (kWh), the cost per kilowatt hour and your latest meter reading.

Energy consumption, how much energy do I use?

To work out how much energy you use the crucial figure is usage. Depending on which supplier you're with or what plan you are on, the same usage figure could lead to a wildly different total cost of electricity.

Alternatively, you can download the free Uswitch app, then use the built in QR code reader to scan your bill to upload the details of your consumption in seconds.

Compare energy prices here

It's a good idea to compare energy regularly to see what the latest prices mean for you, even though there are fewer deals available. Enter your postcode to get started.

How to find your energy usage by reading your energy meter

If you can't find your latest bill, or just don't want to spend the time deciphering it, then you can always go straight to the source. Read the Uswitch guide to reading your electricity meter. This is the best place to work out how much electricity you've consumed because it can give you a running total.

To work out how much energy you're using in a week, just read your meter, make a note and check again in a week.

How to track energy usage using a smart meter

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters, and are currently being rolled out across the UK, with the aim that all households will be offered one by June 2025.

A smart meter not only automatically sends meter readings to your supplier for more accurate bills, it comes with an in home display that allows you to track your usage in near-real-time, and showing what that adds up to in pounds and pence.

Read our guide to smart meters to find out more.

How much domestic energy do I use?

How to estimate your energy usage

If you’re estimating your energy usage as part of a gas and electricity comparison, you can use Uswitch to help. Simply answer a few questions such as what type of tariff you’re on and how large your property is and we’ll estimate your energy usage.

You can also estimate your gas and electricity usage by considering a few lifestyle questions to determine whether you’re a high, medium or low energy user. Read on to find out more.

Energy user groups: Low, medium and high

See below for a brief rundown of the three common energy user groups as defined by Ofgem:

  • Low user groups
    • Average electricity usage: 1,800 kWhs
    • Average gas usage: 8,000 kWhs
  • These are people who use, on average, the least amount of energy. These are usually one or two people living in a one to two-bedroom flat. They are at home in the evenings and weekends and have a weekly laundry cycle. These households use the heating occasionally and don't use a dishwasher or tumble dryer.

  • Medium user groups
    • Average electricity usage: 2,900 kWhs
    • Average gas usage: 12,000 kWhs
  • Medium energy users are typically families of three or four people living in a three-bedroom house. Some members are home in the day as well as in the evening and weekends. As a result, the heating is used regularly, and electrical appliances are turned on frequently. Laundry is done on average three times a week.

  • High user groups
    • Average electricity usage: 4,300 kWhs
    • Average gas usage: 17,000 kWhs
  • Households using the most energy on average tend to be large families with five or more living together in a four-bedroom house or larger. In these households there is always someone at home in the day and there is always someone at home in the evenings and on weekends. There might be multiple TVs in use and a tumble dryer and dishwasher used regularly. Laundry is done daily

By using the user groups as a guide you might be able to work out what your household's average gas and electricity usage is.

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