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How much energy do I use?

How much energy do I use? Understanding your consumption

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.

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Use your bill to find your energy consumption - Option one:

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.

Some of us on dual-fuel tariffs may get one bill for all our energy, while others will get two bills, one for cost of gas and one showing the cost of electricity.

Then there's the frequency: some of us will get monthly bills, others 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 Energy bills - understanding utility bills 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
  • Unfortunately, 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 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 uSwitch's Switching Made Simple app, Compare and switch - anywhere, anytime then use the built in QR code reader to scan your bill to upload the details of your consumption in seconds.

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Reading your energy meter - Option two:

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. Electricity meter explained. 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 you're using in a week, just read your meter, make a note and check again in a week.

Read the guide and view our video tutorial. How to take an energy meter reading.

Using smart meters to track energy usage - Option three:

Smart meters are the next generation of your gas and electricity meters, and are currently being rolled out across the UK, with the aim that all households will be offered one by 2020.

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.

However, a smart meter only helps you monitor usage - it does not do anything directly to save you money. Comparing energy prices and switching supplier with uSwitch is still the most efficient way of saving money on your gas and electricity bills.

To discover more about smart meters read the guide. Smart meters explained.

How much domestic energy do I use?

Or if you need to find out when you might be getting your smart meter, read our guide. When will my smart meter be installed?

Estimate your level of energy usage - Option four:

You can also refer to a few lifestyle points such as how much time spent at home or how large your property is to roughly determine if you're a high, medium or low energy user.

Find out more about gas and electricity user groups in the guide. What is average usage and what type of energy user are you?

If you wanted to compare energy deals to see if you could save by switching, uSwitch can help give you an estimate of your energy usage based on your answers to a few questions.

Your energy bill will obviously give the most accurate information and provide you with the best comparison results but there are some general pointers that can help you figure out roughly what bracket your household falls into.

See below for a brief rundown of the three common energy user groups:

  • Low user groups
    • Average electricity usage: 1,900 kWhs
    • Average gas usage: 8,000 kWhs
  • These are people who use, on average, the least amount of energy. These are usually 1-2 people living in a 1-2 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: 3,100 kWhs
    • Average gas usage: 12,000 kWhs
  • Medium energy users are typically families of 3-4 people living in a 3 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.

  • Medium user groups
    • Average electricity usage: 4,600 kWhs
    • Average gas usage: 17,000 kWhs
  • Households using the most energy on average tend to be large families with 5 or more living together in a 4 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.

Read more…

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