Get to grips with non-domestic gas bills

April 26th, 2013 by

Gas bills (invoices) are a good place to start when considering how much gas you have been using and what this is costing your business. Here is a quick guide to help you get to grips with your bill.

A guide to understanding non-domestic gas bills

Image courtesy British Gas

What consumption period has been used to calculate your gas bill?

If your consumption is over 58,600MWh per year then normally your bills will be based on daily meter readings. The bill will detail your consumption and the price you pay according to the time of usage.

For other sites bills are normally calculated on a monthly or quarterly basis. The bill you receive may be based on your actual consumption or an estimate of your consumption. Whether your bill is monthly or quarterly will depend on your consumption levels and the details of the tariff.

By 2014 customers using in excess of 732MWh per year are due to have smart meters installed. In a similar way to smart electricity meters these will provide interval consumption data so you can see the patterns of your gas usage.

How is gas use measured?

Your consumption will be measured in cubic feet or cubic meters. You will need to know which in order to convert consumption into kilowatt hours (kWh).

To convert consumption into energy usage you will need to apply two correction factors. One for calorific value and the other for pressure. Calorific value changes constantly so it is worth being aware of this if obtaining refunds for overestimated consumption.

Meter point registration number (MPRN)

Gas supplies have a unique identification number. This is the meter point registration number. This should be used as the reference number for the gas supply rather than the meter or account number which can change over time.

Estimated bills

When your bill is based on estimated rather than actual consumption a bold “E” will appear next to the meter reading. The estimate will be based on average figures which are typical for the profile class or on past use. This means that there can be a large discrepancy between what you have been used and what you are being asked to pay for.

To be sure that the bill is based on actual rather than estimated consumption you will need to take a meter reading and send this to your energy supplier. Our advice is that whenever you receive a bill you check the reading and consumption for which you are being billed against actual meter readings and provide a reading where the supplier has estimated your consumption.

Things to check – how much you are paying?

How much you are being charged for each unit of consumption (kWh)?

Are there any additional charges that you are being asked to pay? Like electricity consumption, gas usage in some businesses is subject to the Climate Change Levy (CCL). If you are being charged CCL this will appear on your bill.

Larger consumers may also be paying meter data collection charges and depending on the tariff you may also see  a standing charge shown on your bill.

Where additional charges are not shown it is possible that the supplier is recovering these costs through a slightly higher unit price for the gas and electricity. By requesting a fully itemised bill you can see exactly what you are being charged.

Understanding the letters shown on your bill

E – your supplier has estimated the meter reading.

A – the supplier has used the meter reading of your actual consumption to calculate your bill. This has been obtained by a meter reader.

C – the bill is based on a meter reading supplied by you the customer.

R – the reading is the final one taken from a meter which has been removed.

N – the reading shown is the first one from a new meter.

F – this is the final meter reading taken when leaving a property, discontinuing a supply or switching to a different supplier.

Links and resources

Written by

Environmental consultant, facilitator, founder & Director of Climate Works Ltd.