Here’s a checklist to help you understand some reasons why your gas or electricity bill may be higher than you expected.
Around the house
The more heating and cooling you use to keep your house comfortable, the more energy you consume. You’ll often see a change in your bill at the start of winter when you switch on the heating and when summer arrives and you need your air conditioner.
Old or faulty appliances and systems take more energy to run than newer, well-maintained ones. If your bills are high, it’s worthwhile getting your appliances and systems serviced and fix any faults so they’re not using more energy than they should.
If you’ve had additional people in your home, like long stay visitors, a new baby or housemate, or it’s been school holidays and people have been at the house more, your daily energy use will have increased.
If you recently purchased additional appliances or a larger model of an existing one, it could be using more energy. Find out how much energy your appliances use at energyrating.gov.au.
If you’ve recently renovated or added an extension to your home, your energy usage may have risen during the construction stage. Once the renovation is complete, you may have higher daily usage as a result of having larger spaces to heat or cool, and more lights to power.
Keep track of your energy use over time by looking at your ‘Daily Average Use’ every quarter. You’ll find it in the ‘Electricity usage and greenhouse gas emissions’ section of your bill.
Your energy use and meters
Make sure your meter number is correct - if it isn’t right, you may have been incorrectly charged. To do this, check the meter number on your bill (under the ‘your electricity usage and service’ calculation) matches the number your meter.
An estimated reading is done when the meter reader cannot access your meter or there’s been a technical issue. To check if this is the case, look for ‘estimated reading’ on the back of your bill under the pricing calculations.
If you’ve had an estimated bill followed by an actual read, there can be a variation to account for the difference between the readings. If you used less energy you’ll be credited on your new bill. Likewise, if you used more, you’ll be charged the difference.
Check your energy reading is correct by comparing the amount under ‘current reading’ on the front of your bill to the number on your meter. If you have a smart meter, contact your network distribution provider for instructions on how to read it.
Check how many days were in the billing period as this can impact your charges. If you’ve moved house or have changed from receiving monthly bills to a quarterly billing period, the number of days you were billed for may have changed.
Make sure any rebates, discounts or concessions you’re entitled to have been applied. You can check if they’ve been deducted from your total usage in the ‘Your electricity usage and service calculation’ section of your bill.
Once you’ve worked out the reason for your high bills, you can start to look at ways to reduce the amount of energy used in your home. Check out these energy saving tips to get you started.
You can also lower your energy bills by making sure you’re getting the best deal on your electricity and gas plan.