Fitting a smart meter is the simplest way to make sure your monthly electricity bills are accurate. Smart meters automatically send readings to your energy provider, meaning you no longer have to supply the figures manually and your supplier never has to estimate your usage.
Even so, it’s still worth checking you’re being billed correctly from time to time - it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong with your smart meter, or that your supplier will bill you incorrectly, but it does no harm to check and make sure only being billed for the electricity you're using.
That's where our electricity cost calculator comes in handy.
The first thing to do is grab your last electricity bill and take a look at the previous meter reading and the most recent meter reading. If you need help finding these readings on your bill, check out Gas and Electricity Bills Explained.
Once you have your two meter readings to hand, enter them into our calculator along with the date of the opening meter reading and the date of the most recent meter reading. These dates should be shown on your bill under the heading ‘Billing period’.
Then you need to select the type of meter you have. Most people have a standard single rate meter, but if your meter has two rates on it - on for nighttime and one for daytime - you should choose Economy 7 (Day/Night Rates). If you’re still unsure, take a look at our guide to gas and electricity meters.
If you do have an Economy 7 meter, you’ll then have to enter the rate you pay for electricity at night in the box marked ‘Night meter’.
Then hit ‘Calculate’ and you’ll be shown the following information:
If you don’t provide your energy supplier with regular meter readings, they’ll need to estimate how much electricity you’re using. This means there’s a chance you could be overcharged - you could be out of pocket each month and have to chase up a refund - or undercharged - you could be hit with a huge bill one month to make up for several underpayments.
Neither scenario is ideal, but both can be easily avoided by keeping on top of your usage figures and supplying your provider with regular readings. Or, to save time, get a smart meter installed.
When estimating your electricity usage, suppliers base their calculations on the size of your house and following industry averages, known as Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV):
Your supplier might also base its estimates on the average usage figures of a small, medium or large property. Find out more at our energy cost calculator page.
If you’re on an Economy 7 meter, your usage will be estimated using the following TDCVs:
Once you know your electricity usage figures, you should compare them with the average electricity usage figures above, to work out if you’re using too much energy. If so, it’s worth looking at taking some steps to cut your usage - for some simple ways to reduce your electricity usage, check out our energy saving advice page.
If you’re not using more energy than you should be but your bills still seem high, it’s time to compare energy prices and switch supplier.
You can switch energy suppliers in three simple steps with UKPower:
The more information you can give us, the more accurately we can quote you, it helps if you can check your latest gas and electricity bills to find out exactly how much gas and electricity you use. If you don’t have this information to hand, we can still find energy comparison rates based up on the size and type of house you live in.
Our online energy comparison tool is available 24 hours a day, but if you’d sooner speak to one of our energy experts and compare rates over the phone, give us a call on 0800 320 2000. Lines are open at the following times:
Once you’ve chosen the deal you like best, we’ll let your old supplier know you’re leaving and inform your new supplier that you’ll be joining them. All you then need to do is give your old supplier a final meter reading, so they can give you an accurate final bill, and let your new supplier know your opening meter reading with them.
The whole energy switch should be completed within 21 days, which includes a 14-day cooling off period during which time you can cancel the switch without having to pay any exit fee. And the gas and electricity will be supplied through the existing pipes and cables, meaning there’s no need for any digging or drilling at your property.