We get our power bills regularly, but with all the details, not everyone has the time to read everything but the total amount. When was the last time you actually took a good look at your electric bill?
Now that the majority is spending more time at home, bills are expected to increase.
To curb this, it's time to learn how to read your power bill so you save money for the long term, and learn how to reduce your energy consumption.
The first step to understanding your power bill is to know your power plan. Are you being charged for monthly usage or are you on a "controlled" or budget plan? If you're charged every month, you'll receive a power bill every cycle for the total number of kWh your household used that month.
Understanding what a kWh is will help you read your bills better. A kilowatt-hour is the unit of measurement used to measure the amount of electricity you use. It's two measurements in one — speed and time, wherein wattage measures how fast you use the electricity, and time measures how long you consume said electricity at that speed. 1 kWh is equivalent to 1,000 watts. To help you understand it better, here are some examples of what kWh looks like in real terms:
1 kWh is equivalent to:
Electricity bills may differ depending on your country and power provider. Some power providers offer bundle plans which may include electricity, water, and gas. If you're in a bundle plan, the easiest way to see your bill for each utility is by checking the units. Electricity is measured in kWh, the water bill is measured in gallons, and gas usage is measured in BTUs.
Your account summary shows you the total balance you have to pay as well as the due date.
This indicates whether your bill is based on an Actual or Estimate read.
This section shows you the benefits (Standard/Low User plan, Price Protection, Transparent Billing, SmoothPay, etc.) of choosing your power provider's plan.
The graph shows your kWh history and your electricity usage over a certain period. You will also see which months were based on Actual readings and which months’ were Estimates.
Your meter information is important, so you know how to compute and compare your electricity consumption. In this section, you'll see the date the meter was read, and your current and previous meter readings. This lets you see the difference between your previous and current meter readings, which is the number of kWh of power you consumed in the billing period.
You will see an ICP number which is assigned by your Lines Network to help identify each metering point on your property system. Under metering details, you will also see a graph that shows a breakdown of the charges that make up your bill.
On your electric bill, you will see an outline of your electricity usage (exclusive of GST) and it is divided into three sections (Energy, Delivery, Special Fees & Promotions) so you can easily know what exactly you're paying for.
|Energy||What your power provider charges you for your electricity|
This includes charges related to the delivery of your electricity, Network Charges, Metering, Billing and Administration, and the Electricity Authority Levy
|Special Fees & Promotion||This includes any promotional credits or fees on your account|
Other information you’ll see on your bill:
Your power bill is composed of different parts which make up the total cost you'll have to pay. Apart from the energy costs, Kiwis must pay an Electricity Authority Levy which helps fund the Electricity Authority to regulate NZ's electric industry.
The wholesale cost is the cost you pay for purchasing electricity.
The transmission and distribution make up 37.5% of your bill and is responsible for the building and maintenance of the power lines that transport electricity from where it is generated to the houses. This cost is paid by your power provider and the regional lines companies.
This cost is what power retailers charge their customers for providing electricity and services to them.
GST or Goods and Services Tax (15%) makes up 13% of the total power bill price.
Sometimes, you'll see a separate section on your bill, indicating other charges, which may include a bond, debt management fees, disconnection fees, reconnection fees, or meter test fees.
The first element of your bill is a daily fixed charge which is the amount that covers the costs of generating and transporting electricity from its source to your households.
This is the rate you pay for power multiplied by the number of kWh you use. There are many ways you can influence your variable costs such as spot price contracts which allows you to buy power at the time you use it. With spot price, you have the leverage wherein you can lessen your use of electricity during peak times, and use most of your appliances such as dishwashers and dryers during off-peak times.
That way, you get to pay less than the retail market rate for your electricity.
Another way to save is by choosing a low-user tariff if you're living in a small household or you can also opt for a "controlled plan". A "controlled plan" means some of your appliances are connected to a meter that will only supply power at certain times each day.
Break down your bill to a metric where you can easily compare your energy consumption to its costs. The easiest way to do so is to measure your consumption rate similar to how your provider measures it. Generally, it's done on a monthly usage basis. You can divide your total electricity bill by the total number of kWh you used in the month. This simple calculation will let you know how much your electricity is.
Understanding your power bill helps you know whether your current power plan is too expensive for you, or if it doesn't match your needs. Make it a habit to use glimp's FREE comparison tool to find the best plan for you!
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