Understand your bill

Your electricity and gas bills contain information about energy use. Pricing structures can be confusing and it is often difficult for customers to understand their bills.

Man relaxing at kitchen table having a cup of tea.

Electricity and gas bills

Each bill differs according to your provider but they should all have similar details.

Your bill is a combination of two charges: usage and service.


  • Electricity usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Your bill will include total usage and how much the electricity costs per kWh.

  • Gas is measured in megajoules per hour (MJ). Your bill will include total usage and how much it costs.

Your power provider gets these numbers by reading the meter on your property.  If you have a smart electricity meter your provider will get the information remotely.

By law, electricity retailers are required to provide a graph or table of your usage compared to similar sized households in your area.  


The service charge is a fixed delivery cost, which is the amount your energy provider pays to run their business. They will calculate how many days they provided power or gas, and the cost per day.

What else to look for

Estimated reading

If your power provider was unable to access your meter, your bill may be based on an estimate of use. This should be clearly marked on the bill. For more information, read about what to do if your electricity company doesn't read the meter.

Controlled load rate

A controlled load is a tariff applied to large, high-power-usage appliances. It is metered separately to the rest of the energy use in your home.

It’s most often used for hot water systems, but you may be able to connect other high-use appliances like underfloor heating or pool pumps, depending on your power network and metering.

The cost of power for this dedicated circuit will be cheaper than your other rates.  However, electricity is supplied to the circuit for only a limited number of hours each day.

Next meter read

Your bill will also tell you when your next meter reading will take place.

Page last updated on 17 July 2019